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, December 12, 2015

Update for Saturday, December 12, 2015


Doctors without borders concludes that the death toll from the U.S. assault on its hospital in Kunduz was at least 42, after an investigation that included looking through the rubble for human remains. They have identified the dead as 14 staff, 24 patients, and four relatives of patients. At the same time, the United Nations Assistance Mission has concluded that the total civilian death toll in the battle for Kunduz was 289. The statement said “The vast majority of these casualties resulted from ground fighting that could not be attributed solely to one party.” The U.S. has yet to release its internal investigation of the hospital attack, and has provided no information about responsible parties or possible disciplinary action. The explanation offered publicly has not seemed credible to many observers, but an independent investigation cannot take place without U.S  and Afghan permission.

Taliban attack a guest house near the Spanish embassy, resulting in a 9-hour siege in which 10 people are killed including 2 Spanish police tasked with embassy protection. Normally U.S. soldiers are housed in the building but apparently that was not the case at the time.

District governor assassinated in Baghlan.

Security forces capture 9 foreign nationals in Jalalabad, one of whom then detonates a suicide vest killing herself, 3 children among the detainees, and an intelligence officer. "Out of respect, the woman was not searched by intelligence staff after her capture." The foreigners are said to speak Russian.

In Iraq, 6 border guards are killed by a suicide bombers at a post on the Saudi border. IS takes responsibility.

The dispute with Turkey continues, with Iraq asking the UN Security Council to intervene to demand that Turkey withdraw its troops from northern Iraq. Turkish president Erdogan continues to insist that Abadi asked for the troops.

“During a visit to Turkey in 2014, [Iraqi PM Haider al-] Abadi demanded [Turkish troops] for training," he said. "After these demands, we set up the Bashiqa camp. They are aware of all of this.”
“They [Turkish troops] are more a training team rather than a combative force,” said Erdogan, adding that the training program was part of the fight against Daesh.
“I believe this [Iraq’s complaint to the UN] is based on Russia and Iran’s moves in the region," he added.


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