Sunday, December 10, 2017

Holiday Break from Posting & Newsletter


The holiday season is upon us and the Afghan War Blog will be taking a break from posting articles on its blog and sending out the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter. Holidays, vacation, travel, social activities, work, and other writing projects will put a strain on time over the next month. It is hard to do everything 'well' when there are competing requirements for time; so sometimes it is prudent to do less. We will regroup after the holidays and resume posting articles and sending out the newsletter in mid-January.


Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E) Mission in Afghanistan

Australian advisor with his Afghan counterpart

Training for Child Sex Abuse in Afghanistan. US troops will soon be receiving training on how to report child sex abuse by Afghan army and police. General Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support Mission, recently stated that there is a new policy that sets out procedures for monitoring and reporting violations by any security personnel suspected of child abuse. The media has reported for several years on cases of bacha bazi or 'boy play' by Afghan security personnel. See "US Troops to be Trained on Reporting Child Sex Abuse by Afghans", Military.com, December 3, 2017.

40th ID Trains Up for Deployment. California guardsmen will soon deploy to TAAC-South but first they have some training to do to get ready . . . by training with French troops in lovely Bydgoszcz, Poland. (Stars and Stripes, Dec 8, 2017).

45th BCT Trains Up for Deployment. Members of the Oklahoma Army National Guard are heading overseas soon to take part in the NATO train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan. But first the must finish their training at Fort Bliss, Texas. Hmmm. Bydgozcz or Bliss. Been to both. I'll take Bydgozcz! (DVIDS, Dec 7, 2017).

Military Advisor Training Academy - MATA. The U.S. Army has established a new school for training advisors who will conduct security force assistance missions. Read about the new MATA.
www.sof.news/sfa/mata-military-advisor-training-academy

Assessing Soldiers for Advisor Training. The Army is standing up six Security Force Assistance Brigades or SFABs. The 1st SFAB is due to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018 to field advisor teams for the Afghan National Army. Currently the Army has an assessment process for officers and NCOs seeking to join the SFABs. Read more in 1st SFAB Assesses Candidates, by Sgt. Arjenis Nunuz, Army.mil, November 3, 2017 and The Army's New Advisory Units Don't Need The Best Officers, They Need the Right Ones, by Rick Montcalm, Modern War Institute, December 7, 2017.

1st SFAB "Kandak Enabler MOSs". A posting by 1st SFAB on their Facebook recruiting page on December 7, 2017 provided a listing of SFAB Military Occupational Specialties (MOSs) required for its brigade staff and advisory teams.

Another SFAB. The Army announced that the second of six SFABs will be established in January 2018. It will be based on Fort Bragg, North Carolina. See "Army announces activation of second Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg", Army.mil, December 8, 2017.

NCO Journal Article on SFABs. Learn more about the SFABs in this recent article. (NCO Journal, 8 December 2017).

Combat Advising - Doesn't Get Old. A 1st Sgt with the newly-formed 1st SFAB provides his perspective on the upcoming advisory mission his unit will perform in Afghanistan. A veteran of  advisory tours in Afghanistan and Iraq he knows what the job will entail. Read "Combat Advising Never Gets Old for this 1st SFAB Infantryman", DVIDS, November 6, 2017.

Read more about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade - SFAB.

Read recent news reports about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade - SFAB.


Bibliography for Resolute Support Advisors in Afghanistan



The Annotated Bibliography for Resolute Support has been updated and posted. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission ended on 31 December 2014 and the NATO Resolute Support Mission (RSM) began on 1 January 2015. The Resolute Support Mission is primarily Security Force Assistance (SFA) along functional areas at the ministry, institutional, and ANA corps level. Some advisory teams are working at the brigade and kandak level.

The bibliography will be very helpful for advisors at all levels in Afghanistan as well as staff members of the RS mission. It has links to hundreds of documents, papers, publications, and websites about advising, the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, and Afghanistan. The bibliography is updated periodically and the date of revision is posted on the first page. The publication is an Adobe Acrobat PDF, is more than 200 pages long, and is less than 3 MBs big. You can read online or download at the link below. Updated on 8 Dec 2017.

www.afghanwarnews.info/pubs/RSM-Bibliography.htm


Afghanistan Ministry of Defense's Child Protection Policy


The Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan has signed and put into force a Child Protection Policy. The initiative codifies a number of measures to provide for protection for children - including preventing the use of violence against children by personnel in the Afghan National Army and the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The policy establishes a system for the monitoring, reporting, and investigating of violations by MoD personnel.

NATO's Resolute Support mission is also taking some steps to improve its monitoring and reporting system for instances of child abuse by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Pre-deployment training and in-theater training of personnel has improved on the topic of child abuse in Afghanistan perpetrated by members of the ANDSF. Training is also taking place for many of the NATO officers and NCOs that are deploying to Afghanistan as advisors at the NATO Joint Force Training Centre (JFTC) in Bydgoszcz, Poland. Personnel who are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan can also access an online NATO-distributed learning course on Children and Armed Conflict - developed with the support of the United Nations in New York.

A big driver for the adoption of improved reporting procedures by Resolute Support are the numerous reports of sexual child abuse by the ANDSF that has gotten the attention of Congressional leaders in Washington. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) and the Department of Defense Inspector General's office have released reports in 2017 on the topic. The instances of 'boy play' or bachi bazi by members of the ANDSF has captured the attention of human rights activists and other critics and observers of the Afghan conflict. This has prompted questions about Resolute Supports reporting history when military personnel have witnessed or come across evidence of instances of bachi bazi.

Read "Resolute Support's Role in Helping to Protect Children in Armed Conflict", Resolute Support HQs, December 5, 2017.


Commentary on Afghanistan


"The Nation State and Afghanistan". Paolo Cotta Ramusino, a professor at the University of Milan (Italy) presented the contents of this article at the Herat Security Dialogue held in October 2017 in Herat, Afghanistan. Italy, of course, is the lead framework nation for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - West (TAAC West). Read "The Nation State and Afghanistan", Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, November 20, 2017.

