Sunday, November 15, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

MEC Releases Statement on Foreign Assistance. The Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) released its Review of Selected Foreign-Assistance Programs implemented in Afghanistan. MEC examined a number of projects ranging from road construction to health care services and has formulated some recommendations for some best practices in implementing foreign aid programs. Read the news release by MEC, November 8, 2015. The full report can be read here.

NATO and Afghanistan - Pondering. The recent fall of Kunduz City and the Taliban resurgence across northern Afghanistan and Helmand province has NATO member nations concerned. Read more in "NATO ponders future of Afghan mission as fatigue, frustration mount", Reuters, November 8, 2015.

Medal of Honor Received by Army Captain. CPT Florent Groberg confronted a suicide bomber in Regional Command East in August 2012. Four Americans would die in the attack, but because of the CPT's brave actions, many were saved. (The Washington Post, Nov 12, 2015).

Black Widows Now at Bagram. Some F16s are now at Bagram Airfield with the intention of giving the Taliban some nightmares. Or at least that is what the Air Force Times headline says in a recent news report (November 9, 2015).

Afghanistan in 2015: A Survey of the Afghan People. This annual survey will be available on November 17th for download courtesy of The Asia Foundation.

Reaper Madness. Here's another 'anti-drone' news report regurgitating yet another 'anti-drone' report. No surprise here - "Reaper Madness: Obama's Whack-a-Mole Killing Machine", Counterpunch, November 9, 2015.

M9 - Useful, Vanity or Just More Convenient? A short article providing one man's perspective on the pistol carried by Soldiers. Some say it is not very useful and more of a vanity weapon. Others say it is more convenient on FOBs where everyone has to carry a weapon. It is certainly easier going to the dining facility with a pistol rather than the M16. For those folks advising the Afghan National Security Forces during the summer of 2012 it was a good force protection weapon inside buildings and during meetings in light of the insider attacks that were occurring. Read more in "Army Culture: The M9 as Vanity Weapon",, August 20, 2014.

LT Hurst at Resolute Support HQs. One Soldier describes his job as providing ". . . everything from bullets to body armor". Read about the 'go-to guy' at RS HQs in Kabul. (Providence Journal, Nov 11, 2015).

Marine Describes Job & Life at RS HQs Camp. He works as an advisor to the Afghan Local Police Special Operations Advisory Group in developing ALP officers throughout the country. (Santa Clara Weekly, Nov 2015).

Former BG Advisor to 201st Corps Fired. LTG Ron Lewis, an aide to SecDef Carter was fired from his job on Thursday. Lewis had served (when a BG) as the principal advisor to the commander of 201st Corps in RC East (now TAAC-East). (Military Times, Nov 12, 2015).

Kinetic Strikes via UAVs. A writer, Scott N. Romaniuk, examines the use of drones for surveillance and targeting killings (TK) in CT and COIN environments. Read "Targeted Killings, Drones, and the Myth of Precision", Geopolitical Monitor, November 8, 2015.

War Story Afghanistan - A Canadian Documentary Series. Learn more about Canada's contribution to the fight in Central Asia. (Radio Canada International, November 8, 2015).

Heroin Crisis in the States. Afghanistan provides 90% of the opium needed to make heroin. A recent paper by RAND Corporation provides some info on the epidemic and what can be done in Afghanistan to stem the flow of drugs.  Read "Opioid Rising: How to Stop the World's Growing Heroin Crisis", RAND Corporation, October 20, 2015.

Russia Assists in Diplomatic Training. The embassy of the Russian Federation in Kabul launched a scholarship programme for the diplomatic staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. Ten diplomats will attend a two-week long training program in Moscow the latter part of November. (Khaama Press, Nov 12, 2015).

Can Diplomacy Work? The anticipated drop in fighting expected with the winter season has prompted international and regional partners to once again encourage a revival of Afghan peace talks. Read more in "Afghanistan Stakeholders Push Diplomacy", Voice of America, November 13, 2015.

An Advisor in Kunar Province. An Army officer, Andrew Plucker, recounts his time as an advisor to an ANA brigade in a dangerous part of Afghanistan. Read "Two officers, two nations, one mission", USC News, November 11, 2015.

JCLIS. The Fall 2015 issue of the Journal of Culture, Language and International Security (JCLIS) is now available online. In this special issue the writers take a hard look at the DoD's Language, Regional Expertise, and Culture (LREC) program. Posted by the Institute for the Study of Culture and Language, Norwich University.

Afghans Leaving? Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) has penned a piece detailing the ongoing departure of Afghans for Europe. Read "An 'Afghan Exodus': Facts, figures, trends", AAN, November 14, 2015.

AREU Paper on Kandahar Economy. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit has published a paper (Nov 15) on the Kandahar economy since 9/11.

Lithuania May Up Troop Level. Currently the plan for Lithuania troop levels in 2017 is for 20 personnel. However, that may be raised to 50. They would work in the areas of logistics, communications, and staff in the Kabul area. Read more in "Lithuania to increase troops in Afghanistan", The Baltic Times, November 9, 2015.

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