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, February 13, 2015

Update for Friday, February 13, 2015

Just when you thought the U.S. war in Afghanistan was over . . .

U.S. Is Escalating a Secretive War in Afghanistan. NYT reports that data from a computer captured in October has led to an increase in operations by U.S. special forces against both al Qaeda and Taliban targets. 

The tempo of operations is “unprecedented for this time of year” — that is, the traditional winter lull in fighting, an American military official said. No official would provide exact figures, because the data is classified. The Afghan and American governments have also sought to keep quiet the surge in night raids to avoid political fallout in both countries.

“It’s all in the shadows now,” said a former Afghan security official who informally advises his former colleagues. “The official war for the Americans — the part of the war that you could go see — that’s over. It’s only the secret war that’s still going. But it’s going hard.”
One wonders whether any U.S. casualties from these top secret activities are publicly reported.