Afghanistan affects Maritime Security. M. Ashraf Haidari, the director-general of policy and strategy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, provides a framework for understanding how a land-locked country like Afghanistan can affect the greater security and stability of the maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region. Read "Afghanistan's Stabilization Can Ensure Maritime Security", The National Interest, November 19, 2017.


Glossary for Afghan War & Resolute Support


In every military there is a huge amount of terms, acronyms, phrases, and words that are unrecognizable to the non-military members of society. To a newly deployed member of the military assigned to Afghanistan - the slang, abbreviations, and definitions used in theater can be perplexing as well. It takes a while to learn the lingo. For instance many newcomers confuse the terms Afghan and Afghani. To help out Afghan War News has compiled an online glossary.

www.afghanwarnews.info/glossary/afghanglossary.htm


Mobile Strike Kandak (MSK) of ANASOC



The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) intends to create seven additional Mobile Strike Kandaks (MSK) in the next four years. Camp Morehead, home of the Afghan Commando School, is really pushing the students through the Commando Course. It makes you wonder if SOF Truth #2 is being observed. A total of 1,056 Afghan soldiers graduated from the 21st Commando Qualification course on December 6, 2017. The majority of the CDOQC class were previously assigned to the same conventional Afghan National Army battalion (kandak). 650 of the recent graduates will go on to attend the Cobra Strike Mobility Course at Pul-e-Charkhi in early January. The first Commando MSK will graduate from the course in late April 2018 in time for the spring offensive against the Taliban. The transformation of traditional ANA kandaks into Commando MSKs will provide the regionally-aligned Special Operations Brigades an operational reach to pursue insurgents across rugged terrain in all weather conditions. Info from "Game-changing Commando class graduates", DVIDS, December 6, 2017.


Afghan War News Site Map - Great Resource



The Afghan War News Site Map lists all the web pages on the website - almost 300 pages. The pages are hyperlinked and are grouped by category and topic to help you find the information you need. The Site Map is an excellent resource for the researcher or Afghan hand that provides access to a variety of information. Major topics include the ANSF, maps, security, governance, development, IO, SFA, SFAB, history, and more.

www.afghanwarnews.info/sitemap.htm


Afghan Border Force (ABF)

Shoulder Patch of Afghan Border Police (ABP)

Elements of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) are moving from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The units of the ABP will now be called the Afghan Border Force (ABF). The change will allow the MoI's police to focus on rule of law and law enforcement duties at official border control points and airports. The MoD's Afghan Border Force will protect and secure the national border outside of the controlled border crossings. It's activities will include the interdiction of human trafficking, smuggling, insurgents, and other illegal activities. The transfer process began in early December 2017 and will continue in a phased approach through March 2018. Read more in "Responsibility for border security to shift from Interior Ministry to Defence", Resolute Support, December 4, 2017.


Governance and Politics in Afghanistan



IEC Decides to use Existing ID Cards. The Independent Election Commission (IEC) said the existing National Identity Card (Tazkera) would be used in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial council elections. Despite years of talking about issuing a national identity card it hasn't happened. There are doubts in the international community about whether the Afghans can pull an election off in mid-2018. (Arina News, Dec 6, 2018).

Warning on Elections. A former Jihadi leader and ex-member of parliament - Abdul Rab Rasool Sayyaf - is warning of a crisis if the parliamentary elections to be held in mid-2018 are not organized on time. (Khaama Press, Dec 7, 2017).

Parliament Rejects Female Cabinet Pick. The governor of Balkh province has voiced discontent with the rejection of the only female nomination for a cabinet position. The Minister-designate for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum was disapproved by the Afghan parliament. Some suggest it is because she is a women but others say it has to do with the vast corruption system that buys parliament member votes. (Khaama Press, Dec 7, 2017).

Eleven Ministers Receive Votes of Confidence. In a detailed article Thomas Ruttig provides the background to the recent approval of the cabinet ministers. Read "Afghanistan Has Now a Constitutional Cabinet: Eleven minister candidates received votes of confidence", Afghanistan Analysts Network, December 9, 2017.

Landlocked Location a Hindrance to Development? Most countries that are landlocked - having no coastline to access the world's oceans - are many times trapped in poverty. The Afghan government is working to turn the country's landlocked location into an asset. Read "Kabul's Plan to Realize Afghanistan's Geographic Dividend", The Diplomat, December 5, 2017.


Afghan Security News - Dec 10, 2017


NATO's SEL Visits GCPSU. The Command Senior Enlisted Leader for Allied Command Operations at NATO visited the Afghan General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) at Camp Lion. In addition, he attended the graduation of the 21st Commando Qualification Course at Camp Commando (Camp Morehead) just outside Kabul. (DVIDS, Dec 6, 2017).

Kandak Completes Operational Readiness Cycle (ORC) in Helmand. Afghan National Army soldiers with the 6th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps graduated from an operational readiness cycle at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan in early December 2017. The 350 members spent eight weeks developing their infantry skills at both the individual and collective level at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). U.S. Marine advisors from Task Force Southwest assisted during the course - overseeing training events and providing guidance and recommendations. (DVIDS, Dec 3, 2017).

MCTF Investigator Killed. A member of the Major Crimes Task Force or MCTF was killed in October 2017. He was the fifth member of the 300-man MCTF to be killed in the last two years. Questions about the morale of the MCTF are being raised. (Los Angeles Times, Dec 6, 2017).

Erik Prince on Fixing Afghanistan. Former Navy SEAL and founder of Blackwater Erik Prince has a plan for Afghanistan. It involves a private military force and some minerals. (BuzzFeed,Dec 7, 2017).

Female Afghan Officers to Train in India. A group of 20 women army and air force officers will be trained at the Officer's Training Academy in Chennai, India. At any given time there are about 300 Afghan officers being trained in India. (The Times of India, Dec 6, 2017).

215th Corps Conducts Artillery Course. 1st Brigade, 215th Corp recently conducted (ending in December) an 8-week course on the D-30 122-mm Howitzer. The course provided formalized training on the ANA's primary ground fire support weapon. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest led the course - providing assistance in instruction to D-30 crewmen, forward observers, and fire direction center team members. (DVIDS, Dec 6, 2017).


