The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Friday, June 27, 2014

News of the Day for Friday, June 27, 2014

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Sgt. Thomas Z. Spitzer, 23, of New Braunfels, Texas, died June 25 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Twentynine Palms, California.

Four police are killed and one injured in attacks on checkpoints  in Chamtal and Chahar Bolak districts, Balkh province, according to the provincial police chief. The Taliban claim 7 Afghan forces killed.

United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan expresses concern about civilian casualties from ongoing fighting in Helmand. "the UN Mission is particularly concerned about the launching of mortars and grenades into populated areas which has resulted in civilian casualties, and calls on the parties to take all necessary measures to reduce harm to civilians from the use of these weapons." While the UN has documented 30 civilian deaths in the past week, note that yesterday local officials in Sangin district, where the fighting is concentrated, reported at least 50 deaths, as reported here and linked on this site yesterday.

President Obama asks Congress for $58.6 billion to fund the war in Afghanistan. That probably sounds like a lot of money to you, but it's the smallest request in a decade.