Saturday, January 3, 2015

Daily News Snippets (Jan 3, 2015)

A news report by Tom Bowman summarizes the change in mission for the United States and the international community in Afghanistan. Tom says while the 'combat mission' is at a close with the end of Operation Enduring Freedom there will actually still be some fight left in the U.S. military. For one, the U.S. will continue to provide (admittedly on a very limited basis) some air support to avoid a catastrophic failure of the Afghan National Army . In addition, SOJTF-A will still have some combat advisors deployed with the nine Afghan Army Commando Kandaks and other specialized elite units. And, of course, there is the counter-terrorism mission against senior Taliban and al-Qaeda. However, the main mission focuses on the train and advise mission. Read more in "After Years of Conflict, U.S. Mission Shifts in Afghanistan", NPR Parallels, December 31, 2014.

The 608th Construction Management Team (CMT) has departed Afghanistan. Their primary mission was the conduct of retrograde operations all over Afghanistan. They assisted with the closing and transfer of Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and managed descoping projects. Read more in "608th Construction Management Team retrograde Afghanistan", DVIDS, December 31, 2014.

The Russians, who had their own long war in Afghanistan, are being slightly critical of the United States role in Afghanistan. Read more in "Kremlin Says NATO 'Bears Responsibility' For Afghanistan Security", Radio Free Europe, December 31, 2014.

Haroun Mir, an Afghan analyst in Kabul and founder of Afghanistan's Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) provides us with his viewpoint on Afghanistan's future. Read "Is Afghanistan ready for the drawdown?", Yahoo! News UK, January 1, 2015.

Afghan Cabinet. There is still no Afghanistan government cabinet selected. Afghans are getting frustrated and the government is hampered in its efforts to improve the economy and security situation. Read more in "Still No Cabinet in Kabul: Who Loses Most?", United States Institute of Peace, December 31, 2014.

Four Azizi Bank employees were among 4 killed in a Helmand province explosion on Friday, January 2, 2015. The banks branch manager was among those killed.

The U.S. Army is coming out with new Physical Fitness gear. The new outfit is all black with yellow lettering that says "ARMY". Very original. Also great wear for running down Gruber Avenue on Fort Bragg 6:00 am on a winter morning when it is still dark out.  The new Army Physical Fitness Uniform or APFU drops reflective materials - which addresses stealth issues while working out in a war zone (I am serious!). Read more in "Costs for high-performance Army PT gear", Army Times, January 1, 2015.

The "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" - more commonly known as the Taliban - have released a video that showcases its operations and a training camp in the remote northeastern province of Kunar. Read more in "Taliban highlights training camp, operations in Kunar in video", The Long War Journal, January 2, 2015.

Do you want to know how the Department of Defense wasted the U.S. taxpayers dollars? Well, first off, there is the J-35. And there is more. Read "Here's How the Military Wasted Your Money in 2014", War is Boring, December 31, 2014.

A short (3 mins) video about the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) can be viewed here. (Facebook).

A political observer of Afghanistan, Tamim Asey, provides an insight into the future of Afghanistan and says that the country has three options to pick from to ensure a secure and economically prosperous future. Read "End of Longest American War and Uncertain Future of Afghanistan - OpEd", Eurasia Review, January 2, 2015.

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