Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Afghan Daily News Snippets (Mar 18, 2015)

Peace Talks. The Afghan government had hoped that peace talks would have gained momentum before the U.S. visit of President Ghani and CEO Abdullah. Some see this as a setback for the Afghan government. (The Wall Street Journal, Mar 16, 2015).

Afghan Economy. This article advances the argument that, "While security in Afghanistan is essential, the backbone of Afghanistan's future - its economic growth and stability - has been neglected". Read Ariella Viehe's thoughts on this topic in "Turning the Tide on Afghanistan" Building a New U.S.-Afghanistan Economic Compact", Center for American Progress, March 17, 2015.

Women in Combat - and Physical Capability. As much as the progressive left of the U.S. society would like to see women fully integrated into all combat units there is a slight sticking point that just doesn't go away. The gender integration issue is hampered by the physical capability of women. Read Katey van Dam's thoughts on this topic in "Women in Combat Arms: Brass Tacks on Physicality", War on the Rocks, March 17, 2015.

Guantanamo Bay. "Obama Says the War Is Over. So Why Can't I Leave Gitmo?". Lawyers for a longtime detainee are trying out a new defense. If it works, he and a bunch of his fellow Gitmo prisoners could go free. (The Daily Beast, March 14, 2015).

RAF Choppers in Afghanistan. The UK Forces.TV has announced the arrival of the first RAF Puma HC Mk2 helicopters to arrive in Afghanistan to begin their maiden operational deployment. (Mar 17, 2015).

UN Renews UNAMA Mandate. On Monday the United Nations Security Council renewed the mandate for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). The resolution was approved only one day before the current mandate was due to expire. (Eurasia Review, March 17, 2015).

Support to 33rd Mountain Bn (Romania). The U.S. is assisting partner nations in the fielding of vehicles and weapons. Read more in how AFSBn-Afghanistan assisted the Romanians in TAAC South. (DVIDS, Mar 17, 2015).

Corruption. The curse of Afghanistan is corruption. Corruption fuels the insurgency, lessens the impact of humanitarian aid, diminishes the ability of the Afghan security forces, and hinders the advance of governance and development. Read more in "Tackling Corruption in Afghanistan: It's Now or Never", Center for American Progress, March 17, 2015.

GOP Lawmaker Opposes Afghan War Funding. Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.) has come out against funding for Afghanistan and wants to reallocate funding to domestic spending. He says that "Afghanistan is an absolute waste of taxpayers money. It is a true graveyard of empires". (The Hill Blog, Mar 17, 2015).

GOP Hawks. Some members of the GOP think it is a good idea that the withdrawal from Afghanistan slows down. Read more in a recent news post. (The Hill Blog, Mar 16, 2015).

Gen Mattis on Afghanistan. Retired Marine General Mattis discusses peace prospects and the reality on the ground in Afghanistan in this video ( 90 seconds). (Wall Street Journal, Mar 17, 2015).

Kabul School Closes. Aid to Afghanistan is steadily decreasing across the board. This is true in the education sector. Read a story on how reduced aid closes once thriving schools in "Afghan students in limbo after closure of school once funded by U.S.", Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2015.

More Medals = More Women. I am not sure about the scientific basis for this article but it was interesting reading. "Why Women Like War Heroes More than Any Other Kind of Guy",, March 12, 2015.

JIEDDO. The Washington Post published a story about the demise of JIEDDO, its past successes, and questions about its effectiveness. (Mar 17, 2015).

Canada Aid Program - Not so Much. It seems that folks are taking shots at Canada's aid program in Afghanistan. (Huffington Post, March 16, 2015).

Afghan Militias. Some of the militias supported by the U.S. and / or the Afghan government are running afoul of the 'rule of law'. Read more in "Afghan Militia Leaders, Empowered by U.S. to Fight Taliban, Inspire Fear in Villages", The New York Times, March 17, 2015.

ISIS in Northern Afghanistan. There is a dearth of info on the Islamic States foothold in northern Afghanistan. Many claiming to be ISIS are actually Taliban groups that are adopting the label. There is concern that members of the IMU that have been chased out of Pakistan by the Pakistani army have relocated to northern Afghanistan and will turn to ISIS. Read more in "The Black Flag South of the Amu-Darya", Radio Free Europe, March 17, 2015.

DoD Fiscal Year 2016 Budget. The House Armed Services Committee received testimony from the service chiefs on the budget. The 3 hour long video is available to view on C-Span. (March 17, 2015).

DoD Counterintelligence. The Department of Defense has published DoD Directive No. 5240.02, Counterintelligence (CI), March 17, 2015. This directive updates established policies and assigns responsibilities for conducting CI activities and reporting CI info to Congress, SecDef, and others.

Abn & AA Operations. The U.S. Army has published Field Manual (FM) 3-99, Airborne and Air Assault Operations, March 2015.

TAAC-Air Introduces Web Conferencing Software. It is hard to train and advise the many different elements of the Afghan Air Force (AAF) across Afghanistan. The TAAC-Air advisors can only go to a few places due to force protection restrictions. So they have adapted by introducing software to the AAF so they can advise all 33 AAF locations in Afghanistan. Read more in "TAAC-Air trains web conferencing", U.S. Air Forces Central Command, March 17, 2015.

St. Patrick's Day. Members of the Irish Defence Forces assigned to Resolute Support celebrated their special day at Resolute Support HQs in Kabul. The venue was the infamous Destille Garden. A look at the pictures on ISAF Facebook reveals that the Germans found their way to the event as well. Hmmmm, I wonder what the alcohol policy allowed!

Rock the Afghan Vote. A commentator on the Foreign Policy website has recommendations on how to change the election system to make each Afghan vote count. (Mar 17, 2015).

Malkasian Speaks. The former political advisor to General Dunford in Afghanistan, Carter Malkasian, spoke to students in the Maneuver Captains Career Course (MCCC) at Fort Benning, GA about his experiences with local partners in Afghanistan and the importance of building trust with them. (Bayonet & Saber, March 10, 2015).

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