Movies and Videos about Afghanistan


Afghan Air Force A-29 Take-off and Landing, DVIDS, December 4, 2017, (3 mins).
www.dvidshub.net/video/570408/afghan-air-force-29

Airstrikes on Taliban Narcotics Facilities, CENTCOM, Dec 7, 2017.
www.dvidshub.net/video/571359/us-navy-f-18-super-hornets . . .

Doubling the Afghan Commando Force, Resolute Support HQs, December 6, 2017.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=bX_Dkxu2SKk

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.


Afghan War News Snippets



Gender-Based Violence. In Afghanistan gender-based violence is pervasive but activists see a change in the wind. Read more by Tadamichi Yamamoto - "In Afghanistan, a Struggle to Leave No Woman or Child Behind", The Diplomat, December 4, 2017.

Glossary of Humanitarian Security Terms. The Humanitarian Security Forum has published an online reference point for terminology in conflict zones.
https://www.hsforum.org/glossary.html


Stay Informed about the Conflict in Afghanistan

You can receive the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter by email. It should arrive in your e-mail inbox at 0500 U.S. East coast time or just after lunch (1330) in Kabul every Sunday. It is easy to subscribe. To submit your subscription request go to www.afghanwarnews.blogspot.com and enter your email in the "Follow by Email" dialogue box at the top of the right hand column. The only info needed is your email. No personal data, no forms to fill out, and no passwords needed. You will receive a confirmation email asking you if you want to subscribe. Just confirm and you are done. It is also easy to unsubscribe. At the bottom of the newsletter click "unsubscribe" and you will be automatically unsubscribed.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter - December 3, 2017

Welcome to the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter. Articles are posted online on the blog and sent out via email newsletter on Sunday morning. We welcome comments, ideas for stories, contributions, and guest writers! Visit our website at www.afghanwarnews.info, follow us on Twitter at @AfghanWarBlog, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/afghan-war-news.


Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E) Mission Update


Photo - A member of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) takes part in a training exercise at Fort Benning, Georgia in preparation for a deployment to Afghanistan. (Photo by SPC Noelle E. Wiehe, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, October 23, 2017).

'Guardian Angels' from Australia. A member of the Royal Australian Regiment describes his job protecting advisors for the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in a post by the Australian Department of Defense, November 22, 2017.

Mentors at 'Sandhurst'. The ANA Officer Academy (ANA-)A) is located just outside Kabul. A British Army officer describes his job in this one-minute long video entitled "Mentoring at the Afghan Officers Academy", Resolute Support YouTube.com, November 24, 2017.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkzxc0vpfo0

Bacha Bazi. Two reports were completed in 2017 about the sexual exploitation of young boys by officers of the Afghan police and army by two investigative services of the U.S. government. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) completed one in mid-2017 but the Defense Department 'classified' the report. The Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) also conducted an investigation and published its report - this one unclassified. The Washington Post reports that the DoD IG's report was a watered-down version of the SIGAR report and less damaging to the Dod. Bacha Bazi - 'playing with boys' - is a fact of life in Afghanistan and more common than some realize. U.S. advisors with Afghan police and army units - especially at the lower levels of command - were confronted with the practice of Bachi Bazi - and put into a dilemma of how to navigate through the situation.

"Pentagon tried to block independent report on child sex among Afghan forces, Senate office says", The Washington Post, November 26, 2017.

Implementation of the DoD Leahy Law Regarding Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse by Members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, DoD IG, November 16, 2017.

TAAC-Air Trains Up Afghan UH-60 Pilots. The first six Afghan Air Force (AAF) pilots graduated from the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter transition program. The Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air (TAAC Air) advisors trained up the newly-qualified pilots in a course that was completed in late November. See "First Afghan UH-60 pilots graduate"DVIDS, November 20, 2017.


Air Campaign in Afghanistan a "Game Changer"?



455th AEW Plays Key Role. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing has been playing a key role in the combined operations against Taliban revenue streams in Helmand province. A large offensive mounted by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces was enabled by air support from the U.S. to interdict and destroy drug processing laboratories and associated targets. Read "455th AEW plays key role in new Taliban offensive"DVIDS, November 24, 2017.

Air Assets Shift to Afghanistan. With the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria winding down the U.S. is shifting air power to support combat operations in Afghanistan. Read "War in Afghanistan Heats Up as Fight Against ISIS Winds Down"DoD Buzz, November 27, 2017.

Air Power in Afghanistan Increases. Airstrikes in Afghanistan are at their highest since 2010. Over 600 airstrikes took place in October 2017. The last time the numbers were this high was in November 2010 with 866 airstrikes. "US Aircraft Return to Surge-Level Operations in Afghanistan"Air Force Magazine, November 21, 2017.

Air Campaign Considered Key Approach. The U.S. is banking a lot on the use of it's air power to stem the tide of the Taliban insurgency. The new approach with looser rules of engagement is considered a 'game changer'. Read "New air campaign in Afghanistan is test for Trump strategy in America's longest war"USA Today, December 1, 2017.

$50 Million of Narcotics Destroyed in Airstrikes? General Nicholson, RS Cdr, claims that the combined ground operations and airstrikes in Helmand province destroyed over $50 million in narcotics. He claims the drug trade is the Taliban's 'financial engine'. Narcotics production doubled in 2017. (VOA, Dec 2, 2017).

AMW Graduates More Crew Members. The Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) has more qualified crew members for its PC-12 and Mi-17 helicopters. (DVIDS, Nov 25, 2017).


Commentary on Afghanistan


"The Nation State and Afghanistan". Paolo Cotta Ramusino, a professor at the University of Milan (Italy) presented the contents of this article at the Herat Security Dialogue held in October 2017 in Herat, Afghanistan. Italy, of course, is the lead framework nation for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - West (TAAC West). Read "The Nation State and Afghanistan", Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, November 20, 2017.

"Turning the Corner". For years U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have used the phrases very similar to 'turning the corner' to describe how things are getting better in Afghanistan. And each year we found out that the corner is still some distance away. Read more in an essay by Paul McLeary entitled "U.S. Has 'Turned the Corner' in Afghanistan, Top General Says", Foreign Policy, November 28, 2017.

