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, October 26, 2015

Update for Monday, October 26, 2015

A massive earthquake has struck northwest Afghanistan, which was felt over a wide area of central and south Asia. There are reports of substantial numbers of deaths in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but communications with the most affected region are out. It will be some time before we have any sort of a picture of the damage and possible political aftermath. I will post as I can today when there is more information.

Information about the quake is still just trickling out. Of course the reported death toll is still rising but there isn't much point in following the play by play as it ticks up. We'll actually know something later. Meanwhile, I've been reluctant to link to leaks from the Kunduz hospital bombing because they are probably self-serving, but someone has been leaking to AP and it may be instructive as to where they are trying to go with this. The excuse of the day seems to be that the green berets who called in the strike thought the hospital had been overrun by Taliban, was under their control, harbored heavy weapons, and was the base for firing against U.S. troops. There is a hint dropped that maybe they confused the MSF facility with an Afghan ministry of health facility that had been overrun.

I'll give the anonymous AP reporters credit -- they are properly skeptical, on numerous very good grounds. They can't say it, but I can. This is bullshit. Read the story if you are interested, it seems to me reasonably informative. Of course the self-investigation has been delayed once again. If we ever learn the truth, I doubt there will be accountability.

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