Friday, January 2, 2015

Daily News Snippets - (Jan 2, 2015)

A suicide bomber drove his explosive-laden vehicle (some reports say 'truck' and others 'Toyota Corolla') into an ANA base in central Maiden Wardak province on Tuesday. (Tolo News, Dec 30, 2014). The bomber was killed and one Afghan soldier was injured (some reports say killed). The incident took place in the Sayed Aabad district.

Joshua Keating, a staff writer at Slate focusing on international affairs, asks "Is America's Longest War Really Over?", Slate, December 29, 2014. He seems to think that the conclusion of combat operations in Afghanistan felt awfully anticlimactic and less than definite. 

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) published a statement on their website saying the 'so-called governor' of Kapisa was killed with two of his aides. I would link to the statement on the MoI website but China has infected the Afghan government websites with malware and I don't know if the problem has been cleared up!

And about that malware attack by China . . . Khaama Press (an Afghan news outlet) has more on that story in "Cyber attack on Afghan Government Websites? Was it really an attack?" (Dec 30, 2014). 

Anna Mulrine writes in The Christine Science Monitor about the ending of the ISAF combat mission and move to continue advisory and counterterrorism missions in Afghanistan. Read her story here (Dec 29, 2014).

John McCain says that Afghanistan is on the verge of becoming another Iraq. He says pulling troops out for political reasons is a mistake that could lead to instability and violence similar to what we now see in Iraq. (Defense News, Dec 30, 2014).

A blue-ribbon commission on military compensation and retirement is coming to the end of its two-year long study and will be releasing its proposals for change in early February. The Defense Department will review the proposed changes and then send its recommendations to President Obama. Those who currently serve in the military and those who have retired are holding their breath. There is concern that the retirement system could be changed (for the worse) and that Tricare could get folded into Obamacare or Medicare (oh, that would hurt). Then, of course, there are our admirals and generals who like big ships and expensive planes (can you spell J-35) and feel that lower pay and reduced benefits could help fund the big ticket items. It is hard to see how the enlisted man comes out ahead on the upcoming changes. Read more in "DoD braces for political battle over military pay", Military Times, December 30, 2014.

While President Obama has declared a "responsible end" to the Afghan War - others seem to think that the war is still on-going. Read "Afghan's War Remains Fierce After Coalition Ends Combat Mission", The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2014.

It seems a lot of money was spent on women's programs in Afghanistan but that some of it may have been poorly spent resulting in less than anticipated gains. Read more in "U.S. failed to track spending on aid for Afghan women, auditor finds", Los Angeles Times, December 30, 2014.

A news article by Dan Murphy, a staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, entitled "The Afghan war that didn't really end yesterday ended in defeat" (Dec 29, 2014). He states that none of the claimed long term objectives for the war in Afghanistan,either from the Bush or Obama administrations, have been achieved.

It appears that the Australians were present for the "Secret Ceremony" that marked the end of the ISAF mission and the beginning of the Resolute Support mission. There are still about 400 Australians in Afghanistan who haven't got the word that the war is over; several attended the ceremony. Read more in an Australian news report (Dec 30, 2014). 

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