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 9, 2016

Update for Thursday, June 9, 2016

Estimates of the number of civilians trapped in Fallujah have grown to 90,000 as escapees report horrendous conditions.

IS bombing campaign claims 27 lives in 2 incidents in and near Baghdad.

An explosion near a military base in Baghdad where New Zealand personnel are stationed is said to have resulted in casualties but no foreign troops were affected.

Government and allied forces claim continuing advances in Fallujah but little definitive information is available about the state of battle.

Human Rights Watch continues to receive reports of abuse and murder of civilians in Fallujah by Iraqi government and Shiite militia forces:

"The Iraqi government needs to control and hold accountable its own forces if it hopes to claim the moral upper hand in its fight against (IS)," said Joe Stork, HRW's deputy Middle East director. "It's high time for Iraqi authorities to unravel the web of culpability underlying the government forces' repeated outrages against civilians," a HRW statement quoted him as saying.

Shiite militia leaders claim that IS is evacuating its family members from Fallujah. This may be correct or it may be an excuse for their treatment of fleeing civilians, as "Continuing further Jumaili added, “The security forces are checking the names of the displaced people from the city before evacuating them to the IDP [internally displaced persons] camps.”


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