Sunday, July 23, 2017
Former TAAC-South Cdr Promoted. Maj. Gen. S. Lee Henry, the former commander of Train, Advise, and Assist - South, has been selected to command the 36th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army National Guard. He was recently promoted to MG. See "The 36th Division holds Change of Command at Texas State Capitol", DVIDS, July 15, 2017.
Ambassador to Afghanistan Nominated - Finally. John Bass, currently the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, has been nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan. The post has been vacant for several months. Bass has also seen service in Iraq - so he is somewhat familiar with nations in the midst of conflict. Bass has been the ambassador to Turkey since fall 2014. He is a career Senior Foreign Service officer. See "White House to Nominate John Bass As U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, July 21, 2017. View his official bio at DoS.
ANDSF and the "New" APPS. The Afghan Personnel and Pay System is an automated system that generates payroll information for the Ministry of Finance while integrating authorizations, personnel record management and payroll functions into one system for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. According to a press release by RS HQs . . . this is a new system. I don't know; seems like we have been rolling out this new system for about three years now. I could be wrong. Read "ANDSF gets new personnel, pay system", Resolute Support, July 21, 2017. Read more about the Afghan Personnel and Pay System.
More Troops to Afghanistan? Maybe Not? It is hard to get a read on President Trump as he is so unpredictable. A recent quote by Trump during a visit to the Pentagon is revealing. When asked if he would send more troops to Afghanistan he replied "We'll see. And we're doing very well against ISIS. ISIS is falling fast." Ummmm. Not sure what to say about that . . . so I will just leave it right there. For more see "Trump suggests that more U.S. troops might not be needed in Afghanistan", The Washington Post, July 20, 2017.
Afghan Girls Robotics Team. They won the silver in the U.S. in the First Global robotics competition. Lots of press coverage on this. Congratulations! The girls initially had some perplexing visa problems (denied twice by the State Department for no apparent reason - of course) but that got fixed.
'Fatemiyoun Division' - Iran's Afghan Shi'a in Syria. Iran has sent thousands of Afghan Shi'a to fight on its behalf in support of the Assad regime. Many of them are on the front lines after undergoing minimal training and the unit has suffered extremely high losses. Read more in "Iran Aims to Boost Prestige of Beleaguered Afghan Proxy Force in Syria", Radio Free Europe, July 15, 2017.
3rd ID HQs to Deploy. About 250 Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia are heading to Afghanistan. Many of the Soldiers will work at Bagram Air Field where they will function as the U.S. forces national support element in Afghanistan. Read more in "About 250 3rd ID Soldiers prepare for Afghanistan", Savannah Now, July 21, 2017.
SOSi Lands Another Afghan Contract. SOS International has won a $9 million contract to provide information dissemination and counter-misinformation services to Resolute Support. Read more in a news release by GOVCONWIRE, July 21, 2017.
Justice and Human Rights. Dr. Sima Samar, Chairperson of the Afghan Human Rights Commission, provides her perspective on what has gone wrong in Afghanistan and has recommendations on what the international community needs to do next. See "Afghanistan: This War Cannot Be Won With Bombs", Deutsche Welle, July 18, 2017.
Poppies - Not Just the Taliban. Many observers believe that the poppy trade in Afghanistan is controlled largely by the Taliban - not so much. Franz J. Marty, a freelance journalist in Afghanistan, writes up on who the poppy growers are in "Afghanistan's Opium Trade: A Free Market of Racketeers", The Diplomat, July 19, 2017.
MSF Back in Kunduz. Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) has reopened a small medical clinic in Kunduz. The new clinic is not at the same location as the trauma center destroyed by a USAF AC-130 in 2015. (Radio Free Europe, July 22, 2017).
UN Report: Increase in Civilian Deaths. Civilian loss of life in Afghanistan due to the conflict has risen when compared to last year. Read "UN reports increase in Afghanistan civilian deaths", Deutshe Welle, July 17, 2017.