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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

News of the Day for Sunday, October 26, 2014

British forces hand over Camp Bastion in Helmand province to Afghan troops, ending the United Kingdom's 13 years of combat in Afghanistan. A total of 435 British troops lost their lives in the campaign. Only a few hundred British troops will remain in the country after Christmas, at the officers' training academy.

U.S. Marines also hand over control of Camp Leatherneck. However, NATO forces will continue to secure the perimeters of the two bases until further orders. There are still about 34,000 coalition forces in Afghanistan but that number is steadily decreasing. The United States plans to keep about 9,800 troops in the country next year.

In a sign of cultural change, an Afghan mullah is sentenced to prison for the rape of a 10 year old girl. However, women's rights advocates say the perpetrator would likely have escaped punishment had the trial not been transferred from Kunduz to Kabul. " Rape is often treated as adultery in Afghanistan, and victims can face prison themselves."

Eight police are killed in a Taliban attack in northeastern Badakshan province. The fighting continues, and tens of soldiers are said to be missing as the Taliban control most of the Warduj district. The Taliban have yet to comment.

Pakistani missiles destroy three houses in Kunar.

Soldiers demonstrate in front of the National Assembly, saying they have received no salary for six months.

In Iraq, Iraqi and Kurdish forces (note we're no longer pretending they're the same thing) make gains against IS with U.S. air support. With the help of 22 air strikes on Friday and Saturday, Kurdish forces regained the town of Zumar, encountering fierce resistance and suffering seven dead. Iraqi forces say they retook Jurf al-Sakhar.