Saying Goodbye to Afghanistan. After four years in Afghanistan, Emma Graham-Harrison leaves behind friends who fear that a new government may not be able to deliver peace. She provides us with her sense of how things are in Kabul and what the future may look like. Read more in "Hope is mingled with guilt as I bid farewell to my Kabul home", The Guardian, March 15, 2015.
Max Boot Worries. Although President Obama has indicated that he will slow down the withdrawal rate of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, some say this is not enough. Learn more in "The Politics of Obama's Afghanistan Plan", Commentary Magazine, March 16, 2015.
Smart Move - Changing Timeline. President Obama is receiving praise from some quarters as a result of the slower withdrawal. Scott Mackey tells us why leaving later rather than sooner is a good idea. (Foreign Policy, March 16, 2015).
"Leave Afghanistan to the Afghans". Doug Bandow, a commentator on domestic and international policy and contributor to Forbes.com, has provided us his opinion on what to do about Afghanistan. He thinks that the Obama administration should speed the military withdrawal. Read his thoughts in the news article published on March 16, 2015.
Peace Process Marred. Divya Kumar Soti writes that the Afghan governments new peace process started by President Ghani is flawed by its lean towards Pakistan and exclusion of Iran and India. In addition, he fears that the negotiations will result in a "short-term arrangement" that will just strengthen the Taliban even more. (Eurasia Review, Marc 16, 2015).
Peace Talks Soon? In yet another report, we learn that peace talks with the Taliban may happen very soon. The deputy foreign minister, Hekmat Khali Karzai, says the government has made strides in the effort to talk to the violent opposition. (Voice of America, March 16, 2016).
The United Nations had a conference on Afghanistan on Monday. It was available on UN Web TV. I watched part of it. Lots of speeches, kind of boring. Samantha Power, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, had stuff to say. Here is a transcript of her speech - "Remarks at a UN Open Debate on UNAMA", United States Mission to the United Nations, March 16, 2015.http://usun.state.gov/briefing/statements/238895.htm
Ghani to Visit D.C. President Ghani will be meeting President Obama. Looks like he will also meet with Ash Carter and John Kerry at Camp David. (Washington Examiner, March 16, 2015).
Picture Afghanistan. Military members serving in Afghanistan see a different world than humanitarian workers, reporters, and others not serving in the military or living on a "FOB". Read an article explaining it - "The Afghanistan You Think You Know", The Daily Beast, March 15, 2015.
Islamic State Affiliate Cdr Killed. The Afghan army has reported that a militant commander who had claimed allegiance to the IS has been killed in an operation in Helmand province. Read more in "Afghan army kills commander of Islamic State affiliate", Military Times, March 16, 2015.
Russia Worries about IS in Afghanistan. The top United Nations envoy in Afghanistan says that the Islamic State has established a foothold in Afghanistan. Russia is also concerned and urged the UN Security Council to do something to stop the expansion of IS. Russia's deputy U.N. Ambassador said Moscow is worried about the spreading of radical Islam - especially in northern Afghanistan. (Military Times, Mar 16, 2015).
Four Turkmen Killed. A news reports says that police killed four Turkmen in northern Afghanistan during a demonstration. (Radio Free Europe, March 16, 2015).
Former Warlords Get Noisy. The National Unity Government (NUG) formed by President Ghani and CEO Abdullah unified many of the diverse segments of Afghan society. There was a mixture of Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, etc. on both tickets. The cabinet (if it ever gets fully approved) should be inclusive of all ethnic groups and political groups (as well as women - maybe). However, some power-brokers are feeling left out. One is Ismail Khan, the long-time warlord from Herat province in western Afghanistan. Read more in "Afghan City Rises as Opposition Hub", The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2015.
Herat Uprising of March 1979. In the spring of 1979, Afghanistan was almost in open rebellion against the government of Afghanistan. The city of Herat staged an uprising that was instrumental in the growing rebellion. Read more in "Failings of Inclusivity: The Herat uprising of March 1979", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), March 15, 2015.
Turkmenistan Arrests. Turkmenistan, on the northern border of Afghanistan, has arrested 80 individuals said to have ties with ISIS or other militants in Afghanistan. (Radio Free Europe, March 16, 2015).
Afghan Women Need Help. The women's advocate group called Feminist Majority Foundation wants you to sign a petition to encourage President Obama to continue to provide security for Afghanistan's women. (Feminist Majority Blog, March 5, 2015).
Rare Earth Metals. Afghanistan may be sitting on minerals that could significantly improve its economic situation in the out years. Read more in a news report by Investor Intel for Investors, March 15, 2015.
2nd Bde 10th Mtn Prepares for Deployment. The mission in Afghanistan is now mostly Security Force Assistance. In order to prepare for this advisory mission U.S. Army units may deploy to Fort Polk to attend training at JRTC. Read more in "Fort Polk: JRTC provides realistic, rigorous, relevant reps for rotational units", Leesville Daily Leader, March 15, 2015.