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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Update for Thursday, April 16, 2015

Today, we are still in Iraq, where IS has launched an offensive in Anbar and captured 3 Ramadi villages. Government forces retain control of the city center, but a provincial council member has told the BBC that the insurgents are close to the government compound. Some 2,000 families hav fled toward Baghdad and are currently without shelter.

Ned Parker, Reuters Bureau Chief, was forced to flee Iraq after reporting on atrocities committed by Shiite militias in Tikrit. Parker was threatened on social media and television. He says that PM Abadi has defended him in a statement in English, but criticized reporting from Tikrit in Arabic. His original report is here. It describes the killing of a captured fighter, looting, and arson, by the Shiite forces.

Our friend Chet informs us that DoD has announced the death of an airman "supporting operation Inherent Resolve" in a non-combat incident at a base in "southwest Asia." That means the Middle East; the U.S. is discrete about its use of bases in Arab countries for operations in Afghanistan. the deceased is Tech. Sgt. Anthony E. Salazar, 40, of Hermosa Beach, California, 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron, 1st Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group, U.S. Air Forces Central Command. The incident is under investigation.