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

Monday, September 5, 2016

Update for Monday, Sept. 5, 2015

Two bombs near the president's administrative office in Kabul kill 24, injure more than 90. The Taliban have claimed responsibility. Responders to the first explosion were killed in the second, a common tactic.

Officials say the Kandahar-Helmand highway has reopened after a month-long blockade. However, it appears it is currently only being used by military vehicles. Whether this is because it is still too dangerous for civilian use or because of physical damage is not entirely clear.

Government says it has recaptured Qala-e Zal in Kunduz.

Three security personnel are injured and a tank destroyed in a Taliban attack in Ghor province.

Taliban attack on a military base in Baghlan is repelled. As usual, no mention of government casualties.

Remember the peace process supposedly involving the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan? Not happening.

India will increase military assistance to Afghanistan, displeasing Pakistan, and of course the Taliban as well.

Taliban overrun Omna in Paktika.

In Iraq, explosion of a booby-trapped house near Qayyarah kills 10 soldiers and 8 civilians. This is indicative of the slow process of clearing areas formerly occupied by IS. Long after the recapture of Fallujah, Anbar Operations Command is still clearing booby-trapped houses and other hidden explosives.

U.S. air strike near Qayyarah is said to kill an unnamed high official of IS.

Iraqi army launches assault on Hawija, along with Shiite militias.

Sadrist government employees go on strike in the continuing protest against corruption.