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

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Update for Wednesday, March 8, 2017


Three attackers dressed as physicians attack a military hospital in Kabul, killing 30 and injuring 50 before the assailants were killed by ANA commandos. Apparently a suicide bomber first blew open a gate allowing the other attackers to enter. The hospital is in a secure, gated area of the capital. Another version has four attackers entering the hospital, two of them wearing suicide vests. IS claimed responsibility.

The Pakistan - Afghanistan border was closed for several days at Torkham and Chaman after Pakistan claimed that a bombing in Sehwan that killed 80 people originated in Afghanistan. It has been temporarily reopened to allow stranded people to pass. [That's rich since Pakistan openly harbors the Afghan Taliban. -- C]

IRAQ

The assault on Mosul seems to be proceeding as planned, with Iraqi forces gaining control of the main government complex in the city along with the central bank and museum. However, the buildings were not currently in use by IS.

Iraqi forces also claim control of some additional residential areas in the city.

However, resistance continues and Iraqi forces are facing counterattacks.

Civilians describe huddling in their homes amid the fighting. A photo album from SBS shows the destruction and displaced civilians, of whom there are now about 40,000.

At the same time, thousands of previously displaced people are returning to eastern Mosul, but hundreds of thousands are still displaced.

PM Abadi will visit the White House this month, now that the U.S. administration has removed Iraq from its travel ban.