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, December 28, 2015

Update for Monday, December 28, 2015

Suicide attack near Kabul airport kills 1, injures 33, including 18 children. All of the victims are reportedly civilians. The intended target was apparently a minibus that transports foreigner troops to and from the airport, but NATO says none of its personnel were affected. Most of the injured children were students at a religious school.

A woman administering polio vaccine is murdered in Kandahar, and a second public health worker is seriously injured.

New Ministry of Defense complex, built by the U.S. at a cost of $160 million, is formally opened. The U.S. spent an additional $33 million on furniture and $12 million on information technology.

NYT reports U.S. plans to maintain a special operations base in Afghanistan for "years to come."

Meetings are scheduled among Afghan, Pakistani, U.S. and Chinese officials to try to revive the peace talks with the Taliban. [This will be difficult because at present there is no such thing as "the Taliban." -- C]

In Iraq, video shows the recaptured city of Ramadi essentially destroyed. It will be a long time before people can move back.