Mujib Mashal and Eric Scmitt in the NYT offer a grim overview of the situation in Afghanistan. As readers know, we do not get a reliable daily accounting of casualties among the Afghan security forces, but they report 30 to 50 deaths per day, with the Afghan government controlling only 60% of the country, the Taliban 10%, and 30% contested. Various militants groups other than the Taliban are active in the country. Given the vague and inconsistent pronouncements by the U.S. president elect on Afghanistan, it remains to be seen what the U.S. will do in 2017 but we have to note that the generals he has selected for his national security team, including Secretary of Defense, are likely to be quite hawkish. Stay tuned.
Taliban wearing police uniforms kill 5 Afghan soldiers and injure 3 in southern Kandahar.
Twenty three civilians, six police, and 29 militants said to be killed in fighting in Kandahar province.
Militants targeting a civilian residence kill 4 children in Herat. No further explanation.
Iraqi commanders considered changing strategy to encourage civilians to flee Mosul but decided against it because of fears of massacres by IS and lack of resources to absorb refugees. The debate took place amid fear of a lengthy war of attrition.
U.S. military says Iraqi forces now hold 20% of Mosul, and IS on the eastern side of the Tigris is isolated.
Dominance of Shiite militias near Tal Afar raises concern of sectarian conflict once IS is defeated.
Iraqis are now battling 19 oil well fires near Qayyara.