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, December 12, 2017

Update for Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Under auspices of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Iraqi leaders participate in a two day conference to prepare for national reconciliation.

However, they have a long way to go. A mortar attack in Tuz Khurmato from Kurdish controlled hills kills two people and injures 20. Shiite militias plan to attack Kurdish forces in the region. (These appear to be splinter groups, not affiliated with the major Kurdish parties.) Meanwhile, Kurds accuse the militias of indiscriminate shelling of Kurdish villages.

While Muqtada al-Sadr has called for his own militia to disarm, other Shiite militias are not.

Turkish, Iraqi and U.S. military leaders will meet to discuss security issues.

A question is what exactly U.S. forces are still doing in Iraq now that IS has been defeated. The administration omitted the number of troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria from its semi-annual report to congress. So U.S. taxpayers don't even get to know how many are there, let alone why.

Funeral for army corporal Todd McGurn who died in Iraq on November 25. The incident has not been publicly explained.