"The Great Game" Revisited. Shifting regional alliances, a change in Afghan governmental policy, Iran making up with the Taliban, and other factors have influenced the conflict in Afghanistan. The world and regional powers are still meddling in the affairs of Afghanistan. Read more in "World powers jostle in Afghanistan's new 'Great Game'", BBC News, January 12, 2017. (Old news, but still valid).

A Stalemate? One writer examines the conflict in Afghanistan and predicts that the ANDSF and Taliban will ramp up operations in the years ahead to break the stalemate. The Taliban will attempt to seize urban terrain while the ANDSF will conduct major operations to regain key territory in the countryside. But neither is likely to win. Read "The Battle for Advantage in Afghanistan", STRATFOR Worldview, November 29, 2017.

Pakistan - Key to Resolving the Conflict. Harsha Kakar, of the Observer Research Foundation (India), writes on the importance of Pakistan ceasing support to the Haqqani Network and the Afghan Taliban. "US Afghan Success Lies in Forcing Pakistan to Act Against Terrorists", Eurasia Review, December 2, 2017.

India, Afghanistan, and . . . the Taliban. Does India have a role in the Afghan conflict? To an extent it does . . . but in what form of participation? Can it contribute to an Afghan political reconciliation? Kabir Taneja, an Associate Fellow with the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, provides his thoughts in "India and the Afghan Taliban", The Diplomat, November 30, 2017.

NATO Stuck in Europe? A selection of experts weigh in on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Read "Is NATO Stuck in Afghanistan?", Carnegie Europe, November 15, 2017.

Gender Equality for ANDSF - A Wasted Effort. A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into implementing gender equality into the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. However, the targeted numbers have never been attained and the reality on the ground for those females in the security forces is far from perfect. Read more in "The Dangers of Forcing Gender Equality in Afghanistan", The New York Times, November 21, 2017.

Afghanistan affects Maritime Security. M. Ashraf Haidari, the director-general of policy and strategy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, provides a framework for understanding how a land-locked country like Afghanistan can affect the greater security and stability of the maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region. Read "Afghanistan's Stabilization Can Ensure Maritime Security", The National Interest, November 19, 2017.


Afghan SOF Conducting Key Operations and Training



ASSF Seize 1,000 lbs of Explosives. According to a NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) Afghan Special Security Forces seized over 1,000 pounds of homemade explosives during night raids in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in late November. (DVIDS, November 30, 2017).

ASSF Leads in Fight Against Insurgents. The Afghan special operations forces of the MoI and MoD are the bright spot in the Afghan campaign against the Taliban and other insurgent / terrorist groups. Read "Kabul Pins Its Hopes on Afghan Special Forces in Fight Against Insurgents", Gandhara Blog,  November 27, 2017.

NMU's Graduate New Members. The Afghan National Mission Units (NMU) of the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) has increased its membership with the graduation of almost 50 new operators from an 8-week specialized police course recently held in Logar province. (DVIDS, November 27, 2017).

ASSF to Double. The Afghan government plans to increase the size of the Afghan special operations units of the MoI and MoD over the next few years. According to President Ghani Afghan Commandos conduct operations throughout Afghanistan and have never lost a battle. (Khaama Press, Dec 1, 2017).

Afghan SMW Graduates More Crew Members. The Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) has more qualified crew members for its PC-12 and Mi-17 helicopters. (DVIDS, Nov 25, 2017).


Afghan Governance and Politics News



Mohaqiq Commends Fatimiyun Fighters. Iran has forced or induced Shia Afghans to fight in its Fatimiyun Brigade on behalf of the Syrian regime. Mohammad Mohaqiq, the deputy chief executive of Afghanistan, visited Tehran where he praised the Shia fighters in their 'victory' in Syria. See "Mohaqiq Commends Fatimiyun Fighters for Victory in Syria", Tolo News, November 25, 2017.

Gov Noor Travel Plans Disrupted. A flight to Kandahar by Ata Mohammad Noor and Batur Dostum (son of VP) were cancelled by aviation authorities. Noor has complained about government interference but . . . (Khaama Press, Dec 2, 2017).

Accusations Abound. President Ghani has answered some critics who claim that senior security officials in the Afghan government have ties to ISIS. Read "Ghani Slams Claims of Senior Officials' Links to Daesh", Tolo News, December 2, 2017.

12 Cabinet Nominees. MPs are due to hold a vote of confidence session for 12 new cabinet nominees submitted by the National Unity Government (NUG). (Tolo News, Nov 25, 2017).

Parliamentary Elections. Elections for parliament (and districts) are scheduled for July 2018 in Afghanistan. However many observers are calling for a study of the underlying structure of the electoral system and the system of electoral representation. Read more in "Afghan Parliamentary Elections: Huffing and Puffing, But Missing the Bigger Picture", The Diplomat, November 28, 2017.

Hezb-e Islami - Internal Differences. A former insurgent group that has been 'rehabilitated' and reintegrated into Afghan society and political life is suffering some internal friction. Read more in Thomas Ruttig's analysis in "A Matter of Registration: Factional tensions in Hezb-e Islami"Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 25, 2017.


Afghan Security News - Dec 3, 2017


Photo Credit: Shoulder patch of the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Herat province, Afghanistan. The training center was established so Afghan forces could practice advanced mountain warfare techniques and urban combat skills. The advanced training was developed by the Italian Alpine Troop, or Alpini (considered some of the best mountain warfare troops in the world). Photo from Resolute Support video published on November 27, 2017.

'Path to Win' in Afghanistan. The commander of Resolute Support, General John Nicholson, says that the new South Asia strategy and relaxed rules of engagement are providing a "path to a win" in Afghanistan. He states that the conditions-based (not time-based) strategy is the right approach. Read more in "South Asia Strategy Provides 'Path to Win' in Afghanistan, Commander Says", Department of Defense, November 28, 2017.

Females Graduate from Defense University. Over 300 officers graduated from the Marshal Fahim Defense University recently. 26 of them were female officers. Read "Female Officers Vow to Serve The Country", Tolo News, November 24, 2017.

