Radio Free Europe reports that Afghan refugees are flocking home amid claims of intimidation and harassment from Pakistani police. (RFE, March 4, 2015).
The Islamic State appears to be getting the attention of Afghan authorities as well as the security forces of the Central Asian states on Afghanistan's northern border. Afghan officials have confirmed the presence of IS militants in the northeastern province of Kunduz - which borders Tajikistan. (Gandhara Blog, Mar 4, 2015).
Islamic State. A researcher, Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy, with the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) provides us with some insight into the beginnings of the Islamic State (IS) in the Af-Pak region. Read more in this news analysis posted on Eurasia Review (Mar 4, 2015).
Retrograde. Over the past two years the U.S. has moved tons and tons of equipment, vehicles, and personnel back to the states (sometimes to Europe, or Kuwait, or other destinations). As part of the retrograde process in Afghanistan, something had to happen to the bases where the personnel and equipment came from. In many cases the bases were closed down - sometimes reduced to their original state - as in everything removed and the area reduced to dirt. Many instances of base closure saw the COP or FOB turned over to the ANSF or some other Afghan governmental organization. Read more about base closures in Afghanistan in "Base closure assistance team: a valuable resource for closing FOBs", by 1st Lt. Joseph Fumo posted on Army.mil, March 4, 2015.
A rescue operation for the Hazara hostages (30 of them) is still ongoing. ANSF authorities estimate that almost 50 militants have been killed in the operation thus far. (Tolo News, March 4, 2015).
If you ever wonder who makes sure that service contracts in Afghanistan are monitored then you may be interested in this recent news article by Army.mil. Read "Auditing service contracts in Afghanistan" (March 4, 2015).
The 304th Engineer Company , US Army Reserve (Ohio) has recently returned from a Middle East deployment. Some of the tasks of the vertical construction company was deconstruction tasks throughout Afghanistan. Read more in this DVIDS news release (March 3, 2015).
Residents in Herat (city in western Afghanistan) are on a two-day strike to protest an increase in electricity rates. (Tolo News, March 4, 2015).
Afghanistan's president Ashraf Ghani is attempting to reset relationship with Pakistan. Read more in "An Olive Branch in AfPak", by Tamim Asey in Foreign Policy, March 4, 2015.
More on Drones in Afghanistan. Lauren Walker writes in Newsweek that "the Afghan War is over, but U.S. drone strikes continue" (March 3, 2015).
Although combat operations (sort of) have ceased in Afghanistan U.S. service members are still going out in harms way to provide advise and assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). At the regional level the Train, Advise, and Assist Commands or TAACs conduct the advising mission. An article recently posted on DVIDS (DoD) provides insight on how this is done. The article informs us about a Police Advisory Team (PAT) visit to the Afghan National Civil Order Police (ANCOP) 2nd Brigade headquarters in Nangarhar on March 3, 2015. The PAT met with the ANCOP commander " . . . to discus topics ranging from current operations to readiness for the upcoming fighting season and beyond." Read more in "Advisors focus on ANCOP readiness, sustainment", DVIDS, March 3, 2015.
Major General Abdul Wahab Wardak, commander of the Afghan Air Force (AAF), recently attended the International Military Helicopter Conference in London in January 2015.While there the general was interviewed about the status of the AAF. Read more in this news article in Aviation Today (Mar 3, 2015).