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

Monday, May 4, 2015

Update for Monday, May 4, 2015

A U.S. air strike in Aleppo province, Syria on Friday killed 52 civilians. According to the British-based Observatory for Human Rights, this brings the total of civilians killed in U.S. operations in Syria to at least 118. The Reuters report goes on to say "The U.S.-led air strikes have had little impact on the hardline Islamic State group, slowing its advances but failing to weaken it in areas it controls."

Anbar provincial council calls on the government to protect refugees from criminal gangs in Baghdad province. (Last I heard they weren't being allowed into the city proper.)

Tikrit (in Salah-u-Din province) remains a ghost town. Residents fear returning as militias remain in control.

Iraqi journalists face imprisonment and murder

In Afghanistan, Taliban attacks in Badakhshan kill 16 police. DPA, apparently referring to the same incident, says the dead were soldiers and that there were 18 of them. The accounts are very different and I can't reconcile them.

Update: This appears to be the correct account of the Badakhshan incident. Taliban overran 10 police checkpoints in Warduj district. Seventeen police are known dead and 26 are missing.