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, July 29, 2015

Update for Wednesday, July 29, 2015

There is more to the story of the apparent death of Mullah Omar than we yet know. Afghan intelligence officials say he died in a Karachi hospital in April, 2013. It has been generally suspected that Pakistan was harboring him, which contributed to the tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan. But if the Pakistanis conspired to conceal his death for more than 2 years, that will not sit well at all.

As the Taliban has been fracturing, many have wondered why Omar did not make any public appearances, although statements have been issued in his name. The Taliban are continuing to deny that he is dead.

It is unclear what this will mean for the peace process. If he has indeed died, it is not clear whether the Taliban can present as a reasonably unified entity capable of negotiating. We will continue to follow this and update as there is news.