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, December 9, 2016

Update for Friday, December 9, 2016

There are multiple claims that an air strike by Iraqi forces on the town of Qaim killed about 60 civilians on Wednesday. The Iraqi military denies this, saying all the dead were foreign IS fighters.

Human Rights Watch calls for investigation of U.S. air strike on a Mosul hospital on Dec. 6. The U.S. says it is "reviewing" the incident but does not pledge an investigation. Air Force Col. John Dorrian tells reporters that "The coalition has 'not seen any indications at this point that civilians were harmed in the strike', but conceded it is 'very difficult to ascertain with full and total fidelity' whether civilians were killed in the strike."

Kurdistan official Masrour Barzani visits Washington DC, meets VP Joe Biden and Senators.

A U.S. official, speaking anonymously, claims U.S. and coalition air strikes have killed 50,000 IS fighters.

Cold weather has increased the suffering of 90,000 people displaced by the Mosul battle.

Iraqi forces retreat from Salaam hospital in Mosul in the face of a counterattack.


A soldier injured in the attack at Bagram on Nov. 12 has died of his injuries. Sgt. First Class Allan E. Brown, 46, of Takoma Park, Maryland,died Dec. 6 at Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, of injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device in Bagram, Afghanistan, that occurred on Nov. 12. He was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter visits Afghanistan.