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, May 22, 2016

Update for Sunday, May 22, 2016

U.S. and Afghan governments say a U.S. drone strike in Ahmad Wal, Balochistan, Pakistan, kills Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who had consolidated power as leader of the Afghan Taliban following the death of founding leader Mullah Omar. Mansour's driver was also killed. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says that Mansour was an obstacle to peace, although it is clear that peace talks cannot proceed in the near future as the Taliban will be engaged in a succession struggle. The decision to assassinate a specific individual in Pakistani territory was reportedly authorized by president Obama.

Pakistani reaction so far is muted, with a demand for "clarification."

Pakistan's relationship with Mansour had deteriorated  and it is possible that the Pakistanis agreed to the action (although they certainly will not say so publicly).

A report from the area says that a destroyed car and 2 charred bodies were found, but identifies the bodies as people other than Mansour and his driver.

One civilian is killed and 7 injured in a rocket attack in Herat.

NATO airstrikes in Kunduz said to kill 13 militants.

A tribal elder is shot dead in Kunduz  by persons unknown.

The Iraqi army advises civilians to leave Fallujah as an offensive against the city is imminent. However, although the army has promised to create safe corridors, at present civilians are not permitted to leave by IS and are suffering from severe shortages of necessities.


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