Electoral Reform Commission. There is lots of confusion about who is heading up the Afghan ERC. Currently Shukria Barakzai insists she is a member of the commission but others say she has been removed.
Fighting in Badakhshan. The Afghan government will be (or currently is) launching a counteroffensive to reverse some recent gains by insurgents. Khaama Press reported on Twitter that the Interior Minister, Noorulhaq Uloomi, recently visited Badakhshan checking things out. Other reports indicated that four Afghan Local Police were killed in the province recently. It appears that the Taliban pickup a lot of military equipment as a result of the recent fighting. Read more in a news report by Tolo News, April 16, 2015.
Afghan Institute for Civil Society (AICS). This organization was recently established in February 2015 as an independent, national agency to improve the quality and credibility of Afghan Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The AICS will also strive to act as a national platform for fostering cohesive relationships between CSOs, the government, donors and the broader sector. The process for establishing this Institute has been facilitiated by the Agha Kahn Development Network with support from the USAID-funded Afghanistan Civic Engagement Programme. Read more about the AICS in an news report by the director of the AICS, Maiwand Rahyab, in "A step forward for civil society", posted on the British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) website, April 16, 2015.
Drug Trafficking and Russia. The EastWest Institute has released a new report that says Russia and the United States can jointly combat narcotrafficking out of Afghanistan. Much of the Afghan heroin finds its way to Russia to supply the many addicted customers living there. Read more in "Can the United States and Russia Jointly Combat Afghan Heroin?", by Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat, April 16, 2015.
Lariam - Problems with Use Plague UK Military. The United Kingdom military is under fire for continuing to use a drug that has resulted in cases of mental health problems among British soldiers who served in Afghanistan. Read more in a news report by The Independent, April 16, 2015.
Video about Magnetic Bomb on ANP Vehicle. In this video - "Lucky bomb escape leaves clue for Afghan police", NATO Channel, April 13, 2015. (3 minutes, posted on YouTube.com).https://youtu.be/Ul4gOkbwhxI
Pakistan Army Discovers Small Unit Tactics. The Pakistani military is adapting the way it trains so it can field a more effective counterinsurgent fighting force against the Pakistani Taliban and other insurgent and terrorist groups. They are incorporating something bizarre called 'small unit tactics' or SUT into their COIN training. This is something Resolute Support could encourage the Afghan National Army to do - but at the moment the RSM advisors are concentrating on some essential functions in the areas of procurement, strategic planning, personnel management, and other areas at the ministry level - because the ANA already knows how to fight - and presumably uses SUT as well. Read more in "To Fight the Taliban, Pakistani military turns to unorthodox but simple tactics", by Tim Craig, The Washington Post, April 16, 2015.
Police Commander Killed. A local police commander was killed by the Taliban in Bati Kot district, Nangarhar province. Tolo News, April 16, 2015.
Ghani Going to India. President Ghani is due to visit India; probably around April 27th. There's lots to talk about - continued Indian support in the economic sector, military training, and India-Pakistan relations.
Book Review. Leigh Neville has penned The British Army in Afghanistan 2006-2016 (Osprey Publishing, 2015). His book is reviewed by George Vlachonikolis in War on the Rocks, April 16, 2015.
Podcast on Kabul Security. Tom Bowman, NPR correspondent, provides us his thoughts on Kabul security and the Afghan security forces in "Kabul Appears to be More Tense Since U.S. Troop Drawdown", NPR podcast, April 16, 2015 (3 minutes). Podcast.
Anti-Corruption Advisor for Ghani. A news article profiles an anti-corruption advisor for President Ghani. One of his first inquiries was the Ministry of Defense (MoD) fuel contract. (aquila-style.com, April 16, 2015).
News Clip on JIEDDO. The director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) explains the organizations mission in this short (1 min) video posted on YouTube.com on April 16, 2015.
Another News Clip on JIEDDO. The short news clip (1 min) explains how JIEDDO was recently realigned (can you say downsized?) to become a combat support agency - because our future enemies will be using jet fighters, big tanks, submarines, and aircraft carriers - not homemade explosives. Posted on YouTube.com on April 13, 2015.