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

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Update for Saturday, November 7, 2015

There has been a bit of news in the past week but I've saved it up.

MSF releases report from its internal review of the assault on the Kunduz hospital, reiterating that "there were no weapons, armed combatants or fighting inside the compound in Kunduz before the bombing started. It said the GPS coordinates for the hospital provided to all armed groups were accurate." The report brings the death toll to 30, with additional people maimed, and states that individuals were shot as they attempted to flee.

The various investigations of the perpetrators by themselves continue to be delayed. However, we are starting to see the justifications leaked to right-wing web sites, e.g. that there were senior Taliban commanders being treated (as MSF freely states), that the hospital had discharged civilians against medical advice to make room for wounded Taliban (no comment on that from MSF but no idea where they would have gotten such information) and that the flag on the roof was not among the internationally recognized symbols for a medical facility. We shall see.

Relief has arrived to earthquake-stricken northwest Afghanistan, but now people will have to survive the winter in temporary structures. Relief efforts continue to be slowed by fighting and the reluctance of relief agencies to enter Taliban-controlled areas.


Aid organizations are having difficulty recruiting staff in Afghanistan as the security situation deteriorates.

You have probably heard about the 19 year old girl who was stoned to death in Ghor province for refusing to marry the younger brother of a Taliban commander. Note, however, that the Wolesi Jirga has called for the arrest of the perpetrators and called upon Mullahs to speak out against forced marriage.

A religious scholar who preached against the Taliban is murdered in Ghazni.

Afganistan to obtain Russian-made attack helicopters from India, a move which is likely to annoy Pakistan.

Khalilullah Ferozi, who was convicted of embezzlement in the Kabul bank scandal, has been released from prison and now has a contract with the government as part of a $900 million project.

"Release of a criminal from prison is against the law," law professor Nasrullah Stanekzai said. "Mitigating the charges of a criminal or signing a contract with him is against the law." The shocking news led to mounting criticism of government – whose main slogan was to eradicate corruption and begin it with addressing the Kabul Bank case.
Fighting continues in Helmand with back and forth territorial gains.

Various body count claims by government forces with, as usual, zero mention of government casualties.




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