Sunday, July 2, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

More Visas for Interpreters. A U.S. Senate committee has approved 4,000 more Visas for Afghans who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters or support staff. The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program is designed to help Afghans who assisted the U.S. in the Afghan conflict to immigrate to the United States. See "U.S. Senate Committee Approves 4,000 More Special Visas for Afghans", Gandhara, June 29, 2017.

Key Leader Training for RS HQs Advisors. The Resolute Support Headquarters conducts a 4-day training course for those military personnel who are assigned to be advisors to the MoD or MoI. One day the 'newcomer's briefing day' - learning the aspects of living and working in Afghanistan on Camp RS in Kabul. A second day is Guardian Angel training - ensuring that you are aware of and know how to respond to an insider threat or green-on-blue incident. Two days is spent on learning how RS HQs conducts its Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission and how the RS HQs staff works within the 8 Essential Functions framework. Read more in "Resolute Support trains its people, improving advisor training", U.S. Central Command, June 26, 2017.

Logistics Advising in Afghanistan. The current coalition mission in Afghanistan is to train, advise, and assist (TAA) the Afghan police and military. From a logistics standpoint, creating a self-sustaining afghan military is an important step forward to ensure the Afghans can independently secure their borders and provide for internal security. A logistics advisor, to be effective, must understand that the Western military logistics framework and culture is not a good fit for Afghanistan's military or culture. Read more in "Moving forward with logistics advising in Afghanistan",, May 1, 2017.

Report: Islamic State in Afghanistan. Abdul Basit has penned a 21-page article entitled "IS Penetration in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Assessment, Impact and Implications", Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 11, No 3, June 2017. IS is now competing with al-Qaeda and the Taliban over recruitment, resources, and the loyalties of local militant groups. This has complicated the militant landscape, contributed to the Sunni-Shia conflict, and adds complexity to the effort of the Afghan government and its coalition partners.

Air Force Cross Awarded. An airman was awarded the Air Force Cross for heroism during the 2002 Operation Anaconda that took place in the Takur Gar area of Afghanistan. TSgt Keary Miller provided critical medical care to 10 wounded U.S. service members under dangerous conditions. Read more in "Survival on Takur Gar", Air Force Magazine, August 2017.

Bowe Bergdahl Trial Update. Bergdahl's long, drawn-out trial is proceeding ahead. A military judge made a key ruling saying that prosecutors can try the soldier on the charge of endangering his comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. See "Bowe Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed", Army Times, June 30, 2107.

BBC Podcast on Silk Road. This 40-minute long podcast is entitled "Silk Routes: Two Thousand Years of Trading". The economic highway from China, across Central Asia and Afghanistan, to Iran.

China's Silk Road in Afghanistan is a Bumpy Ride. The Chinese have made some important steps forward in providing investments in some key sectors of the Afghan - most notable is the mining sector. However, the return on investment is disappointing due to the deteriorating security situation. Read more in "Difficult Trek on Silk Road in Afghanistan", Asia Sentinel, June 29, 2017.

Afghans Fighting for Assad in Syria. Iran, over the past several years, has pressed into service citizens of Afghanistan to fight for the Assad regime in Syria. There are an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Afghans fighting in the Syrian conflict. Read "How Iran Recruited Afghan Refugees to Fight Assad's War", The New York Times, June 30, 2017.

General Dunford Visits Afghanistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (and former ISAF commander) visited Kabul and Helmand province to gain ground truth on the Afghan conflict. See "Dunford arrives in Afghanistan as Marines work to rekindle relations in Helmand", Military Times, June 26,2017.

Video of Guardian Angel Training. Australian troops in Afghanistan are conducting the train, advise, and assist mission. This entails advisors and trainers visiting Afghan police and Army installations and garrisons. With the constant threat of insurgent attacks as well as the insider threat the need exists for a force protection element to accompany the advisors on their missions. Watch a short video about Australian soldiers assigned the "Guardian Angel" task of keeping their fellow Aussie soldiers safe in Guardian Angels Protecting Australian Soldiers in Afghanistan, Perth Now, June 27, 2017.

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