- Six American troops were killed in suicide attack just outside the NATO base at Bagram, near Kabul. The perp was most probably a Haqqani Network operative. The Pentagon is shocked.
- Three explosions shook the Wazir Akbar Khan district of Kabul, near key ministries, embassies and residences. ... one of the missiles hit Massoud Square, adjacent to the well-fortified US embassy, and another landed in Shirpur Square, close to the sprawling presidential complex. A third rocket detonated further away from the heart of the city.
- Afghan officials confirmed that the Taliban overran the Sangin district center [in Helmand Province] and seized control of all of its administrative buildings and the police headquarters over the past 24 hours, Pajhwok Afghan News reported. ... A member of Afghanistan’s parliament told the news agency that all police and military bases in Sangin are now under the Taliban’s control. Long War Journal also reports today that Taliban had targeted the strategic district of Sangin for takeover since mid-2014 and now controls or contests nearly all of Helmand.
- Afghan peace talks may restart within weeks – Pakistan:
Pakistan-brokered peace talks between Afghanistan and Taliban insurgents could restart in early January, Reuters reported, citing officials in Islamabad and Kabul.
The head of Pakistan’s army, General Raheel Sharif, is expected in Afghanistan this week, the latest in a series of high-level contacts aimed at restarting the peace process which was broken off in July. The resumption of talks should take “not longer than two weeks. "I would say the first week of January we will see the process restart,” said a senior Pakistani official.
- Foreign Policy magazine reports today on the $10 billion TAPI project. The Afghanistan Land Bridge is Finally Here:
One of the world’s most quixotic energy projects finally kicked off this month, with the formal groundbreaking of the so-called TAPI pipeline meant to tap into the gas fields of Turkmenistan, snake across Afghanistan and Pakistan, and end up fueling thirsty markets in India. ...All righty, that's the day's big news about Afghanistan. Now let's look at maps. The first one shows the country's provinces. Pay special attention to the southern provinces. (Quandahar = Kandahar) The second one shows the route of TAPI.
What does it all add up to? My guess would be that Al Saud has told Gen. Sharif, 'You have 15 minutes left to get control of Afghanistan for us or we'll do it using Islamic State.'