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

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Update for Saturday, January 27, 2018

The reported death toll has steadily risen and now stands at 63 following a truck bombing using an ambulance in Kabul. The attack occurred at 1:00 pm in Sedarat Square. The Taliban have claimed responsibility.

Update: The official death toll has now risen to 103, with 235 injured. The Taliban have said the action was in response to the new, more aggressive military posture of the U.S.

This has driven most other news off of the page, but a car bomb attack on a security post in Helmand has killed and wounded "many" Afghan soldiers.

Afghan army claims to have killed or wounded 34 IS militants in Nangarhar in air and ground operations.

Wesley Morgan in Politico describes the army's new "Security Assistance Force Brigade" strategy to "win" the war in Afghanistan.

“Any idea that these teams are going to come in and radically change things is a huge overexpectation,” said David Sedney, a former State Department and senior Pentagon official with long experience in Afghanistan who knows Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and supports the effort in theory.
He added: “I think they will make a difference, but what degree of difference — that we won’t know for several years, which is the time frame it takes with an institution as fragile and flawed as the Afghan National Army, which we partially trained, partially abandoned and are now coming back to.”

Suicide bomb attack in Kandarhar kills 2 police and 2 civilians, injures 10 people.

Tampa Bay Times editorial indicates that corporate media are finally starting to question the continued flailing in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon has said that the additional U.S. firepower could enable the Afghan government to take control of 80 percent of the country in the next two years, up from 65 percent today. That’s an ambitious goal and timetable, given the Taliban’s military and political reach, the fundamental problems of endemic corruption and incompetence in the Afghan government, and the sclerotic pace of democratic reform and social justice in the country. The Trump administration has also aggravated tensions with Washington’s nominal ally in the region, Pakistan, over Pakistan’s refusal to rein in Taliban fighters along the border and to cut the group’s access to intelligence and foreign financial aid.
The White House has left the military strategy in military hands, but it’s time the president explained how the additional troops will provide a turnaround in this military mission. There is no reason to believe a game-changing strategy is at hand, or that the Afghan government is prepared to take the next step by laying the foundation for peace. Any new deployment must have a chance of ending the stalemate and pushing all sides toward national reconciliation. There’s no use in merely prolonging the status quo.

1 comments:

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