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, March 5, 2016

Update for Saturday, March 5, 2016

Well, so much for that. (At least for now.) Taliban say they will not participate in peace talks that were to be brokered by Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the U.S.

We . . .  unequivocally state that the leader of Islamic Emirate has not authorized anyone to participate in this meeting. (Islamic Emirate) once again reiterates that unless the occupation of Afghanistan is ended, black lists eliminated and innocent prisoners freed, such futile misleading negotiations will not bear any results.
Heavy fighting in various parts of Helmand with numerous casualties on both sides.

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction describes various ways U.S. taxpayer dollars were squandered. The U.S. has now spent more on Afghan reconstruction than it did on rebuilding Europe after W.W. II, with, shall we say, somewhat less impressive results. Example:

The Pentagon spent close to half a billion dollars on 20 Italian-made cargo planes that it eventually scrapped and sold for just $32,000, according to SIGAR. "These planes were the wrong planes for Afghanistan," Sopko told NBC News. "The U.S. had difficulty getting the Afghans to fly them, and our pilots called them deathtraps. One pilot said parts started falling off while he was coming into land."