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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Update for Thursday, June 30, 2016

Air strikes by U.S. and Iraqi forces on militants fleeing Fallujah said to kill hundreds. Specifically, Iraqi military spokesman Yahya Rasool says that Iraqi forces destroyed more than 200 vehicles and killed at least 150 militants, while U.S. air strikes destroyed an additional 60 vehicles. He did not say how the casualties were determined. While he said that commandos captured large quantities of weapons and ammunition, he did not say anything about survivors or prisoners. AP quotes a different official saying that Iraqi helicopters destroyed 138 vehicles, and a U.S. spokesperson saying that coalition air strikes destroyed 175. Other sources give yet other numbers.

The UK will send an additonal 250 troops to a base in Anbar. They are said to be on a training mission, although the number of troops dedicated to force protection greatly exceeds the number of trainers.

UNICEF raises the alarm on the dire circumstances of Iraqi children. Among their observations:

  • 4.7 million children need humanitarian aid – a third of all Iraqi children
  • Some 3.6 million children in Iraq – one in five in the country – are at serious risk of death, injury, sexual violence, abduction and recruitment into armed groups
  • A total of 1,496 children have been abducted in the country over the past two and a half years. That translates to 50 children abducted each month, with many forced into fighting or sexually abused.
  • Almost ten percent of Iraqi children – more than 1.5 million – have been forced to flee their homes because of violence since the beginning of 2014, often multiple times.  
U.S will loan Iraqi military $2.7 billion, with $200 million going directly to the peshmerga.

In Afghanistantwo suicide bombers kill at least 30 people and injure dozens in an attack on buses carrying recent police academy graduates near Kabul. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid takes responsibility.


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