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, November 1, 2016

Update for Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Iraqi Joint Operations Command says Iraqi forces have entered the city of Mosul in the Judaidat Al-Mufti area on the southeast of the city. Elsewhere, however, coalition forces are still some distance from the city, particularly to the south and west.

French artillery units in Qayyara are backing up the operation alongside U.S. artillery.

Iraqi special forces capture the television station in Mosul

Turkey has sent an armored brigade to the Iraqi border, saying only that it wants to be prepared for eventualities. [Most likely the intention is to warn Shiite militias against harming the largely Turkic population of Tal Afar.]

Vox details the IS tactic of setting ablaze oil wells, factories, and other sources of toxic smoke which has created an environmental catastrophe.