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, January 16, 2016

News of the Day for Saturday, January 16, 2016

Gen. Campbell has forwarded a 3,000 page investigative report on the assault on the MSF hospital in Kunduz to the Pentagon. However, it will not be made public and we will have to wait some weeks for a redacted version, if even that is released. [I wonder who they are keeping secrets from?] Any decisions about disciplinary action have yet to be made.

The Taliban, under increasing aerial assault from U.S. forces, says it is not a threat to America and decries U.S. involvement in the Afghan civil war.  [This does happen to be true. -- C]

The Taliban group warned that the interference of the coalition forces in Helmand fight could derail the peace, a statement contrary to the Taliban offensive which has been launched amid ongoing efforts to end ongoing violence which has been ongoing during the past 14 years. Claiming victory in the ongoing war in Afghanistan, the Taliban group said they “are not a threat to anyone including America and have no intention of enmity and fighting with anyone rather our goal is to defend our soil.”
In an apparent instance of infiltration of the security forces, four police are shot dead by colleagues in Kandahar province. The three attackers then absconded with weapons and ammunition.

Elsewhere in Kandahar, assault on a police location fails and four attackers are killed.

Preliminary negotiations toward peace talks continue with a session scheduled for Monday in Kabul involving Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the U.S. [However, it is not clear that any insurgent groups are participating at this point which makes the entire exercise somewhat questionable.] "[President Ghani] has that pre discussions and negotiations have been launched and different elders and members of tribes have been asked."

In Iraq, Kurds and Turkmen are battling in Tuz Khurmato.

The Kurdistan Regional Government is bankrupt and cannot pay salaries. The ability of the peshmerga to keep fighting against IS is in doubt unless they can obtain financial support. The collapse in the price of oil is the underlying problem.

Sectarian violence continues in Diyala, while Shiite clans are clashing in Basra.

A Kurdish official says an offensive against Mosul is unlikely this year.

As IS comes under pressure in the territory it holds, it is exporting violence to Baghdad.