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, November 21, 2017

Update for Tuesday, November 21, 2017

U.S. State Department officials formally accuse Secretary of State Tillerson of violating U.S. law by excluding Iraq and Afghanistan (along with Myanmar) from a list of countries that conscript child soldiers. According to Reuters:

Keeping the countries off the annual list makes it easier to provide them with U.S. military assistance. Iraq and Afghanistan are close allies in the fight against Islamist militants, while Myanmar is an emerging ally to offset China’s influence in Southeast Asia.

Documents reviewed by Reuters also show Tillerson’s decision was at odds with a unanimous recommendation by the heads of the State Department’s regional bureaus overseeing embassies in the Middle East and Asia, the U.S. envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the department’s human rights office and its own in-house lawyers.
U.S. more than triples the rate of bombing in Afghanistan, with  653 munitions delivered by airstrikes in October 2017 compared to 203 in October 2016. Of course strikes against IS in Iraq and Syria are down as that group is largely defeated.

Suicide bombing at a food market in Tuz Khurmatu kills 21 and injures 60. The town was recently recaptured from IS, which is being blamed for this attack. It is ethnically mixed, and was in dispute between the Baghdad government and Kurdistan. (The BBC report is not quite accurate in stating that Iraqi forces "retook" it from peshmerga. In fact as Amnesty International reports, "Tuz Khurmatu was under the joint control of the Kurdistan Regional Government forces, the Population Mobilization Units (PMU) and local police, until Iraqi government forces supported by factions of the PMU took control of the city on 16 October." When government forces took the city, Kurdish neighborhoods were looted and burned.  -- C)

Iranian president and military leadership say IS has been defeated.

Friend of the blog Chet draws our attention to the U.S. military buildup in Somalia where U.S. forces have more than doubled to over 500. Note that all of this military activity (remember Niger?) is taking place with no public debate, or even awareness.


Dancewater said...

Long article on a major investigation by the NYT on US bombs dropped in Iraq and the massive number of civilians being killed:

Read more from our investigation into coalition air strikes in Iraq in “The Uncounted” in the NYT Magazine:

Dancewater said...

Ghaith Abdul-Ahad wrote a long article on what fighting ISIS in Mosul is like, and on how brutal every he encounters is - after 14+ years of war and occupation. Remember Ghaith? He was one of the three architects in Baghdad who started blogging just before the USA war of aggression and invasion of Iraq. Raed was another one of those blogs - he is now in the USA and working for Amnesty International. Ghaith is a journalist, and I don't know what happened to Salam Pax.

here is a link to Ghaith's article: