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, March 9, 2017

Update for Thursday, March 9, 2017

Iraqi and U.S. intelligence officials say IS leader Baghdadi has left Mosul and is hiding in the desert, although they offer no direct evidence for this.

Suicide bomb attack on a wedding near Tikrit kills 26. While there is as yet no claim of responsibility, the wedding party consisted of displaced people from an Anbar tribe which has opposed IS.

Tom Westcott for IRIN describes the plight of civilians fleeing Mosul.

Unveiling of British memorial for Iraq and Afghanistan dead provokes fury over Tony Blair's presence. [I wonder what will happen if GW Bush attends such an event in the U.S.? Actually I expect it will be a very long time before we see any official memorial.-- C]

Afghanistan 
 
Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Joseph Votel testifies before Senate Armed Services Committee saying he believes more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan to break the "stalemate."

Border crossings with Pakistan are again closed, indefinitely.

Death toll in attack on Kabul hospital now stands at more than 40. IS claim of responsibility is doubted.



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