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, May 17, 2016

Update for Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Matthieu Aikins, in the NYT, reports evidence that Afghan troops manipulated U.S. forces into the attack on the Kunduz hospital. This speculation has long hung over the incident, and is reinforced by the insistence of Afghan military spokespeople in the ensuing weeks that the attack was justified. Obviously the U.S. doesn't want to admit this publicly because it does cast the alliance in a bad light.

IS bombing campaign in Shiite areas of Baghdad continues, with another 70 or so dead. (Reported casualty totals, as always, vary somewhat among sources.)

Amnesty International condemns the attacks, which is hardly surprising. However, I note it here because it is true that the IS bombings intentionally target civilians, and have no military purpose other than undermining the Iraqi government.

Antagonism between Sadrists and the Iraqi government nearly resulted in violence last month. The political crisis remains unresolved.

Glenn Greenwald's Intercept is expanding public access to the Snowden files. Much of the newly released material concerns the U.S. occupation of Iraq, as discussed here on Gawker.


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