Monday, March 30, 2015

Afghan News Snippets (Mar 30, 2015)

Light News Day! There wasn't much news on the Internet Sunday when I put this newsletter together. I suppose everyone is suffering from "news fatigue" on the topics of the Ghani-Abdullah visit to D.C., the Farkhunda murder, and ISIS in Afghanistan. There is lots of other stuff going on in the world capturing the headlines to include Iran nuclear talks, crashed German airliner, troubles in Yemen, and the ongoing conflict in Syria and Iraq. Of course, the weekends are usually relatively slow when it comes to news.

Then again, maybe I got scared of being on the computer most of the day after reading the newly released (2015) report by RAND Corporation entitled "A Review of Research on Problematic Internet Use and Well-being: With Recommendations for the U.S. Air Force". It seems that 6% of the Air Force personnel suffer from Problematic Internet Use or PIU.
"Just as the Internet was becoming part of everyday life in the mid-1990s, mental health professionals started seeing patients who were so absorbed in their online activities that they were neglecting their important social relationships, their work responsibilities, and even their health."
More Afghan Tour of U.S. News. The U.S. State Department released a statement (through its Bureau of International Information Programs) on the recent President Ghani visit to the United States. Read "Afghanistan is moving forward, with help from its friends", Share America, March 27, 2015.

Abdullah Interview - BBC. CEO Abdullah is interviewed by BBC where he expressed optimism that his country was on the path towards self-reliance but noted that more must be done for continued strength. He discusses the need for continued international assistance, possibility of peace talks, threat from ISIS, women's rights, and more. Watch the four minute video. (4 mins).

Abdullah Interview - NPR. Dr. Abdullah is interviewed by National Public Radio (NPR). Some observations by the CEO: Karzai ruined the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship and it needed to be repaired; Ghani and Abdullah put aside their egos for the good of Afghanistan and formed the National Unity Government, it is good to leave the door open for peace talks with the Taliban, and more.

Ghani, U.S. Assistance, and Women's Rights. Catherine Powell, writing for the Development Channel Blog of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) hesitantly supports the modified departure of U.S. troops in Afghanistan as it will help Afghanistan to ensure women's rights are improved over the next several years. Read "Mr. Ghani Goes to Washington", March 27, 2015.

Graphics Showing US Public's Thoughts on Afghanistan. USA Today says that the percentage of Americans who think it was a mistake to enter Afghanistan has increased by 40 percentage points over the past 13 years. (March 29, 2015).

Foreign Fighters in Afghanistan (1980-1992). Dr. Avraham Sela presented a talk entitled "State, Society and Transnational Islamic Volunteer Fighters in Comparative Perspective: Palestine 1948 and Afghanistan (1980-92)" at the Center for Security Studies of of Georgetown. Read more on his talk in an article by Georgetown Security Studies Review (March 28, 2015).

Loose Nukes in Pakistan? An article in Eurasia Review says that Pakistan's nukes (between 90 to 120) are a lot safer than folks think. Read "Safety and Security of Pakistan's Nuclear Installations", (March 29, 2015).

Video - LTG Eikenberry and Dr. Ali Jalali. A 50-minute long video provides us with a presentation by former LTG Karl Eikenberry and Dr. Ali Jalali who talk about state-building in Afghanistan. Eikenberry did two tours in Afghanistan and was also an ambassador to Afghanistan. Dr. Jalali was born in Kabul and has been a U.S. citizen since 1987. He currently is a professor on Near East and South Asia studies at the Center for Strategic Studies of the U.S. National Defense University.  (Posted by the United States Institute for Peace on, March 20, 2015, 50 minutes long).

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