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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Update for Sunday, March 19, 2017

Afghanistan

 Three U.S. soldiers wounded by an Afghan soldier at a base in Helmand. No further details as of now.

Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce says Pakistan has lost $3 billion in exports due to the Torkham border crossing. While they give no basis for the calculation certainly the action is costly.

Hundreds of schools around the country are closed due to security concerns. Bhaktar puts the count at over 1,000.

Iraq

 Civilian toll of death and wounded in battle for west Mosul now more than 750.

Civilians continue to flee. More  than 100,00 displaced since start of assault on west Mosul, more than 225,000 altogether since Mosul battle began.

The anniversary is being largely ignored here in the U.S., but 24 years ago today George W. Bush announced the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, saying “Helping Iraqis achieve a united, stable and free country will require our sustained commitment.” No comment.

Reuters reports on slow progress by Iraqi forces seizing territory in Mosul. They are close to the symbolically important al-Nuri Mosque. Commanders claim IS forces are weakening.




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