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, August 31, 2017

Update for Thursday, August 31, 2017

Iraqi PM Abadi declares victory over IS in Tal Afar and all of Nineveh province as Iraqi forces gain control of the town of al-’Ayadiya, to which the last resistance had retreated. However, fighting continues. (Remember that fighting continued for a couple of weeks after Abadi declared victory in Mosul.)

U.S. bombs a road in Syria to stop an IS convoy moving toward the Iraqi border from Lebanon. The convoy was transporting IS members who had been trapped near the Syria-Lebanon border and were being allowed to move to Deir al-Zour Province under an agreement among the Lebanese and Syrian governments and Hezbollah. However, the Iraqi and U.S. governments do not accept the agreement.

In Afghanistan, the DoD admits there are actually 11,000 U.S. troops, rather than the 8,400 previously reported. This does not include the additional troops being sent under the new "strategy," which consists of sending more troops to do something unspecified.


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