Mixing Combat with Alcohol. Our NATO allies, perplexed by the continued lack of alcohol consumption by U.S. forces in combat zones, will likely appreciate this article entitled "A Combined History of Combat and Alcohol", by Brad Dewees, War on the Rocks, February 12, 2016.
Video - Kuchi Nomads. Hundreds of thousands of nomads move their families and livestock back and forth across Afghanistan's border with Pakistan. The Kuchis live a hard life in a country with serious economic and security problems. Watch this 3-minute long video - Kuchi Nomads: Struggling And Stateless in War-Torn Lands, by Radio Free Europe, February 8, 2016.
Book - The Last Thousand. Jeffrey E. Stern's The Last Thousand explores the mission of a struggling Afghan school in light of reduced funding and the pullback of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. (The New York Times, Feb 7, 2016).
Child Soldiers and Afghanistan. The recent killing by the Taliban of a 12-year old 'boy soldier' has brought international attention to the issue of child soldiers in Afghanistan. Although it's illegal, government forces and insurgents have been recruiting minors for years. Read more in "Child soldiers - What's their rile in the Afghan conflict?", Deutsche Welle, February 11, 2016.
Baluchistan Troubles. The demographics of the Baluchistan province of Pakistan - situated to the south of Afghanistan - has been changing due to the influx of Afghan refugees (Pashtuns) and other immigrants. This is having a dramatic effect on the status of Pakistan's Balochs - who may, due to an upcoming census, find themselves at a disadvantage. Read more in "Pakistan's Balochs Fear Minority Status in Their Own Province", The Diplomat, February 11, 2016.
203rd Cdr Interview. Lt. General Yaftali, commander of the 203rd Corps in Afghanistan is expressing support for the upcoming peace talks and says that the people of Afghanistan hope that the talks will lead to peace and stability. He also says that his soldiers and officers have good cooperation with the Afghan police forces. (2 mins, YouTube.com, posted by Resolute Support HQs on Feb 9, 2016). www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VKaHY78pdE
DoD Biometrics Directive Updated. The DoD has updated a directive that establishes policy and assigns responsibility for DoD biometrics. Read "Department of Defense Directive Number 8521.01E, DoD Biometrics, January 13, 2016.
How Many Contractors in Afghanistan? The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Logistics & Material Readiness publishes "Quarterly Contractor Census Reports" for Central Command (CENTCOM). The January 2016 report shows that Afghanistan has 30,455 total contractors of which 10,151 are U.S. citizens, 6,586 are Third Country Nationals, and 13,718 are Local/Host Country Nationals. Most conduct logistics, maintenance, base support, communications support, construction, and security functions.
Writing about GWOT. As with every war, upon the conclusion (or as it draws near), veterans emerge who write to tell their story of their perspective of the war - whether through blogs, news articles, papers, or books. The "Global War on Terror" is no exception. Read more in "Writing today's war literature: Figuring out our story, not Hollywood's or D.C.'s", by Sebastian J. Bae, Best Defense, Foreign Policy, February 4, 2016.