The death of six British servicemen, pushing British deaths in Afghanistan over 400, is a sober reminder that the Helmand campaign is still far from over. Leaders, both military and civilian, still have to overcome serious challenges if there is to be a peaceful transition in 2014.
For all intents and purposes, Daesh has been defeated in Iraq and Syria, but key leaders and administrators of the short-lived Islamic State will not simply vanish from the global jihadist environment. They have their eyes set on Afghanistan, and intend to give the Taliban a run for their money.
As the longest war in US history rumbles on, Moscow looks at the Afghanistan conflict with interest. Allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the country, particularly its aid to the Taliban, raise questions over Russia’s geopolitical interests in Afghanistan, with the Kremlin’s mixed strategy reflecting how it is also precariously balanced.