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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Update for Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016


A humanitarian catastrophe looms in Mosul where nearly half a million people are without water, food is running short, and mortar and gunfire continue to claim civilian lives.

Iraqi forces continue to make slow gains in the city but rain has slowed progress while IS counterattack occurs southeast of the city.

Drone footage shows the devastation caused by burning oil wells near Quyyara. Here is a discussion of the damage. (Although I'm not sure it's fair to blame the Iraqi government for not having put out the fires as of yet.)

Commentary on the difficulties posed by the Shiite militias. This is a long-form analysis presenting some of the relevant history. Mixed opinions about the effect of the recent move to legitimize them and integrate them into the armed forces.

Reports of IS atrocities against civilians in areas they control continue. Here is an individual account.






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