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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis just landed in Afghanistan and was greeted by a volley of mortar fire at the airport (FOX, CBS, RT, in, CNN).  Granted, the attack came late and, even had it come on time, probably would have failed to down the plane on which he arrived.  What I find telling, though–and absent from the news reports–is any discussion of how the Taliban knew that Mattis was on the plane.  It seems to me that’s the kind of information one would keep from one’s enemy–if one could.

I know this is just a trip by SecDef Mattis, but it causes me to think about Afghanistan again and wonder how things are going over there.  They seem to be going like this (NYT)…


…which makes me wonder what exactly the U.S. administration hopes to gain by continuing this losing war, other than having an excuse to train its troops and buy and test weapons.  I also find it interesting that media sources seem to all use maps like this generated by the Institute for the Study of War , which seems to be a fairly gung-ho proponent of military expansion.  If this is the map we’re getting from the folks trying to sell the war, how much worse is the real situation on the ground?


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