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, August 23, 2016

Update for Tuesday, August 23, 2016

One U.S. service member is killed, 1 injured, and 6 Afghan troops injured by an IED near Lashkar Gah.

This occurs as the U.S. has deployed 100 troops to the city to help Afghan forces shore up defenses.

Fighting in Sar-e-Pul said to kill 10 Afghan police and 16 Taliban.

Fighting in Nangarhar is said to result in deaths of 12 IS fighters and 12 Taliban. The report, as is often the case, does not mention casualties among government forces. The report is from the governor's spokesperson. Journalists are unable to visit the districts where the fighting is said to have taken place, and cannot independently confirm the report.

Suicide bomb attack on a joint NATO-Afghan patrol in Bagram injures 3 Afghan police.

Four civilians killed and 3 injured in two explosions in Nangarhar.

Taliban advances in Kunduz province prompt a visit by the defense minister to Kunduz city, where he promises to launch an offensive. The Washington Post describes the Taliban gains in the province, which include cutting roads to neighboring provinces and destroying the bridge that links Afghanistan with Tajikistan. Taliban recapture of the city is feared.

Note that 2 provincial capitals are in danger of falling to the Taliban, who now control most of Helmand and Kunduz provinces. No word on forward deployment of U.S. forces in Kunduz, but the deployment to Lashkar Gah signals the ineffectiveness of Afghan forces in Helmand.




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