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, November 25, 2015

Second update for Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The U.S. military has released its explanation for the assault on the MSF hospital in Kunduz. Of course it was all just a big mistake. To summarize:

  • Afghan forces requested an airstrike, saying they were under fire. However, they did not provide map coordinates of the building they wanted to be attacked, they just "described its location."
  • U.S. special forces passed on the description to the crew of the AC-130.
  • The plane had been diverted from another mission and its crew was not familiar with Kunduz, and had not been briefed on the location of the hospital.
  • The location description was apparently vague or inaccurate (it referred to an open field), so the crew decided to attack the hospital building.
  • U.S. ground forces were not within visual range of the attack.
  • An on-board targeting computer that might have stored the coordinate of the hospital as off-limits wasn't working.
Okaaay.

  • No explanation as to why the AC-130 attacked even though there was no evidence of a firefight. (They would have seen it with infrared surveillance if it was happening.)
  • No explanation of why the crew did not confirm the identity of the target when the information they had turned out to be incorrect.
  • No explanation of why the attack continued for an hour despite frantic calls by hospital personnel to U.S., Afghan, United Nations and Red Cross officials. 
Gen. Campbell says some individuals have been "suspended" from their duties.  I have no further comment on this right now.


 

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