Monday, March 2, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets (March 2, 2015)

India plans on assisting Afghanistan in the development of Afghanistan's marble industry. The Centre for Development of Stones (CDOS), an Indian institution for development of stone industry in India will help local Afghan businesses in skill and capacity development in the stone cutting and polishing sector. Read more in "India to develop Afghan's marble industry", Business Standard, February 19, 2015.

The ANSF are conducting a big push in the Sangin district of Helmand province. According to press reports Sangin district is now "secure". Read more in "Afghan Troops Push Taliban from Key Southern District", ABC News, February 27, 2015.

The international organization Human Rights Watch wants the Afghan government to include women as part of the negotiation team that talks to the Taliban. Women advocates are fearful that negotiators will give away women's rights in the process of reaching an agreement with the Taliban during peace talks. Read more in "Afghanistan: Don't Leave Women Out of Peace Talks", Human Rights Watch, March 1, 2015.

Pakistan is requiring all cellphone users to register their fingerprints. Read more in "Will Pakistan's Cellphone Biometric Push Pay Counter-Terrorism Dividends?", The Diplomat, February 25, 2015.

The U.S. Department of Defense has recently published (Feb 26, 2015) an updated instruction on "Common Military Training (CMT)". View doc here.

The daughter of President Ghani is an accomplished artist living in Brooklyn, New York. Read more about her in "Mariam Ghani, a Brooklyn Artist Whose Father Leads Afghanistan", The New York Times, February 20, 2015.

The U.S. Department of Defense has recently published (Feb 25, 2015) an updated version of DoD Instruction 3305.15, DoD Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Training. View doc here.

A women, Sakena Yacoobi, writes on her efforts to educate not only Afghan girls but Afghan boys as well. She started the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) to educate young girls. Then young boys started asking if she could teach them too. Read more here - "In Afghanistan, teaching men that education is not a threat", The Christian Science Monitor, February 19, 2015.

Uzbekistan, which shares its southern border with Afghanistan, has some concerns in the growth of violence and deteriorating security situation in northern Afghanistan. See "Uzbekistan Nervously Watches ISIS Advance in Afghanistan", Silk Road Reporters, February 20, 2015.

An Afghan interpreter has finally made it to the United States - due in part to the persistent efforts of a SGM to get the State Department to do its job. Read more in "It took eight years, but Afghan interpreter for 28th Division team makes it to America",, February 19, 2015.

Matthieu Aikins, writing for Rolling Stone, informs us that drug trafficking in Afghanistan is bigger than ever - especially in Helmand province. Read more in "Afghanistan: The Making of a Narco State", Rolling Stone Magazine, February 20, 2015.

Uyghur Militants in China (and Afghanistan). Afghanistan is hoping that China can contribute to the security and stability of Afghanistan and provide investment in its economic sector. There is also hope that China can assist in negotiations with both the Taliban and with Pakistan. Read more in "Seeking China's Help in Taliban Negotiations, Afghanistan Cracks Down on Uyghur Militants", by Shannon Tiezzi - The Diplomat, February 21, 2015.

Romania continues to support the Coalition and Afghanistan with its participating in the Resolute Support Mission. ROU SOAG-1 will soon depart for Afghanistan for a six-month long advising mission. Read more in "Romanian Special Operations Group leaves for Afghanistan within the 'Resolute Support" NATO mission", Romanian Journal, February 20, 2015. (Note: the accompanying photo shows a fellow with a Green Beret with a green flash as part of the ceremonial party.)

The 43rd Georgian Infantry Battalion and U.S. Marines have started their Mission Rehearsal exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany. The MRE is the final portion of a four-month long training evolution prior to Georgian deployment to Afghanistan to take part in the Resolute Support mission. Read more in "Exercise", DVIDS, February 12, 2015.

Polio Drops. Despite security concerns thousands of health workers fanned out across Afghanistan's eastern provinces to administer life-saving polio drops to nearly one million children under the age of five as part of a United Nations-backed health campaign. Read more in an UNAMA news update (Feb 22, 2015).

The Fort Campbell Courier does a profile piece (Feb 28, 2015) on Major Adisa King, the Operations Officer for 3rd Brigade Combat Team, currently deployed to Tactical Base Gamberi in Laghman province. The Rakkasans are advising the 201st ANA Corps.

A number of local uprisings against the Taliban have occurred over the last several years. Not enough to really make a difference (due to lack of ISAF interest and lack of support from GIRoA). Read a quick news report on the topic in "Afghan government supports popular uprisings against Taliban", Central Asia Online, Feb 26, 2015.

The Islamic State (IS) is steadily expanding its influence in Afghanistan. Although ISIL has not yet committed any attacks in Afghanistan, its attempt to expand its sphere of influence to Central and South Asia is alarming. Read more in "Militants of various stripes assemble under ISIL flag in northern Afghanistan", Central Asia Online, February 26, 2015.

A photographer visited Bagram Air Base (BAF) and took some photos of wall art at the airbase. Read more - "Inside Afghanistan's Bagram Airfield",, February 27, 2015.

DVIDS has a news release about a manpower analyst who works at BAF for the 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron.

Afghanistan has made an unprecedented series of goodwill actions towards Pakistan. Now Pakistan has to respond. Read more in "Afghanistan: The Ball is in Pakistan's Court", by Aziz Amin Ahmadzai in The Diplomat, February 27, 2015.

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