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, October 4, 2016

Update for Tuesday, October 4, 2016

A more detailed and comprehensible summary from Salon of the Pentagon contract with the British PR firm Bell Pottinger. The information appears to be well-confirmed. The U.S., under the Bush administration, paid the firm, which has been employed largely by right-wing politicians and authoritarian regimes such as the Saudis, to produce news videos which appeared to have been made by Arab media; and fake al Qaeda videos which were apparently used in an entrapment scheme.

More than 100 additional U.S. troops have been deployed to Qayyara air base  to support the coming assault on Mosul. More than 550 U.S. troops are now deployed there.

Puh-leeze. Nuri al-Maliki is said to be plotting a comeback, and may be behind the recent firing of a Sunni Arab and a Kurdish minister.

Under the circumstances, the Turkish prime minister is right to warn of serious sectarian strife if the Shiite government tries to place Shiite militias in control around Mosul.

In Afghanistan, the government is claiming gains in Kunduz, with the help of U.S. military "advisers."