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, March 1, 2016

Update for Tuesday, March 1, 2016

IS suicide bombers enter army headquarters in Haditha, kill a brigadier general and 5 other soldiers.

Al Jazeera has an analysis of Muqtada al-Sadr's public re-emergence. Although it is based on a platform of national unity and honest government, they see it as largely an effort to retain influence within the Shiite community. [Al-Sadr has always publicly called for a unified, non-sectarian state, even while his Mahdi Army was embroiled in the Iraqi civil war. His degree of sincerity has never been clear.]

General Dunford says Iraqi forces, supported by the U.S., have isolated Mosul  and that the campaign to retake the city is in preparation. However, the plan is not yet decided, including whether peshmerga will participate, and whether PM Abadi will allow close air support from U.S. helicopters. U.S. special forces are participating in this effort, with 200 Delta Force troops "conducting raids, seizing territory and plotting to rescue hostages and prisoners."

Iraqi troops and militias launch an offensive to retake Samarra. This is part of the ongoing effort to encircle Mosul and sever IS-held territory.

In Afghanistan, women and girls who are accused of "moral crimes" such as leaving their homes without permission are subject to "virginity tests." Oy.

Police officer at a remote checkpoing shoots 4 of his colleagues dead, 11 are missing, on the highway between Kandahar and Uruzgan.

Meanwhile, Afghan forces abandon 2 districts in Uruzgan, while while Rashid Dostum claims advances in Faryab. [His private army is nominally part of the Afghan National Army, and he holds a vice-presidency. This is perhaps best thought of as a federal affiliation.]

Two U.S. drone strikes in Nangarhar kill 9.

MoD announces the deaths of 8 ANA soldiers, and in the usual absurdly lopsided other half of the announcement claims killing 98 militants.


Jr. Williams said...

Should I join the military?
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Ben Jackson said...

yes it would be, once my friend gave me lecture about modesty it was amazing and heart touching.
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