Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Afghan Daily News Snippets

According to a study by the Civil and Liberal Initiative for Peace (CLIP) the Afghan tradition known as baad has tremendously decreased since 2001. Baad is the giving away of a girl or woman in marriage as blood price to settle a conflict or debt. Read more in "Decrease in the Tradition of Baad", Tolo News (AF), December 1, 2014.

An editorial by The Guardian on December 1, 2014 states that the western nations should remain committed to the security and development of Afghanistan. It says that western policy should not be short-sighted and there should be no dashing to the door.

The Afghan cabinet was supposed to be formed weeks ago but there are some small step being taken by President Ghani. See "Afghan Fires His Cabinet; Police Chief Offers to Quit", The New York Times,  November 30, 2014.

A war correspondent writes about her relationship with the military and the "embed" program. Read "Ground Wars End, and So Does a Chapter in Military-Press Relationships", The New York Times, November 30, 2104.

Provincial governors to be changed out? A news report says that the Afghan president reportedly has plans to purge some provincial leaders. Ghani feels that there is a need for a change of leadership in government and the military at the provincial level (he is absolutely correct in my view). Changes are likely in five provinces - Kunduz, Baghdis, Ghazni, Nangarhar, and Helmand. (Fox News, December 1, 2014). The Associated Press reports that the Afghan president plans to overhaul security (December 1, 2014).

The country of Iran has spoken out against the ratification of the Bilateral Security Agreement and NATO SOFA. See a news report in Khaama Press, December 1, 2014.

Secretary of State John Kerry has met with Pakistan's top military commander. Kerry says that the meeting was "productive". Perhaps that means Pakistan will stop supporting the Haqqani Network? (probably not). (Radio Free Europe, December 1, 2014).

A left of center columnist, Murray Polner, laments Obama's "expansion" of the Afghan conflict in "Deja Vu, Afghans: We're BA-A-A-A-CK!", History News Network (HNN), November 26, 2014.

A new film has come out depicting the British forces time in Helmand province. Named "Kajaki" after the Kajaki Dam - it certainly cannot be described as a recruiting film with its depiction of real live curcumstances. Read more in "Dam and blast", The Economist, November 29, 2014.

The aid group that recently was attacked in Kabul is closing up shop. The Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD) stated on Monday that it closed its Kabul office where the office's director and his two teenage children were killed. In addition, two Afghan citizens were also killed. Werner Groenewald, a 46-year-old South African, led the group's charitable activities in Kabul. Three militants stormed the small office - one with a suicide vest and two with guns. All were killed in the attack.. PAD, with an office in Redlands, CA, has operated in Afghanistan since 2002. (ABC News, December 1, 2014).

Six Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in western Badghis province. There is suspicion that it might be an insider attack. (Khaama Press, December 2, 2014).

Land ownership is a problem in Afghanistan. One aspect of the problem is the legal ownership. Between bad record keeping and corruption there is a lot of uncertainty as to who owns what. Nathan Hodge reports on this in The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2014. (subscription required).

The new Afghan leaders (Ghani and Abdullah) have met with the NATO chief in Brussels. Read more in Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe (December 2, 2014).

China, Central Asia, and Afghanistan. "Can China and the US Work Together on Counterterrorism?" This topic is explored by Kevin Peters in The Diplomat, (December 2, 2014). Another article posted on Radio Free Europe and penned by Bruce Pannier explores "China's Limits in Central Asia" (November 30, 2014). And while we are looking at China we should note that members of the Afghan House of Representatives are urging the government to move foward with plans to exploit the Aynak copper mine to increase government revenues and improve the economy. (China has the rights to the mining of the copper mine). Speaking of mining operations the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has published (Dec 1, 2014) an article by William A. Byrd and Javed Noorani entitled "Exploitation of Mineral Resources in Afghanistan".

The London Conference is taking place this week where pledges of support by the international community for Afghanistan will be expressed. President Ghani and others from Afghanistan are attending. Read "Return of the Goodwill? London conference as symbol of a new start", by Christine Roehers, posted on Afghanistan Analysts Network  on December 1, 2014. Australia is taking part in the London Conference and will be represented by the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alexander Downer. (The West Australian, Dec 2, 2014). There is an expectation that Afghanistan will outline its future strategy to fight corruption and improve the human rights situation in the country (Radio Free Europe, Dec 2, 2014). Visit the UK page on the London Conference.

The drug problem in Afghanistan has reached new heights. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has released a new report citing the failure of the war against drugs in Afghanistan. One commentator believes that we should look at legal medical uses for opium and strive to get Afghanistan to become engaged in the worldwide opiate medical field in an effort to decrease the illegal drug trade. Read the thoughts of Sohrab Rahmaty on this topic in "A Solution for Afghanistan's Opium Crisis?", The Diplomat, December 2, 2014. On another related story see "Documenting Drug Addiction in Kabul",, December 2, 2014.

The U.S. Army has recently published a new version of ATP 3-93, Theater Army Operations, November 2014. It is available to read online or download at:

A new counterintelligence unit has been established by the Director of National Intelligence (James Clapper). The National Counterintelligence and Security Center combines the functions of government security programs (background checks, investigations, countering spies, etc.).

The 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) commemorated the culmination of their mission in Afghanistan in a ceremony on December 1, 2014 at Bagram Air field. The 3rd ESC was responsible for a good part of the retrograde operation (DVIDS, Dec 1, 2014).

The Army has published TC 7-102, Operational Environment and Army Learning, November 2014.

The War is Boring website has posted a new story entitled "Clash of Strykers and Taliban: Armored vehicles versus guerrillas in Afghanistan's Arghandab Valley." (December 2, 2014).

A posting by the Institute for War & Peace Reporting entitled "Afghan Raisin Producers Hope for Sweeter Future" (December 2, 2014).

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