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, October 28, 2016

Update for Friday, October 28, 2016

The UN says IS forces have abducted thousands of civilians in the Mosul area to use as "human shields" near strategic sites. They are also said to have murdered some 232 people including former members of Iraqi security forces and people who refused to obey their orders.

Amnesty International warns that use of white phosphorus munitions by Iraqi or coalition forces may endanger civilians. (The U.S. used such munitions in the second battle for Fallujah.)

Toxic clouds from burning sulfur and oil wells set ablaze by IS have sickened more than a thousand people and created an environmental catastrophe.

Nevertheless, despite resistance peshmerga and Iraqi forces continue their slow advance toward Mosul.

Shiite militia offensive on Tal Afar said to be imminent.