Reflections on 2012 from the Taliban

Over at Jihadology, FP contributor Aaron Y. Zelin posts a translation of the  Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan's "Quick Glance at 2012 Jih?d? Achievements (Part 1)". They are in a boastful mood: 

To sum up 2012 in one sentence it would be ‘The beginning of the invaders scamper'. Thirty thousand American troops fled from the heated battle fields this year and on top of this, France brought its combat mission to an end and withdrew all its forces the same way they had come; Belgium began its retreat on 7th of August by withdrawing 230 troops; New Zealand followed suit and declared early withdrawal after attacks on its troops in Bamiyan and the Prime Minister of Britain also jumped on the retreat bandwagon be announcing early withdrawal of its troops from Helmand province during a visit to Afghanistan.

There's also some historical perspective:

When America faced utter destruction in Vietnam, they came up with the formula ‘declare victory and run' and want to utilize the formula of ‘transfer security and run' here in Afghanistan


A global Apple crime wave?

The BBC reports that armed robbers broke into a central Paris Apple store on New Year's Eve and made off with more than one million euros worth of merchandise. This kind of large-scale Apple heist appears to be fairly common these days.

In November, thieves made off with $1.5 million worth of iPad minis from a warehouse at New York's Kennedy airport, where they had just been shipped from China. (Incidentally, it was the same warehouse as the 1978 heist depicted in the movie Goodfellas, according to the New York Post.) More than £100,000 worth of iPhones were stolen from a London O2 store in September. In a not-as-slick operation, a thief in Temecula, California used a BMW as a battering ram to break into an Apple store, stealing a bunch of iPhone 4s... one week before the iPhone 5 came out. 

But of course, the vast majority of Apple-related crime isn't in high-profile heists, it's ordinary street thefts. Thefts of Apple products in New York City, which rose by 3,890 this year, singlehandedly drove up the city's crime stats this year, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.

The resale value on a stolen iPhone is apparently pretty good. During a bust in 2011, the NYPD found merchants selling stolen iPhone 4s for up to $200 -- which is actually more than what WalMart now charges for a new iPhone 5. Police have actually found that crime rates drop in the weeks before a new high-profile Apple product is released as thieves await the new model. 

Between the thefts and China's much-publicized fake Apple stores (not to mention organ harvesting) it seems there's quite a thriving undergound economy running parallel to the world's most valuable company.