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, May 31, 2017

Update for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Huge truck bomb explosion in Kabul's diplomatic district kills 80 people and wounds hundreds. The death toll is expected to rise. The explosion happened close to the German embassy, but it is not clear what the intended target was, or if there was a more specific target. No credible claim of responsibility as yet.

There is a report from a Lebanese television station that IS has claimed responsibility, but it is too soon to  evaluate this.

Taliban deny involvement and condemn the attack.

New York Times covers the emergency response and also says Afghan intelligence blames the Haqqani Network, which is a Taliban faction. (It is not clear what their motive would be, however. -- C)

The Turkish embassy was also nearby. Turkey says it will evacuate some diplomatic personnel from the country.

Egyptian embassy also damaged.

Afghan security personnel at the German embassy among the dead.

Bombings in Iraq as well:

 Suicide bomb in Heet (also spelled Hit) kills 17.

Two bombings in Baghdad, one at an ice cream parlor, kill a total of 31. Among the dead was a 12 year old Australian girl who was in the city to visit her grandfather.

Air strikes by Iraqi forces in Mosul continue to kill civilians by the dozens.

This certainly clarifies the situation. Iranian backed Iraqi militia proposes entering Syria to support Assad regime.

So, the U.S. is increasing its arms shipments to allied forces on the Syrian side of the border to block them. What could possibly go wrong?