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 30, 2015

Update for Thursday, April 30, 2015


You may recall last week that we noted three U.S. soldiers had been injured by a bomb attack on their MRAP, and we found that curious. Well, the U.S. combat role in Afghanistan isn't over after all. Here, the Arkansas Post-Gazette largely recycles the NYT report, but since the Times is throwing up a paywall, this is the link you get. Excerpt:

Months after President Barack Obama formally declared that the United States' long war against the Taliban was over in Afghanistan, the U.S. military is regularly conducting airstrikes against low-level insurgent forces and sending special operations troops directly into harm's way under the guise of "training and advising." . . .

Rather than ending the U.S. war in Afghanistan, the military is using its wide latitude to instead transform it into a continuing campaign of airstrikes -- mostly drone missions -- and special operations raids that have in practice stretched or broken the boundaries publicly described by the White House.

And apparently the mission is creeping for Romania as well. (Didn't know they still have troops there? They have 625.) Four Rumanian soldiers injured by a bomb attack. "The ministry said they were on a patrol some 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of the military base in Kandahar Thursday morning as part of the "Resolute Support" mission when the vehicle blew up."

And why is the mission creeping? Because Afghan forces can't secure the country. Afghan forces struggle to break the seige of Kunduz. "Afghan security forces continued to battle Taliban in the northern city of Kunduz on April 30 in a bid to push them outside of the city limits.. . .Meanwhile, up to 2,000 Taliban fighters continued to hold territory in four other parts of Kunduz Province, giving them positions from which to besiege Kunduz city -- including positions to the south of the city where the strategic Kunduz Airport is located."

And, Fighting in Afghanistan this year could kill and injure a record number of civilians and force a growing number of people from their homes, aid agencies said.

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