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

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Update for Tuesday, August 29, 2017

After making rapid advances and seizing much of Tal Afar, Iraqi government and allied forces are now facing stiff resistance in Ayadhiya, to which IS forces retreated.

Provincial councilors in Kirkuk vote to take part in the Kurdistan independence referendum, in a session boycotted by Arab and Turkmen members. The Turkish foreign ministry condemns the vote.

After SecDef Mattis visits Erbil, the pentagon has little to say about the trip. Kurdistan24 believes the U.S. will not oppose the independence referendum but provides no real evidence. (The lack of a functioning State Department makes it difficult for anyone to know. -- C)

In Afghanistan, a suicide bombing at a bank branch near the U.S. embassy kills 5 and injures 9.

An airstrike in Herat is said to kill 13 civilians along with targeted Taliban. It appears this was likely conducted by Afghan forces, though that is not confirmed. TOLO, however, says 16 civilians were killed and that the attackers were "foreign forces."

Suicide attack on Afghan forces in Helmand on Sunday kills 13.