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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Update for Saturday, July 23, 2016

This is breaking news as I write at 9:30 ET, so we have to piece together the story from fragmentary accounts, but the death toll now stands at 61, with hundreds injured, in a bomb attack on a peaceful demonstration by members of the Hazara minority. The Taliban have disavowed the attack, and IS has claimed responsibility. The Hazara, who are Shiite muslims, were demanding that a proposed power line be routed through their territory, which centers on Bamiyan.

I'm sure we'll be seeing candlelight vigils in every U.S. city.

In Iraq meanwhile, bombs targeting civilians fleeing Shirqat kill 13 and injure 9. The grip of IS on the town has been weakening, giving civilians the opportunity to flee.

This is a (weird)  indication of how convoluted the situation is in Iraq. Iraqi forces are digging a miles-long trench north of Fallujah, apparently to prevent government-allied (presumably Shiite) militias from entering the city, following allegations of looting and abuse of civilians. There are fears that the project will hinder repopulation of the city. More detail on the difficult situation in Fallujah from AP.

The power struggle among Iraqi Shiite factions may be spilling into the streets with their respective militias.


Anonymous said...

I for one appreciate your candor and information you bring on Afghanistan. My son is based in Bagram and sometimes, we in the U.S don't hear what's going on in Kabul. I'm HORRIFIED to see this latest episode on ISIS! Keep up the great work. And, I for ONE can let you know that the this street in America will hold a window candle vigil for Kabul's fallen. :/ Keep up the great work!

Cervantes said...

Thanks. The victims of violence in Afghanistan deserve just as much of our attention and concern as people in the U.S. and Europe.

Anony said...

My heart is breaking for the people of Kabul as they begin their Eid celebration, with the loss of so many young university and high school students. A peaceful demonstration to bring electricity to an impoverished province to end like this. Martin Luther King would be sad today.