Operation Maiwand 8 Concludes. The Afghan security forces successfully conducted a resupply mission over the course of November 18-21 to provide food,water, blankets, mattresses, and winter uniforms to security forces based in Marjah district. The operation, spanning days, involved numerous units across the spectrum of the ANDSF that delivered needed supplies for the district center to remained provisioned through the coming winter months. Read a glowing report on the effort in "Winter no longer a barrier to ANDSF operations in Maiwand", Resolute Support, December 2, 2017.

ASSF Seize 1,000 lbs of Explosives. According to a NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) Afghan Special Security Forces seized over 1,000 pounds of homemade explosives during night raids in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in late November. (DVIDS, November 30, 2017).

ISIS Deputy Joins Taliban. The Afghan Taliban claims that the deputy head of the Islamic State - Khorsan Province has parted ways with IS-KP and is now with the Taliban. (VOA, Nov 30, 2017).

ISIS in Jawzjan Province. The Islamic State seems to be gaining a foothold in northern Afghanistan. Read "Islamic State seizes new Afghan foothold after luring Taliban defectors", Reuters, December 1, 2017.

Pakistan and the Haqqani Network. General Nicholson has once again spoken out about Pakistan's support for the terrorist group operating from within Pakistan's borders. He says there is no change to the help provided by the Pakistani spy agency. Read "Haqqani Network Remains Primary Source of Pakistan - US Tensions", Voice of America, November 27, 2017.

Three Georgian Soldiers Wounded. Members of a Georgian patrol were wounded when their vehicle was attacked by a motorcycle-borne IED outside of a military base in Kabul. (Bagram). (Reuters, Nov 23, 2017).

2018 a Pivotal Year. Paul D. Shinkman, a senior national security writer for U.S. News & World Report has provide us the reasons why 2018 is important to Afghanistan in "Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year", November 27, 2018.

'Eating Their Own'. Fifteen members of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-KP) lost their heads in a recent spate of infighting in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The killings took place in the Surkh Ab bazaar of Achin district. Read "Islamic State beheads 15 of its own fighters: Afghan official", Reuters, November 23, 2017.


Videos and Movies about Afghanistan



Mentoring at the Afghan Officers Academy, Resolute Support YouTube.com, November 24, 2017. A British Army officer describes his job ANA Officer Academy.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lkzxc0vpfo0

Ghani at Heart of Asia Conference, ARG1880, YouTube.com, December 1, 2017. President Ghani presented remarks at the 7th Conference of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZZeClE9bbI

A Letter to the President. Mujib Mashal reviews a new movie that has been submitted to the Oscars as Afghanistan's candidate for best foreign language film. Read his review: "In Her Film About Afghan Life, the Woman Slaps Back", The New York Times, November 26, 2017.

Commando Force 333: Undefeated, Resolute Support, December 1, 2017. General Nicholson, commander of RS, speaks to members of Commando Force 333 after seeing them demonstrate their capabilities.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXeYRUuivhg

Herat Mountain Warfare Graduation, Resolute Support YouTube.com, November 27, 2017. This short video highlights the establishment of a Mountain Warfare Training Center in Herat province with assistance from the Italian Alpini - considered some of the best mountain troops in the world. The advanced training center was developed to help Afghan security forces practice advanced mountain warfare techniques and urban combat skills.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=elD1fx08lhY

The Breadwinner. An article about a movie now released about a young Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy to make money for her family. (The Chronicle Herald, November 23, 2017).


Afghan War News Snippets - Dec 3, 2017




MUDH and Corruption. The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) appears to be making some gains in decreasing corruption within the ministry at the national and provincial level. Aziz Amin Ahmadzai, a Chevening Scholar, writes on this topic in "Targeting Systematic Corruption through Urban Planning and Administrative Reform: Minister Naderi's Story", Eurasia Review, November 25, 2017.

Humanitarian Needs Summary for Afghanistan. Humanitarian Response - a specialized digital service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has provided a report on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Read "Humanitarian Needs Summary", December 1, 2017.

SIGAR Report - Unused NII at Border Crossings. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has published a report (Nov 2017) about millions of dollars of unused non-intrusive inspection equipment sitting at Afghan border crossings.

Solar Power Plant to be Built. Afghanistan's first 20-megawatt solar power plant will be built in Kabul with funds provided by the Asian Development Bank. See "Afghan Solar Plant Wins Development Bank Backing", Bloomberg News, November 26, 2017.

Banking in Afghanistan. An interesting article (very short) on banking in Afghanistan. Bank pays no interest on deposits, lends very little, but is a popular way to safeguard money. Read "How to survive as a bank in Afghanistan", The Economist, November 23, 2017.


Subscribe to the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter

You can receive the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter by email. It should arrive in your e-mail inbox at 0500 U.S. East coast time or just after lunch (1330) in Kabul every Sunday. It is easy to subscribe. To submit your subscription request go to www.afghanwarnews.blogspot.com and enter your email in the "Follow by Email" dialogue box at the top of the right hand column. The only info needed is your email. No personal data, no forms to fill out, and no passwords needed. You will receive a confirmation email asking you if you want to subscribe. Just confirm and you are done. It is also easy to unsubscribe. At the bottom of the newsletter click "unsubscribe" and you will be automatically unsubscribed.


Sunday, November 26, 2017

Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter - November 26, 2017

Welcome to the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter. Articles are posted online on the blog and sent out via email newsletter on Sunday morning. We welcome comments, ideas for stories, contributions, and guest writers! Visit our website at www.afghanwarnews.info, follow us on Twitter at @AfghanWarBlog, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/afghan-war-news.


Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)


Photo: ANA Soldiers from the 215th Corps conduct CASEVAC training at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC) on Camp Shorabak. (Photo by SGT Lucas Hopkins, RS HQs, November 19, 2017).

40th ID to head TAAC South. The California's Army National Guard 40th Infantry Division (Mech) will form the core of the hqs and staff of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South (TAAC South). In November elements of the 40th ID participated in a training event at Hohenfels, Germany to prepare for the deployment. (DVIDS, Nov 18, 2017).

