Sunday, November 30, 2014

Afghan Daily News Snippets

On November 29, 2014 the Taliban attacked the office of an organization that provides aid and services in Afghanistan. The attack took place near the Afghan parliament. The organization, PATH, operates around the world. IT APPEARS THAT THE ORGANIZATION IS "PARNERSHIP IN ACADEMICS & DEVELOPMENT (PAD)". Initial reports indicate that hostages were taken but then the CRU conducted an assault and rescued them. The Taliban claimed that it was a Christianity center and also used for intelligence gathering with many Australians attending a meeting. It was the 11th attack in Kabul in just two weeks. Read more in a news report by The Washington Post (November 29, 2014). See also a news report by Stars and Stripes.

The Mail Online (UK) has posted an article (28 Nov 14) about how Afghan interpreters have been left to the mercy of the Taliban. The news is that the Taliban are targeting interpreters who worked with US forces and that the interpreters live in constant fear of attack. Although a few have been fortunate to be able to get visas to immigrate to the U.S. many more have been denied visas for apparently trivial reasons.

President Ghani appears to be taking a different approach with his countries foreign policy by maintaining relations with international and regional players. Regional politics in South Asia and in greater Asia is complex and this article tries to explain some of it. Read more in "Signs of change in Afghanistan's foreign policy",, November 29, 2014.

A news report details the death of a British special forces officer, a member of the Special Boat Service (SBS), in a raid against the Taliban in December 2013. Read more in "Special Forces soldier died in perilous raid on Taliban haven", The Telegraph, November 27, 2014.

A correspondent with time in Afghanistan writes a discouraging piece on the prospects of success for Afghanistan. He provides a long detailed explanation of all that is wrong with Afghanistan and why the future seems dim. Read "So long, good luck", The Economist, November 29, 2014.

Thanksgiving in Afghanistan is a bitter sweet time of the year for Americans. (I know having spent 7 Thanksgivings away from my family in the past 12 years in places like Africa, Iraq, and Afghanistan). The break from the routine and the good meal served up by the dining facilities is a welcome event; but realizing your not with your family is a letdown. However, the military does try to make it a good day for all. Read how TAAC-S and the 1st Cav spent their Thanksgiving (DVIDS, November 28, 2014).

Kabul has seen a dramatic increase in attacks in 2014. Read more in a Stars and Stripes report (November 27, 2014) entitled "2 attacks in Kabul target foreigners".

The United States, despite overwhelming odds against success, is continuing its efforts to reduce the narcotics trade in Afghanistan. CACI International has been awarded a $62 million contract to support counter narco-terrorism for U.S. Central Command to include work to be done in Afghanistan. Read a press release by CACI (November 25, 2014) for more information. 

Afghanistan's music culture is slowly taking shape. Read more in "Afghan band: We use love songs to make a statement", The Times of India, November 29, 2014.

Radio Free Europe has posted an article about Rula Ghani and her very open support of women's rights in Afghanistan. See "Afghanistan's First Lady Seeks to Blaze New Trail" (November 28, 2014).

The RAND Corporation recently conducted a survey and published a paper that reveals basic training 2014 to be much easier than training in earlier years. Apparently this trend is across all three services; although the report acknowledges that basic training for the Air Force was "always easy". Read more in "Survey: Basic Training Now Easier Than When You Were There", Duffel Blog, November, 28, 2014.

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