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

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Update for Sunday, February 14, 2016

UN report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan in 2015 counts 3,545 deaths and 7,457 injured, a record since the UN started keeping a tally in 2009. One in every four casualties was a child. The report finds that anti-government forces were responsible for 62% of civilian casualties. However, the number of civilian casualties caused by anti-government forces was down since 2014, while casualties caused by pro-government forces, including irregular militias, increased.

Security remains poor in Kunduz, hampering the work of civil society organizations and driving many of them out of the area entirely.

Heavy fighting continues in Sangin, Helmand. Officials say life is difficult for local residents but lack of communication makes assessment of civilian casualties impossible.