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

Friday, March 25, 2016

Update for Friday, March 25, 2016


U.S. says it has killed Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, also known as Haji Imam, who the U.S. says was second in command of IS and acting Finance Minister. Although several reports say he was killed in an airstrike, I believe this is just an assumption. The Pentagon declines to say where and how he was killed, leaving open the possibility that it was a commando raid. [I would remind everyone that during the previous civil war in Iraq, the U.S. would claim to have killed the al Qaeda number 2 every few weeks.]

Iraqi forces have begun a slow advance toward Mosul, now claiming the capture of 4 villages in Ninevah province expanding from the Makhmour base (where U.S. marines are stationed).  The marines are supporting the advance with artillery and illumination rounds. Iraqi forces also claim to have severed communication between Raqqa in Syria and areas west of Anbar, continuing the encirclement of Mosul. The advance is slow, however, as IS resists with guerilla tactics, and Kurdish peshmerga forces face an uncertain welcome in Arab villages.

Muqtada al-Sadr threatens further unrest if promised government reforms are not completed.

Turkey continues regular air strikes on PKK positions in Iraq. I should note that the wall-to-wall coverage in the U.S. of the IS bombings in Brussels contrasts with almost complete disinterest in the recent bombings in Turkey, which killed just as many people; and the regular bomb attacks on civilians in Iraq, which are no longer news. In fact, western Europe is just about the safest place on earth.

Update: Like I was saying, suicide bomber kills 29 at a soccer stadium in Iskanderiya. I'm sure CNN will feature coverage of nothing else for the next week, and everybody will be waving "I am Iskanderiya" signs at candlelight vigils all over the U.S. and Europe. Or not.

And, another explosion in Kabul, no word yet on casualties.

Taliban assassinate army general Khan Aga in Kandahar.

One dead in clash between followers of rival warlords Dostum and Noor in Faryab.

Seven police killed in a turncoat attack in Kandahar.







0 comments: