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, January 12, 2017

Update for Thursday, January 12, 2017

U.S. military investigation concludes that 33 civilians were killed and 27 wounded in a joint U.S. and Afghan operation near Kunduz in November, but that the troops killed the civilians in "self  defense" and no disciplinary action will be taken. [You'll have to figure out what that means, I can't tell you. -- C] Two U.S. soldiers were killed in the incident.

Bombing in Kandahar on Tuesday kills 12 people and injures the provincial governor and ambassador from the United Arab Emirates. The deputy governor was among the dead, as were 5 UAE diplomats. The police chief blames the Haqqani network and Pakistani intelligence.

A bombing in Kabul the same day kills 36 employees of the parliament along with 4 police.

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction warns of a dire situation.

Underlying the country’s many challenges were two main factors: the “questionable capabilities” of the country’s security forces and “pervasive corruption.”
The government forces, Sopko said, are plagued by poor leadership, which leads some officers to bolster their ranks with “ghost soldiers” whose salaries they pocket; others sell equipment and fuel to the Taliban.
In speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Sopko quoted former Afghanistan NATO chief Gen. John Allen as saying that “corruption — not the Taliban — (is) the existential threat to Afghanistan.” Sopko noted that Transparency International had ranked Afghanistan the third-most corrupt nation in the world.

Taliban release a video of U.S. and Australian professors kidnapped 5 months ago.









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