AAF 'Friendly Fire' Incident. A airstrike by the Afghan Air Force (AAF) in Gereshk district, Helmand province on Sunday, October 1st killed approximately ten members of the ANDSF. Several others were wounded. The Afghan government (and U.S. military) has been pinning hopes on the expansion of the Afghan Air Force . . . believing an increase in close air support capability will go a long way to defeat the insurgents. However, many times the use of air power in a counterinsurgency environment can be troublesome. (Reuters, Oct 1, 2017).
Aussies In for the Long Haul. The Australian military has a train, advise, and assist mission in Afghanistan generally in the Kabul area. See "Australia's commitment in Afghanistan to last decades", SBS.com, October 5, 2017.
OCC-R in Helmand Tracks the Battlefield. The Marines with Task Force Southwest are helping the ANDSF utilize their Operational Coordination Center - Regional at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan more accurately and efficiently. Read "A Clear Picture: U.S. Marines and ANDSF continue to enhance battle tracking capabilities", DVIDS, October 4, 2017.
3rd ID Sustainment Bde to Afg. The Fort Stewart-based Sustainment Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division is heading to Afghanistan. The brigade, nick-named "The Providers", will keep other units supplied with essentials like food, ammo, and repair parts for vehicles. The deployment is expected to last 9 months and will be headquartered at Bagram Air Field. (Savanah Now, Oct 5, 2017).
1,000 More NATO Troops. News reports say that the U.S. Department of Defense is looking for NATO to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan to augment the 3-4K the U.S. is sending. The increase of U.S. troops is expected to cost over 1 Billion per year. Hmmmm. I wonder how far that would go if we just handed over the money to the Afghans? Oh, that's right. The corruption thing.
Pakistan Artillery Fire Landing in Nangarhar. The Afghan government is protesting the firing of artillery rounds over the border in recent days.
Downed U.S. Aircraft? Nope, Didn't Happen. The Taliban issued a statement saying that they had shot down an aircraft in Parwan province. Resolute Support HQs was quick to deny the report.
Blackhawk Helicopter Ceremony. The U.S. and Afghan government held a ceremony in Kandahar to celebrate the passing of a couple of UH-60s from U.S. to Afghan Air Force (AAF) control. The outfitting of the UH-60s to the AAF is being heralded as a 'big deal'. No word on how the AAF will maintain the very complex and expensive helicopters. Nor is there any real discussion on how air support will really help change the tactical situation on the ground. Presumably the Afghan Army and police will improve their performance because some expensive helicopters are overhead. I guess time will tell . . . in about four to ten years?
R4&S. A new acronym has emerged from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) that possibly spells out the U.S. strategy for Afghanistan. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis explained what R4&S means during testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 3, 2017. Read "R4&S - A New DoD Acronym for the Afghanistan Conflict", SOF News, October 3, 2017.