Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets (Mar 24, 2015)

Afghan President Visit to U.S. This week most of the headlines regarding Afghanistan will be about the visit to the United States (D.C., Camp David, and NYC) by Afghan President Ghani and his Chief Executive Officer Abdullah. They will be meeting with President Obama, SecDef Carter, and State's John Kerry. In addition, they will be interviewed by various media personalities and policy wonks. There are a number of goals that Ghani will want to accomplish. Re-establish good relations with the U.S., delay troop withdrawals (or at least slow down) during 2015 and 2016, and ensure continued funding of his government and security forces.

Ghani Schedule. The Afghan leaders have a busy schedule this week. A DoD news release published on March 21, 2015 outlines the meetings and agenda.

Why U.S. Troops Should Stay. Peter Bergen, CNN national security analyst, writes that the U.S. needs to keep its troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016. (CNN News, March 22, 2015). President Ghani is interviewed in a two-minute clip that is embedded within the news article.

Delicate Task for Ghani. Sudarsan Raghavan writes about President Ghani's "delicate task" when he arrives in Washington. He must convince Congress and the President ". . . that Afghanistan is on the right track but still requires monetary aid and military support . . ." (The Washington Post, Mar 21, 2015).

Successful Visit Predicted. Michael Kugelman, writing at Foreign Policy (Mar 19, 2015) says that Ghani should have a good visit but it probably won't do much to solve his problems home in Afghanistan.

Webcast w/ Abdullah Abdullah. On Thursday, March 26th (2:00 pm to 3:30 pm) the Brookings Institute will host Afghan CEO Abdullah Abdullah for  a conversation to discuss the challenges that lie ahead for Afghanistan. Micheal O'Hanlon will provide introductory remarks and Bruce Riedel will moderate the discussion. The event will be webcast so you can view it over the Internet.

What Does ISIS Really Want. One of the concerns that President Ghani brings to Washington, D.C. is the arrival of ISIS in Afghanistan. According to some news reports, ISIS has established a foothold in six of the 34 provinces in Afghanistan. Although ISIS is not yet a real threat there is a lot of teeth grinding and lots of talk about this development. Of course, it strengthens Ghani's argument for continued U.S. support (militarily and economically). But what exactly is ISIS? One author, Graeme Wood, explains that to us in an article in The Atlantic (March 2015). He states that "The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse." In his article he explains ISIS's strategy - and how it can be stopped.

TAAC-North Commander Meets with Media. The new TAAC-North commander, BG Andreas Hannemann, met with members of the Afghan press at Camp Marmal (just outside of Mazer-e Sharif) where he praised their work and also wish Afghans a Happy New Year (Nowrouz) and good fortune in 1394. (RS News, Mar 21, 2015).

U.S. NSRS, China's Silk Road, and India's Cotton Road. Central Asia has been seeing renewed interest the last several years from the 'great powers'. There is interest among the world's bigger nations to develop influence (political and economic) in Central Asia. The United States is interested in a stable Central Asia - which will assist in Afghanistan's stability. In addition, the U.S. feels that a economically robust Central Asia will help out Afghanistan's economy - one principle reason for the New Silk Road Strategy (NSRS). China has rolled out its "New Silk Road" initiative with hopes of expanding its political influence and developing markets for its products and services as well as transit routes (rail and roads) to European markets. Not to be left out, India is working on its "Cotton Route" (I guess they don't have silk). Read more in a news article by Sushma Swaraj in The Economic Times, March 23, 2015.

TAAC-South Provides Update on ANDSF. The Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South located at Kandahar Air Field provided a news release (DVIDS, Mar 22, 2015) detailing advances made in human resources management for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Of importance was the assistance provided to an identification card team from the Afghan Ministry of Interior tied to the human resources database that will increase the Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight (TAO) of the Afghan police.

JIEDDO. LTG John Johnson, the head of JIEDDO, is interviewed about the future of the organization in a news report by Defense News, March 20, 2015.

Words - Biographer, Mistress, One-Time Lover, or Resilient? General (retired) Petraeus recently received a guilty sentence for passing classified information to his biographer (Paula Broadwell). This puts Paula back into the news as well. Paula spent quite a bit of time at ISAF HQs in Kabul meeting with high-level officers while she was doing the biography of Petraeus (at the time he was COMISAF). Her status as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army Reserves with a high-level security clearance surely helped with writing the book and getting access to information. So . . . when describing Paula's role in this affair how should she be portrayed? Read more in "Paula Broadwell, in one word", The Charlotte Obeserver, March 20, 2015.

BOLO Toyota Corolla. Intelligence officials at Resolute Support HQs in Kabul have determined that many of the vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIED) are conducted using a unique automobile not commonly found in Afghanistan. This should make the identification of possible VBIEDs much easier. The updated "Be On the Lookout Out" listing includes Toyota Corollas of all years from 1980 to present and of all colors. Previously the colors were only "White Toyota Corolla". (A little humor from The Duffel Blog, Mar 23, 2015).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.