Thursday, December 18, 2014

Daily News Snippets (Dec 18, 2014)

A former employee of a U.S. contractor was indicted for allegedly soliciting and accepting bribes for his influence in awarding U.S. government-funded contracts in Afghanistan. Read more in a news release by the U.S. Department of Justice (Dec 16, 2014).

Insurgents attacked a bank in the southern province of Helmand on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 killing at least ten people including three policemen. (CBS News, Dec 17, 2014).

Dr. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development is moving on. Read an online statement by Secretary of State John Kerry. (DoS, Dec 17, 2014).

The Taliban have mounted an offensive in Dangam district, Kunar province near the Pakistani border. Read more in a Stars and Stripes report (Dec 16, 2014). 

U.S. airstrikes are attacking Pakistani and Afghan Taliban in the eastern province of Nangarhar. Read more in a post by The Long War Journal (Dec 17, 2014).

The killing of over one hundred children by the Pakistani Taliban has brought to the forefront the fact that there are "Good Taliban" and "Bad Taliban". The "Good Taliban" are the groups supported by the Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI) and the Pakistani military. The "Bad Taliban" are the groups conducting attacks against the Pakistan military. Read more on this topic in "How the Pakistani Taliban became a deadly force", The News York Times, December 16, 2014.

U.S. Army Special Forces leaders are confident that the Afghan National Security Forces will do well after the withdrawal of combat troops by the International Security Assistance Force. MG Edward Reeder, the commander of SOJTF-A in Afghanistan stated "Our partnered forces have never lost a fight." Read more in "U.S. forces have prepared Afghans for success", Fayetteville Observer, December 17, 2014.

A United Kingdom diplomat who served two years in Afghanistan as the British Ambassador to Afghanistan had some critical comments about the British politicians overseeing the war effort from London. Read more in "Collective self-delusion: UK diplomat slams Afghanistan strategists",, December 17, 2014.

The Pakistani Army Chief visited Kabul where he apologized for Pakistan's support to the Taliban. NOT! Just kidding! He actually visited with President Ghani for talks and the two vowed to fight terrorism and extremism together. Read more in "Pakistani Army Chief in Kabul, Vows to Fight Taliban", Radio Free Europe, December 17, 2014.

NATO is wrapping up the ISAF era and paid tribute to the ISAF mission at a recent gathering. See a NATO news release on the topic. (Dec 17, 2014).

Contractors will continue to play an important role in the force structure that remains in Afghanistan. That will diminish the reduction in the budget for Afghanistan. (Fayetteville Observer, Dec 17, 2014)

Representatives of women's groups in the fight for the rights of Afghan women are saying unkind words about the international donors who recently met at the London Conference. Read a news story by members of Human Rights Watch in "Women fighting for justice in Afghanistan are treated with contempt by foreign donors", International Business Times, December 17, 2014.

DynCorp International (Texas) was awarded a $42 million contract modification for OEF aviation maintenance support.

CACI of Arlington, Virginia is being awarded a $38 million contract for joint geospatial analytical support services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The work goes out to December 2015 and takes place in Florida and around the world.

Much attention has been focused on the massacre of children in Pakistan by the "Bad Taliban". Some of that attention is being directed at the government of Pakistan - folks are asking what the government will do in the future. Pakistan's covert policy of supporting the Afghan Taliban is being questioned as well as actions to be taken against the "Bad Taliban". Unfortunately, the jihadi militants occupying the 'ungoverned areas' of Pakistan do not have neat lines separating the "good" from the "bad". As one former Secretary of State (who I will not name because I am not fond of her) said ". . . you can't keep snakes in your backyard and expect them to only bite your neighbors". Read more in "Pakistan's Tolerance of Jihadis Backfires Badly", The Huffington Post, December 17, 2014.

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