Clashes as Result of Borders Closing. Clashes are taking place between Afghan asylum seekers and Greek riot police as a result of Macedonia closing its borders to Afghans. Read more in "Policy Shifts on Refugees Lead to Clashes Between Migrants and Police", The New York Times, February 23, 2016.
Afghan Migration Report. A couple of organizations, RUSI and BAAG, have collaborated on a report entitled Migration & Development: The Case of Afghanistan, London Roundtable - 16th December 2015, published on 19 Feb 2016.
Asylum Seekers Disillusioned. "A special plane from Germany carrying rejected Afghan asylum seekers has landed in Kabul. What prospects do these people now have in their home country?" Read "Disillusionment driving Afghan asylum seekers back home", Deutsche Welle, February 25, 2016.
Movie - Day One. This movie about an Afghan female interpreter has been nominated for an Academy Award in the short film, live active category. The director of the movie, Henry Hughes, is a combat veteran who spent a tour in Afghanistan with the 173rd. Read more in "Cavalry scout-turned-filmaker is headed to the Oscars, interpreter in tow", Military Times, February 25, 2016.
Afghan Interpreter Aided by Army Reservist. A U.S. Army reservist was instrumental in helping an ally from his war tour to gain entry to the United States. Read more in "Army Reserve Soldier welcomes former interpreter to America", DVIDS, February 24, 2016.
Movie - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. One of my favorite move stars, Tin Fey, stars in a movie about a news reporter in Afghanistan. Evidently it is based on the adventures of journalist Kim Barker who spent some time as a reporter in Afghanistan. Hits the theaters on March 4th. The blonde that plays her sidekick is "hot", so that alone is worth the price of admission. In the states she would be a "Ten"; in Afghanistan a "Thirty". Watch the trailer here. www.whiskeytangofoxtrotthemovie.com/
Bin Laden and McRaven. Admiral McRaven was head of the special operations unit that got the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan and many remember him for that but he would rather be remembered for the totality of 37 years service. Read more in "McRaven now appreciates impact in U.S. of his bin Laden raid", The Tampa Tribune, February 25, 2016.
U.S. Payments for MSF Clinic Bombing - Not Enough? The U.S. military is paying thousands of dollars to wounded survivors and relatives of the 2 Afghans killed when a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz city this past October 2015. Families of the deceased will receive up to $6,000. Read more in "U.S. payments to Afghans in hospital attack called inadequate", Military Times, February 26, 2016.
U.S. Money Still Flowing. "How to track the taxpayer money helping to rebuild the country is a key question as budget battles begin this week." Read more in "U.S. Money Will Keep Flowing to Afghanistan As Oversight Plummets", Huffpost Politics, February 24, 2016.
DoD Probe Into Afghan Sex Abuse. "The Pentagon's inspector general is launching a 'full assessment' into multiple reports that the U.S. military encouraged troops to ignore their Afghan allies' sexual abuse of children." The practice of bacha bazi - or boy play - is one that has captured the attention of the western media and that sometimes puts American servicemen into difficult cultural and moral situations. Read a memo by the DoDIG dated February 19, 2016 on this topic.
Kabul Power Restored? After weeks of a partial blackout in the capital city electrical power has been restored. Afghanistan's national power company repaired power lines near the northern border with Uzbekistan that were cut by Taliban insurgents in January. The lines supply 280 of the 600 megawatts of power consumed daily in Kabul. Bad winter weather and security concerns delayed repairs for weeks prompting may Kabul residents to question the Afghan government.
Video Games, Deployment, and Rage Quitting. I seen lots of Soldiers playing video games on deployments; I was never into nor did I have the spare time. But evidently there is something called "Rage Quitting" - which is what happens when you combine a slow deployment in Afghanistan and video games. Read more in "A True Story of Rage Quitting in Afghanistan", Task and Purpose, February 26, 2016.
Corruption in Afghanistan? Who Knew? An anti-corruption monitoring group says that the Afghan government's official commitment to address the problem is weakening. The independent Monitoring and Evaluation Committee or MEC has released its half-year report. Read more in "Monitoring Group: Corruption Still a Problem in Afghanistan", Voice of America, February 25, 2016.
Women's Rights. Lael Mohib, founder of the Enabled Children Initiative and spouse of Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, is interviewed in "Advancing Women's Rights in Afghanistan: A Conversation with Lael Mohib", In Asia: Weekly Insight and Analysis, February 24, 2016.
Russia Gives U.S. "Cold Shoulder" Over Afghanistan. Russia is disengaging from any United States efforts to spur peace talks or to establish stability in Afghanistan. Instead Russia is concentrating efforts to ensure security prevails in countries north of Afghanistan. Read more in "Russia Pulls Back From Cooperating With U.S. on Afghanistan", The New York Times, February 20, 2016.