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, May 20, 2016

Update for Friday, May 20, 2016

Thousands of Sadrist protesters storm the Green Zone, briefly occupying the parliament and entering the Prime Minister's office before they are driven off by security forces using live ammunition. Dozens are reported wounding and there are also reports of an unspecified number of fatalities.

Even as the Iraqi state is in turmoil, slow military gains against IS continue, with the capture of the town of Rutba, opening the road from Amman to Baghdad.

Meanwhile, the grinding violence continues in Afghanistan, as a UN security guard is killed and another UN staffer injured in a shooting in Kabul.

Roadside bomb kills 11 civilians in Baghlan.

Government claims offensive in Helmand kills 13 militants, does not mention any government casualties. Also reports air strikes in Ghazni killing 29, and the deaths of an ANA general and a district police chief in Kandahar and Ghor, respectively.

NATO votes to continue the mission in Afghanistan past 2016. U.S. will maintain troop level of 9,800 this year.