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, January 24, 2018

Update for Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction reports that the U.S. military has shown little interest in addressing widespread sexual abuse of children by Afghan forces that the U.S. trains and equips. Excerpt:

“The full extent of child sexual assault committed by Afghan security forces may never be known,” the report from Sigar said. But two-thirds of the individuals and organisations interviewed for the recently declassified report said they were aware of “child sexual assault incidents or related exploitation by Afghan security forces”, the watchdog said.
Full report available here. (PDF)

Gunmen storm the Save the Children office in Jalalabad, killing 3 and injuring 25. The attackers are killed in a 10 hour battle.

U.S. deploys a dozen A-10s to Afghanistan to provide close air support and attack narcotics facilities. "Along with the Thunderbolt squadron, additional aircraft will be moved to Kandahar Airfield, including MQ-9 Reapers that provide armed over-watch and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance of the battlefield, and HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters, to conduct personnel recovery and search and rescue."

Suicide bomber attacks a Shia mosque in Ghor, killing 10 and injuring 20.

Four police and six Taliban killed in a firefight in Ghazni.

State Dept. confirms that U.S. citizens were killed in attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Saturday, but does not provide further information.