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Afghanistan War Weekly, June 6, 2011

This week saw continuing violence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, including the killing of top Pakistani militant Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone strike. American officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (touring Afghanistan before his retirement), and Afghan officials warned against pulling out US and NATO forces too quickly, but opposition to the war in general was evident not only among civilians, but among many in government positions, including a number of US Republicans.

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Sharon Miller

Afghanistan Violence

Taliban plan to tunnel into UK bases discovered
A Taliban plot to infiltrate UK military bases through a network of tunnels has been discovered in Helmand.

2 students killed in Kandahar University blasts in S. Afghanistan
2 students were killed and 3 were injured in two bomb blasts at Kandahar University on June 4.

Taliban heartland hotspot for coalition casualties
Following Marines in Sangin, Helmand province, one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan.

Taliban Aim to Derail Afghan Security Transfer
According to Afghan officials, the surge in Taliban violence is intended to undermine the transition to Afghan-led security.

US military deaths in Afghanistan at 1,491
As of June 1, 2011, at least 1,491 members of the US military have been killed in Afghanistan, with 1,232 of the deaths the result of hostile action.

Afghans arrest 11 for deadly attack on Italian base
Afghan authorities have captured 11 people accused of carrying out an attack on an Italian reconstruction team in Herat that killed at least 4.

Afghanistan News

Afghan official cautions on pullout effort
Rangin Spanta, national security adviser to Hamid Karzai, has warned against speeding up US troop withdrawal because of continuing potential for al-Qaeda recruitment in Afghanistan even after the killing of bin Laden.

For Afghanistan, Wealth Is Just Below The Surface
Untapped deposits of iron, gold, lithium, and copper in Afghanistan have the potential to generate up to $1 trillion. War and corruption make mining and other business ventures extremely difficult, however.

Afghanistan is statistically the worst place to be a mother
Why Afghanistan is the worst place in the world to be a mother.

Gates in Afghanistan

Gates warns against quick pullback in Afghanistan
On his farewell tour of Afghanistan, retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned against pulling US troops out of the country too quickly, citing security and counterterrorism concerns.

Gates continues Afghan farewell tour
Retiring Defense Secretary Robert Gates is touring Afghanistan to visit US troops and recommend a plan for troop withdrawal to the Obama administration.

Pakistan Developments

Daily brief: Militant leader reported killed in drone strike
Pakistani militant commander Ilyas Kashmiri was reportedly killed in a drone strike in South Waziristan on June 3. The US had placed a bounty of $5 million on his head.

Pakistanis protest U.S. drone attacks
The Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest religious party, organized a sit-in protest in Karachi to protest US drone strikes and military involvement in Pakistan.

Pakistan, Militants In Deadly Border Fight
Militant groups pose a threat to stability in Pakistan, especially in tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan.

Militants from Afghanistan clash with Pakistani forces
63 people died in clashes between Afghan militants and Pakistani forces near the border with Afghanistan. Between 300 and 400 militants attacked villages and schools. The fighting challenges the US narrative of Pakistani fighters crossing into Afghanistan.

Antiwar Sentiments

Americans, Australians have war fatigue: survey
Both Americans and Australians are becoming skeptical of the “war on terror” according to an Australian survey.

An Antiwar Republican, No Longer His Party’s Pariah
A profile of anti-war Republican Congressman Walter Jones. Increasing numbers of Republicans are having doubts about the war in Afghanistan in the wake of the killing of bin Laden and the high cost of the war.

Report warns billions in U.S. aid may be wasted in Iraq, Afghanistan
Many US funded development projects in Afghanistan and Iraq may collapse after the withdrawal of US forces, especially if the Afghan or Iraqi governments fail to continue funding or running them adequately. This would translate into a colossal waste of US taxpayer money.

Nancy Pelosi’s Afghanistan Warning
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has warned President Obama about his plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, which she said was not substantial enough.

Other Related News & Opinions

UN to discuss Afghanistan's stability and development in Ashgabat
The UN Special Program for Central Asia (SPECA) will hold a meeting in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, to discuss sustainable development in Afghanistan.

Adm. Mullen: ‘Clarity’ on Afghanistan should come after fighting season
Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that the possibility of a withdrawal plan for Afghanistan will be clearer after the end of the Taliban’s fighting season.

Author offers insight into Taliban
A review of the book Taliban: The Unknown Enemy by James Fergusson.

One woman's quest to save Afghanistan
A review of Letters to My Daughters, the memoir of Fawzia Koofi, Afghan member of parliament.

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