TAAC South Checks Out CASEVAC Training at 215th Corps. Advisors with Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South visited Helmand province to observe CASEVAC training with the Afghans at the 215th Corps that took place at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). (DVIDS, Nov 19, 2017).

Canada and Afghanistan. The CEO of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, recently conducted a tour of North America. During his visit he expounded upon the need continued support by the international community for Afghanistan. Abdullah met on the sidelines of the Halifax Forum to ask Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for more help in military training. See "Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support", CBC News, November 19, 2017.

Intel Analysts Ready for Afghan SFAB Deployment. Intelligence Analysts (35F) play a critical role in determining the enemy's capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probably courses of action. Most Intel Analysts work at a desk behind a computer. For a 35F with a Security Force Assistance Brigade the job will most likely take him 'outside the wire' as a member of combat advisory teams. The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. Read "Outside the Wire: Intel Analysts in Army's 1st SFAB get career-building opportunity", DVIDS, November 7, 2017.

The Colors of U.S. Army's Beret. The formation of the SFABs got very contentious with the plans to issue a beret with a shade of green close to the famed Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Army quickly announced a change of plans - it would issue a beret with a shade of brown. Read more about the color of berets in "Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who's allowed to wear them", by Meghann Myers, Military Times, November 20, 2017.

More SFAB. Read more news stories and articles about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.


Hitting the Drug Labs in Helmand



The Afghan security forces launched a major offensive against drug traffickers and their opium refining laboratories this past week. The large-scale operation appears to have started on Monday, November 20th. It involved the U.S. as well - especially in the form of air strikes. The reasoning behind hitting the drug labs was to target the revenue streams of insurgents.

Airstrikes. In a press conference held on Tuesday by General Nicholson it was revealed that various types of aircraft were used to include B-52 bombers and F-22 Raptors. In addition, the Afghan Air Force (AAF) participated with air strikes utilizing their A-29 Super Tucanos. The airstrikes targeted production facilities rather than poppy farmers. Three of the strikes were in Kajaki district, four in Musa Qalah district, and one in Sangin district. The new U.S. authorities in Afghanistan provided by the Trump administration has allowed the U.S. to increase the number of airstrikes as well as widen the situations in which airstrikes can be employed. The B-52s and F-22s likely flew from air bases in the Middle East (UAE?).

ISR Assets. Nicholson also reported that a large number of ISR assets (drones) were used to develop targeting data. Some of the airstrikes were weeks in the planning phase.

Opium Production is Up. The production of opium has increased in Afghanistan by 87%. This figure is being reported by the Afghan Ministry of Counternarcotics and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey.

Read more in "U.S., Afghan Forces Target Taliban Drug Labs, Hit 'Where it Hurts'", DoD Media Activity, November 20, 2017.

See also "Afghanistan's opium production is through the roof - why Washington shouldn't overreact", by Vanda-Felbab-Brown, Brookings Institute, November 21, 2017.


Commentary on Afghanistan


"The Nation State and Afghanistan". Paolo Cotta Ramusino, a professor at the University of Milan (Italy) presented the contents of this article at the Herat Security Dialogue held in October 2017 in Herat, Afghanistan. Italy, of course, is the lead framework nation for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - West (TAAC West). Read "The Nation State and Afghanistan", Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies, November 20, 2017.

Gender Equality for ANDSF - A Wasted Effort. A lot of time, money, and effort has gone into implementing gender equality into the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. However, the targeted numbers have never been attained and the reality on the ground for those females in the security forces is far from perfect. Read more in "The Dangers of Forcing Gender Equality in Afghanistan", The New York Times, November 21, 2017.

Afghanistan affects Maritime Security. M. Ashraf Haidari, the director-general of policy and strategy for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, provides a framework for understanding how a land-locked country like Afghanistan can affect the greater security and stability of the maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region. Read "Afghanistan's Stabilization Can Ensure Maritime Security", The National Interest, November 19, 2017.


Afghan Governance News



Elections and Female Participation. A symposium, backed by the United Nations, was held in Mazar-e-Sharif to discuss ways to improve women's participation in elections - as both voters and as candidates. There are plenty of laws on the books in Afghanistan providing for the rights of Afghan women to vote and to run as candidates for office. What is lacking is the generating of public awareness and the implementation of the laws. With the upcoming elections to be held in 2017 and 2018 various activist groups are working to increase female participation in the electoral process. Read more in an article posted by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), November 21, 2017.

Pence and Abdullah Meeting. National Unity Government (NUG) Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah held a meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on Friday, November 17th. (Tolo News, Nov 18, 2017). Dr. Abdullah also spent some time in Canada where he addressed the Halifax Security Forum. (Tolo News, Nov 18, 2017).

Vice-President Dostum - Returns (Again). Every week news reports state that Dostum will make his return to Afghanistan after "receiving medical treatment in Turkey". And every week he is a no show. (Tolo News, Nov 18, 2017).

2014 Election Fraud Revealed. The former National Directorate of Security (NDS) Rahmatullah Nabil claimed the printing equipment for fake ballots for the 2014 election was found in the homes of people who are currently high-ranking members of the National Unity Government (NUG). (Tolo News, Nov 21, 2017).

Identity Documents. Most Afghans carry a handwritten ID card called a Tazkara; however, as many as one third of the country's population have no identity documents at all. The Afghan Population Registration Department is in the process to distribute handwritten identity cards to those without. Eventually, the office plans to issue electronic ID cards to the recipients of the current handwritten ID cards. Read "One in Three Afghans Lack Identity Documents", Gandhara Blog, November 16, 2017.

Ethnic Bias in Afghan Govt? A leaked memo from the Department of Public Order of the Ministry of Interior that stated recruits for a new anti-riot force should come from the Hazara, Uzbek, and Pashtuns - but not the Tajiks. Naturally, this has caused some concerns in Kabul. (Radio Free Europe, Nov 20, 2017).

UN Resolution. CEO Abdullah Abdullah addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, November 20th. He briefed the delegates on the situation in Afghanistan and welcomed the UN's decision to adopt a resolution in support of Afghanistan. (Tolo News, Nov 21, 2017).


