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

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Update for Tuesday, January 5, 2016

U.S. military confirms one service member killed, 2 injured, in operation in Marja, Helmand. They were apparently special forces. Early reports on this were somewhat confused, so I held off posting until now. It also appears that a medevac helicopter sent to the scene was unable to take off, probably due to a mechanical problem, but it does not appear that U.S. forces remain in danger.

Khaama reports there were also Afghan casualties but has no specifics.

A recent string of bombings in Kabul apparently continues but as of 12:30 ET details on the latest incident are not yet available.

An attack Monday in the capital killed at least 2 people and injured 36 although witnesses report seeing 6 bodies at the scene.

I will have updates on these incidents when they are available.

In Iraq, the U.S. says IS territory has been reduced by 30%, including 40% of its territory in Iraq.

However, tough fighting continues with peshmerga engaged in a battle in Nineveh province and IS attacking Haditha and Bruwana in Anbar. Coalition aircraft are attacking IS forces in that area. Peshmerga also repel an attack north of Mosul, claiming to kill 18 attackers, with no word on Kurdish casualties.

In apparent retaliation against Sunnis for the execution of Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi Kingdom, three mosques are attacked in Babylon province.