On "Strategic Withdrawal" from Musa Qala. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have pulled out of two districts in Helmand province - one of them Musa Qala district. The power of the Afghan central government is on the decline and the Taliban is winning on the battlefield in many cases. Read "The retreat from Musa Qala is not 'strategic withdrawal'", Prospect Magazine, February 25, 2016.
Thoughts on U.S. Return to Helmand. One two-tour veteran of the Afghan conflict wants to know why we are putting 500 Soldiers back into a province that 10,000 Marines and others had great difficulty in security. Read "I see my old battalion assigned to Helmand again and I wonder: What is the point?", The Washington Post, February 27, 2016.
U.S. Options in Afghanistan. Anders Corr writes that America has three options in Afghanistan. Read his thoughts in "Afghanistan: Western Curse Worse Than Taliban Disease", Forbes.com, February 24, 2016.
How to Pack for Helmand Province. A Marine veteran who served in Helmand lays out his suggested packing list for those heading there for the first time in "5 Things To Pack If You're Deploying to Helmand", Task & Purpose, February 25, 2016.
Baluchistan. The low grade insurgency in of one of Pakistan's provinces (Baluchistan - just south of the Afghan border) has taken its toll on its residents. Read more in "Pakistan's Invisible Baluch Displacement Crisis", Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe, February 24, 2016.
Post Cards from Afghanistan. Showing the personal side of the Afghan conflict, Robert Cunningham, provides us with photos of the battlefield in a photo gallery by Foreign Affairs, February 24, 2016.
Pakistan Cooperative? Secretary of State John Kerry says that Pakistan has been 'very cooperative and very engaged in the fight against terrorism'. Ummmm. Okay, take that with a grain of salt. Kerry is either naive or thinks we are really stupid. Read more in an analysis by Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal (Feb 25, 2016).
Afghan Analysis by CSIS. Anthony Cordesman, one of the more astute observers of the long Afghan conflict, has updated his analysis of the security situation in "Afghanistan: The Uncertain Impact of a Year of Transition", Center for Strategic & International Studies, February 22, 2016.
"Where We Went Wrong". Mark Moyar tells us that when a military wins tactically then strategic failure is usually the result of poor civilian leadership. Read more in "Where We Went Wrong, From Afghanistan to ISIS", Newsweek, February 21, 2016.
Australia: No Afghan Strategy. According to former Army chief Peter Leahy, Australia had no strategy in Afghanistan. The security situation is sliding backwards and the U.S.-led coalition is struggling to find an exit strategy. (The Sidney Morning Herald, Feb 23, 2016).
Australian Press and Armed Forces. A war correspondent, Thom Cookes, says that it is disingenuous of the ADF to claim the story of soldiers serving in Afghanistan is largely untold when it's the ADF that has kept journalists at bay. Read more in "Afghanistan: the war they hid for too long", The Age, February 26, 2016.