Afghan Security News


Photo Credit. An instructor from the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF) provides instruction to a member of the Afghan Local Police (ALP). (DVIDS photo).

ALP 1st Line of Defense Against IS-KP. The Afghan Local Police (ALP) has been established in many districts in 31 of 34 Afghan provinces. The ALP in Achin district, Nangarhar province is the first line of defense against the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP). Read more in "Afghan Local Police, Controversial Force That Fill Security Gap"Voice of America, November 20, 2017.

ANA Territorial Force. Afghan warlords and strongmen are already beginning to try and influence the planned 'territorial force' that the U.S. and Afghan government are thinking to establish. The Afghan National Army Territorial Force, in some ways, will be similar to the Afghan Local Police. The Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANATF) will likely be self-defense units of locally-recruited men serving in their own communities. Read more in "UN concerned by controversial US plan to revive Afghan militias", The Guardian, November 19, 2017.

Senior ANP Official Resignation. The head of the MoI's 119 police hotline system has resigned from his position citing lack of support from the Ministry of Interior. See also "MoI to Probe Accusations between 119 Chief and Ministry", Tolo News, November 21, 2017.

Afghan SOF Target Taliban in Herat Province. Afghan SOF units, including the 4th and 9th SOKs, Police Special Units, and Afghan Special Forces went after Taliban insurgents in a recent operation in Shindad district, Herat province during November. Read "Afghan Special Operations team up with 207th Corps to eradicate Taliban from Shindad", DVIDS, November 22, 2017.

Tide Could Turn? Optimistic Statements by RS HQs Cdr. U.S. General John Nicolson recently stated that the tide will soon turn against the Taliban. He believes the ANDSF is getting better, will take the fight to the enemy in 2018, and that the Taliban will be forced to the bargaining table. Nicholson is interviewed by Radio Free Europe, November 10, 2017.

Dozens Freed from Taliban Prison. Afghan officials said that up to 30 people were rescued from a Taliban prison in the southern province of Helmand on Sunday, November 19th. Among those rescued were two police officers and four children under the age of 12. See "Raid on Taliban Prison Reportedly Frees Dozens in Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, November 19, 2017.


Movies and Videos about Afghanistan




First Afghan Black Hawk Pilots soon to Graduate, Resolute Support Hqs, posted on YouTube.com, on November 16, 2017. (2-min video explains the training program for AAF pilots).
www.youtube.com/watch?v=k882GyV_pi8

NATO Ambassador to Afghanistan on Future Elections. Ambassador Zimmermann, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, talks about future elections. He says the international community will assist in conducting credible elections.  (Resolute Support, November 21, 2017).
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCQ3nySI8Rg

TAAC-West Camp Zafar security force assistance. Camp Zafar, Afghanistan, November 13, 2017. A short video recording of a meeting between Italian advisors and the ANA at Train, Advise, Assist Command - West in Herat province.
www.dvidshub.net/video/567413/taac-west-camp-zafar-security-force-assistance

Master Sgt. Broadnax SFAB Testimonial, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, November 2, 2017. The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan. MSG Alfredo Broadnax, signals NCO, describes his experience with the unit.
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/567605/master-sgt-broadnax-sfab-testimonial

The Breadwinner. An animated film produced by Angelina Jolie is based on a children's novel by Deborah Ellis. The film tells the story of an 11 year old girl named Parvana who lives in Kabul. (The Mary Sue, Nov 21, 2017).


Afghan News Snippets




The UK Experience in the Afghan Counter Narcotics Mission. In a very informative article, David Mansfield - a Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, provides a history of the United Kingdom's involvement in the counter narcotics campaign in Afghanistan. Read "The Rise of Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan: When will too much be enough?", Hurst Publishers, November 15, 2017.

ICC, War Crimes, U.S. Military, and CIA. The International Criminal Court is going ahead with plans to launch a full investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve U.S. military members and operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency. One aspect of the investigation will involve the 'secret detention centers in Afghanistan'. The US is not a member of the ICC but U.S. citizens can still be charged with crimes by the court. A big problem with the investigation is that the reporting on the very small number of war crimes that might have been done by U.S. personnel will likely overshadow the huge and significant war crimes conducted by the Taliban over the past several years.  (Deusche Welle, Nov 20, 2017).

Vacationing in Afghanistan Soon? Are you considering a holiday trip to South Asia? The folks at NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) have a superb retreat in the countryside just outside of Kabul. Read "Vacation Rental: Private Room in Cozy Camp, Experience Authentic Afghanistan", Task and Purpose, November 21, 2017.

Bootlegging Alcohol. The European Union is investigating reports that wine and spirits were smuggled out of the EU compound and sold on Kabul's black market. Hmmmm. (Tolo News, Nov 20, 2017).

"The Lost Troop". The author of a short story about a U.S. unit in Afghanistan is interviewed by The New Yorker, November 20, 2017.

Peace Conference in Bamyan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) organized an event that brought religious leaders together in support of efforts to build a culture of tolerance and non-violence in Afghanistan. (Eurasia Review, Nov 21, 2017).

Afghan Economy Growing. The World Bank says that Afghanistan's economy will likely see a 2.6 percent growth this year. (Reuters, Nov 21, 2017).


Stay Current on News about Afghanistan

You can receive the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter by email. It should arrive in your e-mail inbox at 0500 U.S. East coast time or just after lunch (1330) in Kabul every Sunday. It is easy to subscribe. To submit your subscription request go to www.afghanwarnews.blogspot.com and enter your email in the "Follow by Email" dialogue box at the top of the right hand column. The only info needed is your email. No personal data, no forms to fill out, and no passwords needed. You will receive a confirmation email asking you if you want to subscribe. Just confirm and you are done. It is also easy to unsubscribe. At the bottom of the newsletter click "unsubscribe" and you will be automatically unsubscribed.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter - November 19, 2017

Welcome to the Afghan War Blog Weekly Newsletter. Articles are posted online on the blog and sent out via email newsletter on Sunday morning. We welcome comments, ideas for stories, contributions, and guest writers! Visit our website at www.afghanwarnews.info, follow us on Twitter at @AfghanWarBlog, and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/afghan-war-news.


