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 2, 2016

Update for Saturday, January 2, 2016

District Chief Amanuddin Quraishi, of the Imam Sahib district of Kunduz province, says the Taliban have established control there and in neighboring Dash-i-Archi over an area of 25 square kilometers. They are preparing to attack the center of Dash-i-Archi and security forces are unprepared to defend it.

In Helmand province, Afghan forces free 59 captives from a Taliban prison. About half were soldiers and half civilians.

Suicide attack on a French restaurant in Kabul yesterday kills 2, injures 17. The restaurant is frequented by foreigners but the dead were both Afghan civilians.

Breakaway faction of Taliban led by Mullah Mohammad Rasool Akhund agrees to a ceasefire and prisoner exchange with the main faction led by Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. This could mean the government will face more formidable opposition, but also enhances the possibilities for peace talks.

In Iraq news, a UK investigatory body says British troops may face criminal charges for their actions in the Iraq war. However, no specific cases are named at this time.

Saudi Arabia recently re-opened its embassy in Baghdad, but Saudi Arabia's execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr has caused outrage in Iraq, with many calling for the embassy to be closed. Saudi Arabia broke diplomatic relations with Iraq 25 years ago after Saddam Hussein invaded and attempted to annex Kuwait.

U.S. special forces apparently partner with Kurdish forces in an attack on IS position in Hawija. Few details are given.


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