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

Friday, August 12, 2016

Update for Friday, August 12, 2016

Joint U.S.-Kurdish operations said to result in death of a senior IS leader, responsible for oil industry operations. This is of interest because the announcement of the operation by the Kurdish Regional Security Council has forced the Pentagon to acknowledge a U.S. action. The linked article refers to the Pentagons "secret" Expeditionary Targeting Force but obviously it isn't a secret any more.

UNHCR says that so far 100,000 people have fled Mosul and Shirqat. As we have already noted, they lack shelter and adequate food, water, and health care.

In Afghanistan, rift between Abdullah and Ghani becomes critical as Abdullah threatens to withdraw support for the government. It is unclear if there was any specific trigger for his statement.

Other political leaders try to calm the situation while calling for concerted action against corruption.