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, October 25, 2017

Update for Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This is being spun in various ways, but the Kurdish Regional Government offers to "freeze" the independence referendum, asks for cessation of military operations, and asks for talks with Baghdad.

However, Baghdad and allied militias continue to move on additional territory.

Iraqi casualties in clashes with Kurdish forces near Mosul.

Iran re-opens its border with Kurdistan, apparently in response to the "freeze" announcement.

PM Abadi is in Ankara for talks about the Kurdistan situation. Turkish president President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offers to help rebuild a pipeline that runs near Mosul, that will allow Baghdad to export oil to Turkey while bypassing Kurdistan.

Some 30,000 Kurds have been displaced from Tuz Kurmatu. International aid agencies say Kurdish properties in the city have been looted and burned. Displaced people are staying in the open or sheltering in mosques and schools.

Kurdish sources accuse militias of looting government offices in Sinjar.

Meanwhile, Iraq prepares for a final assault on IS holdouts near the Syrian border.

KRG parliament delays elections for 8 months.