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

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Update for Sunday, June 21, 2015

Editor's note:  I haven't posted for a while because the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq have settled into a grim stalemate, with government and insurgent forces (or, in the case of Syria, a more complex mix of players) trading small advances and no real strategic change. While events seem largely repetitive from day to day, I do intend to keep up a more regular schedule of posting going forward, in part because the American people are largely ignoring both wars. Today I will focus on Afghanistan.

 Taliban offensive in Kunduz province advances with the capture of Chardarah district just 3 kilometers from Kunduz city, sparking concerns about the possible loss of the provincial capital. Seventy Afghan security personnel are currently surrounded in Chardarah, as civilians flee toward Kunduz city with their livestock and possessions. The streets of the city are deserted as government officials flee and administrative offices are closed.

In Badakhshan province, in contrast, the government claims to have recaptured Yamgan after a 3 week battle. However, in a story which will be familiar to followers of the Iraq war,

head of the Provincial Council Abdullah Naji Nazari has said that insurgents stole most of the security forces' equipment."vYes! Yamgan district has been cleared of insurgents but there are concerns that the insurgents have stolen the weapons cache and the equipment of the government forces," he said.
And who do you think supplied those weapons and equipment?

Civilians trying to return home after fleeing fighting in Marjah, Helmand, hit a mine, with 19 dead including 9 children. Fourteen of the dead are from a single family.

Opium cultivation continues to increase.

Afghanistan marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as it is a leading country in the production, cultivation and trafficking of narcotic drugs in the world. Despite this is the most devastating catastrophe in the country officials ended the program by repeating a number of usual statistics and promised plans which have never been fulfilled during the last 14 years. Salamat Azimi, Minister of Counter Narcotics, said: “Unfortunately, the cultivation of narcotic drugs have been increased in Afghanistan.” According to the information provided by counter narcotics minister there are 132 districts in Afghanistan cultivating drugs.

A physician is murdered in Baghlan.

Electricity has been out in Nangarhar and Laghman for 10 days after Taliban cut transmission lines. Work to restore power is just now beginning.


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