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

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Update for Thursday, December 24, 2015


After U.S. airstrikes, and re-supply of defenders by helicopter, Sangin withstands Taliban siege. British forces have also moved into the area, which they previously occupied during the height of NATO combat operations in the country.

There are conflicting claims about the overall security situation in Helmand.

Large scale Taliban attack on security posts in Zabul is successfully resisted, with apparently 3 ANA soldiers killed. A local commander claims 14 Taliban dead. As always, claims about casualties conflict.

U.S. drone strike said to kill 3 Taliban in Nangarhar. (Note that this sort of activity goes largely unreported in the U.S.)

In Iraq, the advance of government forces into Ramadi continues but is slowed by booby traps, snipers and suicide bombers. Some 50 civilian families have managed to flee to safety but that is a fraction of those believed to be present. U.S. led coalition is providing intense close air support.

Coalition air strike hits a meeting of IS leaders near Mosul, with a claim of 30 killed. The attack is said to have been based on intelligence provided by peshmerga. But the bombs aren't that smart. Reports and video footage of civilian casualties from U.S. air strikes in Mosul.

Iraqi forces also claim gains near Tikrit.

Bombs in Khalis and Baghdad kill 15 civilians.

Report finds that IS has lost about 10% of its territory in 2015. If you look at the map you will see that most of the gains were by Kurdish forces.






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