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

Monday, January 9, 2017

Update for Monday, January 9, 2017

U.S. to deploy 300 marines to Helmand province to support Afghan security forces. This is the first marine deployment to Helmand since 2014. Brigadier Gen. Roger Turner says they will replace a U.S. army unit currently in the province.

Meanwhile, NATO is sending 200 mainly Italian soldiers to Farah province for what is said to be a short-term mission.

Four Afghan security personnel killed in an attack in Zabul.

Four police killed in an explosion in Badakhshan.


Security forces claim capture of a Taliban base in Nemroz province.

The U.S. president elect has said little about Afghanistan, but an Obama administration state department official visited Kabul to assure "continued support" for the government. Obviously he cannot in fact guarantee this. We'll have to see what happens.

IRAQ

 An analysis by Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy concludes that Iraqi forces are close to securing eastern Mosul, but will have to regroup before undertaking a difficult operation to take the west side of the city.

Writers in Foreign Affairs expect IS to revert to a guerilla insurgency once they lose territorial control.

Current number of civilians displaced from Mosul is said to be 169,000  based on a government count. While some people have returned home in Anbar, 22,000 remain in refugee camps there.

IS bomb attacks continue in Baghdad with 23 people killed on Sunday.












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