Books, Reports, and Pubs
SIGAR Report. Phil Hegseth writes about a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on the number of Afghan trainees that go AWOL in the United States during training events and while attending military courses and schools. (FDD's Long War Journal, Oct 23, 2017).
Book on Extortion 17. A new book is out about a SOF mission in Afghanistan that cost 30 American lives. Extortion 17 was the call sign of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter that was infiltrating U.S. Navy SEALs on a mission. A small element of Taliban fired a rocket propelled grenade at the chopper and hit the rear tail rotor causing a catastrophic crash. Read a review of the book in "New Book Tells Story of Fallen Navy SEALs from Shreveport", Shreveport News, October 26, 2017.
The U.S. and China's BRI. The 'Belt and Road Initiative' of China will have a great impact on the economy and development of Central Asia. To an extent, this will have implications for Afghanistan as well. Read more in an article by Luke Coffey of the Foreign Policy Center at the Heritage Foundation in the Huffington Post, October 23, 2017.
AAN Examines Ministry of Education . . . and Corruption Within. The Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) recently released its 'vulnerability to corruption' assessment of the Ministry of Education. The Afghanistan Analyst Network summarizes the reports findings and recomendations and concludes that this is the first eye-opening report on corruption produced by an Afghan institution. (AAN, 29 Oct 2017).
Improving Healthcare in Afghanistan. The World Bank has published a story on a program for improving access to medical treatment. See "Partnering to Improve Healthcare in Afghanistan", The World Bank, October 23, 2017.
Red Cross Scaling Back. The International Committee of the Red Cross is closing down some of its clinics and reducing staff in Afghanistan due to security concerns. "Red Cross To Scale Back in Afghanistan", NPR, October 26, 2017.
Bowe Bergdahl - The Deserter. Bergdahl has decided to plead guilty to desertion. While he faces up to life in prison it is doubtful he will spend that much time behind bars. Sentencing to come. Read "Why the Army Can't Forgive Bowe Bergdahl and May Lock Him Up for Life", Daily Beast, October 22, 2017.
Erik Prince - and Afghanistan. Prince, the founder of Blackwater, is still giving voice to his belief that 2,000 Green Berets and 6,000 contractors could win the war in Afghanistan. See "A Private Military", The Ottawa Herald, October 26, 2017.
U.S - Pakistan Relations. The ties between the US and Pakistan have frayed over the past several years and they are unlikely to improve during the Trump administration. Pakistan's support of the Taliban insurgents that kill members of the Afghan security forces (as well as U.S. and NATO troops) have weakened the relationship. A recent news report provides a timeline of the ups and downs of the relations between the two countries. Read "Factbox: U.S.-Pakistan ties falter as Afghanistan war drags on", Reuters, October 23, 2017.
Family Held Hostage. More Details on the Released Family Held Hostage in Pakistan are recounted in an article in The Guardian, October 24, 2017.
Drones Fighting Drones. Over the past few years there have been reports of the Taliban using drones for various purposes. Conducting battlefield reconnaissance, filming there attacks, and more. ISIS has rapidly put small, commercially available drones into use in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has responded to the threat. Read how the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO) has picked up the anti-drone mission in an article by Caroline Houck - "The Pentagon's IED-Hunters Have a New Target: Drones", Defense One, October 26, 2017.
Afghan Youth in Syria. Iran has recruited thousands of Afghan youths to fight on its behalf in Syria. In an attempt to escape poverty and lack of jobs the Afghan Shiites have taken on jobs offered by Iran to join the Tehran-backed Fatemiyoun division fighters in Syria. The primary motivation is not religion - it is money and the promise of legal residency in Shiite-dominated Iran. Read "Just about money: Iran recruits Afghans for Syrian Fight", by Anne Chaon, Yahoo! News, October 24, 2017.