Sunday, November 29, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Australia-United States Defense Cooperation. The defense departments of the United States and Australia have signed a joint statement on defense cooperation for the 21st Century. Although Australia has been a steady partner in Afghanistan efforts in Afghanistan get a one-liner in this three page document. You can read it here.

Peace Talks Again . . . But Why? Pakistan and the United States have once again agreed to work together for an early resumption of the stalled Afghan peace talks process. This news follows the visit of Pakistan's Army Chief General Raheel Sharif to the United States where he held extensive discussions with key leaders of the U.S. military and Obama administration. Not sure why we bother given Pakistan's support of the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan could easily stem the tide of violence by pulling its support away from the insurgents. See "Pakistan, US Agree on Early Resumption of Afghan Peace Process", Tolo News, November 23, 2015.

A Whistleblower Without an OER. So what happens when you buck the system and report on fraud, waste and abuse in a major program that wasted millions of dollars? You don't get your OER on time and it delays your promotion and your next assignment. Learn more about what happened to COL John C. Hope, former in-country director for the Task Force for Business Stability Operations (TFBSO), after alerting authorities to millions of dollars squandered. See "A Pentagon Whistleblower Says He's Being Punished for Calling Out Waste in Afghanistan", VICE News, November 23, 2015.

New Political Head of Taliban. The Afghan Taliban have named a new head for their political office in Qatar and he is reported to be a supporter of peace talks with Kabul. Sher Mohammand Abbas Stanekzai is a former anti-Soviet fighter and a senior Taliban leader. (The Times of India, Nov 23, 2015).

WTO Membership? Officials in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry have stated that Afghanistan will be achieving membership in the World Trade Organization at the end of 2015. (Ariana News, Nov 27, 2015).

China's Road in Afghanistan. A road under construction that will run from Kabul to Jalalabad will assist in the movement of goods from / to Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, progress is slow because of insurgent activity and lack of cooperation from local Afghan elders. Read more in "Slow road from Kabul highlights China's challenge in Afghanistan", Reuters, November 22, 2015.

Earthquake in Badakhshan. On Sunday, Nov 22nd, the US Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a 5.9 magnitude with an epicenter in Badakhshan province. Tremors were experienced as far as Kabul.

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