Will Assassinations Work In Afghanistan?

Today's Af-Pak round-up:

Will assassinations work in Afghanistan? The CIA has "turned itself into a paramilitary operation at the service of the military," assassinating key Taliban leaders—and this may not be a good thing, writes former CIA field officer Robert Baer. While "no one has convincingly disputed the fact that these strikes have badly hurt al-Qaeda," Baer says the CIA doesn't have enough "good, solid intelligence" to determine where key Taliban leaders are and how many of them we would need to kill to bring insurgents to the bargaining table. The plan, he says, is little more than "a sign of desperation—a Hail Mary pass." [TIME]

Floods turn America's AfPak strategy on its head. Massive floods will likely force Washington to mute its calls for the Pakistan government to mount an offensive against Afghan insurgents on their territory and force it to redirect part of the $7.5 billion in aid it pledged for the country away from more ambitious goals, like upgrading the country's electricity grid, and toward more urgent disaster relief, like rebuilding bridges. [NYT]

Walt: Afghan war makes helping Pakistan flood victims more difficult. Large countries that engage in "a lot of costly and time-consuming commitments" make themselves less able to respond to unexpected challenges or opportunities, writes Foreign Policy's Stephen Walt. The floods in Pakistan, he says, offer a prime example of how such "opportunity costs" work—the U.S. commitment in Afghanistan, he says, is eating up resources that it could have used to help Pakistan flood victims and boost America's credibility in that country. [Foreign Policy]

Obama likely to skip Pakistan during Asia tour. This coming November, President Obama plans to visit several Asian countries, including India, but White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said he hasn't "heard any discussion" of including a visit to flood-devastated Pakistan on Obama's schedule. [Times of India]