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, June 11, 2017

Update for Sunday, June 11, 2017

A third U.S. soldier has died of his injuries after an attack by an Afghan soldier in Achin, Nangarhar.

The U.S. president has yet to speak with his commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan after five months in office, delegating all responsibility to the SecDef, including setting troop levels. This has caused problems including embarrassing miscommunication with the public. Also:

Another incident, according to, that saw Trump's approach questioned was when he refused to take any of the blame for the death of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer William Ryan Owens. Owens was killed during a botched raid in Yemen on January 29 - along with more than a dozen civilians, including women and children. . . .

In the wake of the death, Bill Owens - the soldier's father - told The Miami Herald that he refused to meet with the president and his daughter Ivanka when they both came to Dover Air Force Base to receive the casket carrying his son. 'I'm sorry, I don't want to see him,' Owens recalled telling the chaplain of Trump. 'I told them I don't want to meet the President.'. . . 'Why at this time did there have to be this stupid mission when it wasn't even barely a week into his administration? Why?

'For two years prior, there were no boots on the ground in Yemen — everything was missiles and drones — because there was not a target worth one American life. 'Now, all of a sudden we had to make this grand display?' The upset father, who is also a military veteran, shared that he was also troubled by the attack Trump leveled at Khizr and Ghazala Kahn, an American Muslim family whose Army officer son died in Iraq in 2004.
In Iraqairstrike by U.S.-led coalition on a house in Mosul occupied by 20 civilians who are left buried in the rubble. No information on survivors. Witnesses claim numerous civilians casualties recently as the assault on the old city continues.

The UN says that 50-80 civilians died in air strikes on May 31. "Heavy ordnance, such as 227 kilogramme air-delivered bombs, are causing excessive and disproportionate damage to civilian life and property, organisations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict warned in a report published on Thursday. The groups said the use of such weaponry — and the bombing of densely populated areas where civilians are used as human shields — could amount to war crimes."  The number of civilian casualties attributed to IS is larger.