"The Winter Storms of Northern Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, February 14, 2016.
Taliban Fighting in Ghazni. The Nawa district is seeing some fighting between different Taliban factions (Mullah Mansoor vs. Mullah Mohammad Rasool). There also seems to be some discontent among Taliban groups in Paktika province as well. Read "Deadly clashes erupting between rival Taliban groups in Ghazni", Khaama Press, February 16, 2016.
Scores Killed in Helmand. The fighting in Helmand province goes on. The districts of Sangin and Marjah are heavily contested - and we are just talking about the district government compound; not the outlying areas of the district away from the district center - those areas being under the control of the Taliban. There is concern among observers that the provincial capital may be threatened. Read more in "Dozens of Afghan soldiers and police killed in Helmand", Reuters, February 16, 2016.
Ghost Soldiers. One of the persistent problems of the ANDSF is the "Ghost" soldier or policeman. The salaries are being paid but they are not present for duty since they 1) don't report to work, 2) don't exist, 3) have been killed, 4) etc., etc., and etc. Read more in "Pentagon scrambles to account for Afghan 'ghost' troops", Military Times, February 16, 2016.
Bergdahl Trade. Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says that the U.S. may have paid too heavy a price for the deserter. (Business Insider, Feb 18, 2016).
ANDSF Completes Anti-ISIS Opn. In this 30-second long video we learn that the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces have completed an anti-ISIS operation in Achin district, Nangarhar province. (Radio Free Europe, Feb 15, 2016). In addition, the U.S. is bombing ISIS and the Taliban are also fighting ISIS. Hmmmm.
Swedish-run Med Clinic Attacked. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) says that the ANDSF conducted a raid on its health clinic in Wardak province in the village of Tangi Saidan. The village is reported to be under the control of the Taliban. Government sources say three Taliban fighters in the clinic were killed. Read more in "Afghanistan: Three killed in raid on Swedish-run clinic", BBC News, February 18, 2015.
ICRC Workers Kidnapped. Five aid workers belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were kidnapped and then released in southeastern Ghazni province. The ICRC has been operating in Afghanistan since 1987. (Khaama Press, Feb 19, 2016.)
Power Restored? Kabul has experienced an electrical power shortage due to transmission lines north of the city being interdicted by the Taliban. It appears that, after one month, the lights will soon come back on in the big city.
AAF Needs More Support. The National Security Advisor for Afghanistan, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, says that the Afghan Air Force needs more support from the United States. (Khamma Press, Feb 16, 2016).
AAF and CIVCAS. One news report indicates that civilian casualties caused by the Afghan Air Force is rising. See "The U.S.-funded Afghan air force is growing. So are civilian casualties it causes", The Washington Post, February 17, 2016.
BG Hicks to NATO Air Training Command - Afghanistan. BG David Hicks is heading to Afghanistan. See "Five officers to change roles, Air Force announces", Air Force Times, February 19, 2016.
About that MoD HQs Building. The Special Inspector General for the Reconstruction of Afghanistan (SIGAR) never seems to run out of bad news to report to the U.S. Congress on how badly things are going in Afghanistan. One of their latest reports tells us of the waste of money and construction problems associated with the new MoD headquarters building in Kabul. Read more in the SIGAR report dated February, 2016.
Drones for ANA. The Afghan army will receive their first unmanned aircraft in March according to a U.S. official. The U.S. will provide the remotely piloted ScanEagle and train up Afghan soldiers to operate the system. Afghans are currently being trained in the United States. A training period of three years will also take place in Afghanistan for about three years. Some of the initial training will take place in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif. The ANA will receive 8 systems with each system having six drones. (Reuters, Feb 18, 2016).
Poor ANDSF Leadership. "General John Campbell, the outgoing commander of Resolute support Mission and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, has said that poor leadership within the ranks of the Afghan security forces is their biggest hurdle and called on the country's leaders to bring reforms". Read more in a news report - "Poor Leadership A Major Issue for Afghan Troops: Campbell", Tolo News, February 13, 2016.