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, August 26, 2015

Upate for Wednesday, August 26, 2015

NATO says that two men wearing Afghan army uniforms opened fire on a NATO vehicle, killing two "foreign troops" in Helmand province, and were in turn shot dead by return fire. While NATO has not confirmed further details, the AP, citing various sources, says that the dead foreign troops were U.S. soldiers; that the incident took place in Shorab military base, formerly the UK's Camp Bastion; and that the violence resulted from an argument, suggesting it was not the result of insurgent infiltration. We will provide more information as available.

We noted on Sunday the imminent fall of Musa Kala in Helmand, which has now occurred, with 25 Afghan troops dead and 40 wounded as the Taliban seize control. Haji Karim Atal, the provincial council head, says that security forces have abandoned the district, with civil service personnel and wounded officers sheltered in a "dangerous area." The capital Lashkargah is now threatened.

In Faryab, the Taliban are using schools and hospitals as military bases, preventing children from going to school, according to provincial police. A TOLO reporter who visited a village in Faryab says the Taliban are extracting taxes from the population.

Radio Free Afghanistan (which is a U.S. funded operation, but appears to be playing it straight here) discusses the capture of Musa Kala noting that it is in a major opium growing region, and that the Taliban have also captured the neighboring districts of Nawzad and Baghran. Their success comes despite U.S. airstrikes that killed about 40 fighters.  A local politician says the Taliban enjoy popular support in the area due to the lack of government development projects. More than 400 British troops died in the area before the NATO withdrawal from combat operations. The Telegraph reports that 20 of them died specifically in Musa Kala.


Dancewater said...

Two US military personnel killed in Afghanistan - in the war that is reportedly over.