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

Monday, July 30, 2018

Update for Monday, July 30, 2018

The U.S. has been talking with the Taliban. There are a few takes on this.

Afghan president Ghani has been trying to get the Taliban to the table, but they have insisted on talking with the U.S. first. Deutsche Well suggests that the U.S. overture threatens to undermine the Afghan government.

Apparently the outreach is a result of frustration by the U.S. president  over the seemingly endless war. However Afghan officials are worried that the U.S. could be too eager for a settlement at a time when the Taliban are in a strong military position, holding considerable rural territory.

Indeed, the U.S. has called for a retreat from remote areas, which has gained some support from within the Afghan government but also has engendered much controversy.

Jessica Purkiss and Abigail Fielding-Smith describe the descent into chaos in Nangarhar,  where civilian casualties have doubled since a year ago, many of them the result of government action.

An editorial in the Afghan Times describes the current state of despair over the endless war.

Civilians describe forced marriages and rape by IS, particularly in Darzab in Jawzjan province.