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

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Update for Thursday, July 12, 2018

U.S. service member killed in combat in eastern Afghanistan. An Afghan soldier was also killed in the operation. Meanwhile the soldier killed by an insider attack in Uruzgan on Saturday is identified as Army Cpl. Joseph Maciel of 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment.

Taliban offensive in Kunduz kills at least 31 Afghan troops. Number of Taliban casualties is unclear, but a military spokesman says 50 were "killed or wounded," without explaining how he knows this.

Taliban attack in Farah results in numerous government casualties, with the number of dead reported as either 4 or 7, and a claim that 15 police were captured.

NATO extends funding for Afghan operation to 2024.

Three Afghan national police killed, claim of 15 militants killed in fighting in Ghazni.

Protests in support of exiled warlord Dostum continue with blockage of highways.

Syed Zafar Mehdi thinks the U.S. effort in Afganistan is a failure. Gee, what could possibly make him think that? Pull quote:

So what has the US achieved in Afghanistan in past 17 years? Americans are told by their government that the ‘wasted effort’ in Afghanistan is to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven for terrorist groups that seek to attack the US. That argument holds no water. It’s called paranoia.
Pompeo, who was on his first visit to Afghanistan since taking up the new job, perhaps needs a reality check. The security has deteriorated alarmingly, civilian casualties have jumped alarmingly, the cultivation and smuggling of narcotics has increased, corruption has touched new high, and the fledgling government in Kabul that was formed through a deal brokered by Washington continues to be beset with numerous problems. This is the legacy of America in Afghanistan.

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