"Why Troops Must Stay in Afghanistan". Max Boot faults the Obama administration for a surge that lasted an insufficient amount of time and a timetable (versus event) driven approach to troop levels in Afghanistan. Read his latest in "Why Troops Must Stay in Afghanistan", Commentary Magazine, September 29, 2015.
Pakistans' Taliban Problem. After riding the Islamist militancy tiger for decades, Pakisan now has a problem. Read more in a report by C. Christine Fair in "Pakistan and the Taliban: Past as Prologue?", The Diplomat, September 30, 2015.
Women in Combat Units. One woman, Anna Simons, comes out strongly against women being fully integrated into ground combat units. Read "Ground Combat Unit's New Addition: Women?", The National Interest, September 29, 2015.
The Hard Lessons of Kunduz and Syria. Rosa Brooks, a law professor at Georgetown University and former undersecretary at DoD provides her thoughts on why U.S. efforts to train and equip friendly fighters around the world so often fail. "We consistently fail to understand that other people want to pursue what they see as their interests and objectives, not ours. We go into complex foreign conflicts with a profound ignorance of history, language, and culture; as a result, we rarely understand the loyalties, commitments, and constraints of those we train.". She recommends the reading of Special Operations, ADP 3-05, August 2012. Read her article posted at Foreign Policy (October 2, 2015).
Afghanistan - Political Deadlock. The threat of an Afghan civil war increases with the continued political deadlock of the National Unity Government (NUG). The political mess has significantly contributed to the security mess - there is no appointed Minister of Defense, the Taliban have been defeating the ANDSF in Helmand, northern Afghanistan, and other locations, and there is no sign that the Afghan police are becoming less corrupt or more capable. Afghans are the second largest refugee (or migrant) group next to the Syrians. Read more in "Afghanistan: Political Deadlock Raises Threat of Civil War", Eurasia Review, September 30, 2015.
Allies Lacking the Will to Fight. Mark Thompson writes about why the U.S. military is having trouble with success in training its "partners" and surrogate forces. We can provide the equipment to the tune of billions of dollars but in an ideological battle the 'will to fight' and solving the underlying causes of the conflict are more important. Read "Why the U.S. Military Isn't Winning", Time.com, October 1, 2015.
Obama's Legacy of Afghanistan to be Tarnished. Events around the world have made a shambles of President Obama's foreign policy record. Afghanistan is one of those seemingly failed endeavors. Read more in "Obama's Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Afghanistan", by Eli Lake, Bloomberg View, October 1, 2015.
SecDef is Found . . . Lacking? The secretary of defense came into office promising to shake up the Pentagon, but the chaos in Iraq and Syria has left him mired in wars he didn't want to fight". Read more in "Ash Carter is Looking to the Future. The Mideast is Keeping Him Stuck in the Past.", Foreign Policy, October 2, 2015.
Five Ring Circus and Air Integration. An Air Force officer, Col Mike Pietrucha, with time in the seat of an F-4G and F15E, 158 combat missions, 10 combat deployments, and ground time in Iraq and Afghanistan sheds light on the ability of the U.S. Air Force to provide the air interdiction mission. Read more in "The Five-Ring Circus: How Airpower Enthusiasts Forgot About Interdiction", War on the Rocks, September 29, 2015.
U.S. "Tactically Terrific but Strategically Slipshod?" Keith Nightingale writes on how good America's forces are in tactical fights but lacking in strategic proficiency in "Why is America Tactically Terrific but Strategically Slipshod?", War on the Rocks, September 30, 2015.
Has Afghanistan Slipped into the Background? One writer feels that the world is giving Afghanistan and its many problems little focus. Read more in "Is the World Paying Attention to Afghanistan Anymore?", by Catherine Putz, The Diplomat, September 28, 2015.
Obama Doctrine a Failure? U.S. trained Syrian rebels surrender supplies and ammunition to al Qaeda-linked insurgents, U.S. trained Iraqi army is in a stalemate against the Islamic State, and the Taliban score their biggest victory since 2001. Is this a sign that the Obama doctrine of relying on local partners is not working? Read "Across arc of conflict, Obama Doctrine shows signs of failure", Reuters, September 30, 2015.