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

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Update for Wednesday, February 18, 2015

As Dancewater noted in the comments yesterday, the UN reports that Afghan civilian casualties rose 22% last year from the year before, with 3,699 civilians killed and 6,849 injured. This is the highest number since the UN started keeping track in 2009. (One wonders why it took them so long to get around to it.) Most are killed as bystanders in ground engagements, rather than by explosive devices, due to indiscriminate use of rockets and mortars. The report blames the majority of civilian casualties on insurgents.