Asia Foundation's "Survey of the Afghan People 2017"


The Asia Foundation conducts an annual survey of the Afghan population and publishes a report on its findings in the fall of each year. The report covers several topics to include the National Mood, Security, Economy, Development, Governance, Politics, Media, Women in Society, and Migration. This years 267-page report is based on interviews of over 10,000 people across many ethnic groups from all 34 Afghan provinces.

Here is an abstract of the report provided by The Asia Foundation:

"Survey of the Afghan People polled 10,012 Afghan respondents from 16 ethnic groups across all 34 provinces, including insecure and physically challenging environments. The annual survey is the longest-running and broadest nationwide survey of Afghan attitudes and opinions. Since 2004, the Survey has gathered the opinions of more than 97,000 Afghan men and women, providing a unique longitudinal portrait of evolving public perceptions of security, the economy, governance and government services, elections, media, women’s issues, and migration."

You can download the report at the link below:

https://asiafoundation.org/publication/afghanistan-2017-survey-afghan-people

Analysis and Commentary on the Survey of the Afghan People:

Asia Foundation Survey 2017 - Security Highlights of Report, SOF News, November 14, 2017
www.sof.news/afghanistan/asia-foundation-survey-2017/


UH-60 Black Hawks for Afghan Air Force


Training Program for Afghan UH-60 Pilots Explained. The first batch of the Afghan UH-60 pilots are almost finished with the first stage of their training. Mi-17 pilots are transitioning from the Russian helicopter to the U.S. utility helicopter. The training consists of classroom work and hands on training in the Black Hawk. The three phases of training cover many weeks. The first phase covers the basics. The second phase (10 weeks long) introduces the pilots to the mission tactics employed by the UH-60. The third phase completes the training.

Video - First Afghan Black Hawk Pilots to Graduate, Resolute Support HQs YouTube.com, November 16, 2017. (2-minute video on the UH-60 program for the AAF).
www.youtube.com/watch?v=k882GyV_pi8

UH-60 Black Hawks - Saving Afghanistan One Helicopter at a Time. The United States military and Resolute Support Headquarters are really pushing the narrative that the UH-60 Black Hawk will be a 'game changer' for the conflict in Afghanistan. However, there are some problems with that story line. Read an informative article on this topic by Pamela Constable entitled "U.S. wants to build 'tsunami of air power' in Afghanistan, but impact is years away"The Washington Post, November 12, 2017.


Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)

HIMARS firing in Afghanistan in support of ground troops.
(Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sean Furey)

Marines Providing "Assist" to 215th ANA Corps with HIMARS. The Marines of Task Force Southwest are providing fire support to the Afghan National Army in Helmand province. Of course, the advanced rocket system also provides a degree of security to the Marine advisor teams working across Helmand province at the tactical (kandak) level. The M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System has a range of about 300 kilometers - depending on the type of munition being fired. Read more in "Marines bring HIMARS to Helmand to beef up security", Military Times, November 12, 2017.

1st SFAB 92Y Likes Her Job. The 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will soon deploy to Afghanistan. Like many units, the SFAB needs a variety of support MOSs to function. Read on how one Unit Supply NCO likes her new job with the 1st SFAB in "Combat Service Support Soldiers take pride in building the 1st SFAB", DVIDS, November 9, 2017.

ATP 3-96.1 SFAB. The army is scheduled to publish Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-96.1 in January 2018. It provides doctrinal guidance and direction on how the Security Force Assistance Brigades plan, prepare, and executes operations globally. Could be useful to the 1st SFAB due to deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018.

DoD IG Report on Child Abuse by ANDSF. The U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General's office issued a report on November 14th highlighting the history of U.S. military reporting cases of child abuse by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

SFABs and Governance Advising. Do they have enough CA expertise? Three U.S. Army Civil Affairs officers provide some advice for the 1st SFAB on the art of governance advising. Read "A Governance Advising Framework for the Security Force Assistance Brigade", Small Wars Journal, November 18, 2017.

U.S. Special Forces and Training up the ANASF. Periodically throughout the year a graduation ceremony is held for a group of Afghan Commandos who have successfully completed the ANA Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC). To even apply to the ANASF an Afghan soldier must have served some time in the Afghan Commandos. Read more in "I Serve Afghanistan!: Afghan Soldiers Graduate to the Elite Ranks of Special Forces"Task and Purpose, November 12, 2017.


40th Division to Take Over TAAC South



The California Army National Guard's 40th Infantry Division will soon be in charge of Train, Advise, Assist Command - South (TAAC South). The 40th ID (Mechanized) is preparing to deploy in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) and will be taking operational command of the southern part of Afghanistan. In preparation elements of the division staff participated in exercise Allied Spirit VII at the U.S. Army's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany in November. Read more in a news report by the U.S. Army. (DVIDS, Nov 18, 2017).


Commentary on Afghanistan


Peacekeeping Interventions and RoL. Peacekeeping practitioners work with complex systems - namely systems that are disorderly, irregular, and unpredictable. A report by USIP suggests that practitioners may be better at managing confusion and uncertainty by adopting a more flexible approach. Read "Systems Thinking for Peacekeeping and Rule of Law: Supporting Complex Reforms in Conflict-Affected Environments", United States Institute for Peace (USIP), October 23, 2017.

Developing an Afghan Policy. Shazar Shafqat provides his perspective on the situation in Afghanistan. Read "Afghanistan policy is puzzle of unfriendly pieces", The Hill, November 17, 2017.

Absence of an Afghan Strategy. Gerald F. Hyman writes "Trump's New Afghanistan Strategy Isn't Really a Strategy", The National Interest, November 17, 2017. Hyman is a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

RECCA & Heart of Asia. The Director-General of Policy & Strategy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, M. Ashraf Haidari, has penned an editorial that informs us about the importance of two Afghan-led regional conferences that aim to provide for greater security and stability in Afghanistan and the greater region. The Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA) meets in mid-November and the 7th Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia meets in December. Read more in "Afghan-Led RECCA and Heart of Asia Processes Can Bolster Regional Stability and Prosperity", Eurasia Review, November 13, 2017.