Saturday, March 28, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets (Mar 28, 2015)

New Banking Law? The Afghan parliament may approve a new banking law that includes provisions for Islamic banking. Read more in "New Afghanistan banking law may jump-start Islamic finance", Yahoo! News, March 27, 2015.

ISIS and Taliban. Some experts think that certain elements of the Taliban may end up pledging allegiance to ISIS. Listen to the thoughts of regional analysts Scott Stewart and Michael Waltz on the operational capabilities of ISIS in South Asia and the importance of the U.S. to rethink its withdrawal strategy. (Fox News, Mar 25, 2015).

NATO Backs Slower US Exit. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has embraced the U.S. decision to slow down the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. (Voice of America, Mar 26, 2015).

China and India. The two regional powers of China and India are competing for influence in Afghanistan - but they will also have to work together. (The Diplomat, Mar 27, 2015).

Spin Boldak Bank Robbery. Five officials of the Spin Boldak Branch of the Central Bank of Afghanistan were arrested in connection with the theft of 76 million AFN five weeks ago in southern Kandahar province. (Tolo News, Mar 26, 2015).

UK Troops Exposed in Helmand. A recent news report says that British soldiers were left dangerously exposed in the volatile province of Helmand due to poor decision making. Military chiefs underestimated the strength of the Taliban in Helmand province and there were deep failings in decision making at higher levels. (Guardian, Mar 26, 2015).

CEO Abdullah Optimistic. John Grady writes in USNI News that the Afghanistan Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah is optimistic about his countries future. He says that the new National Unity Government is functioning but security is still the number one problem in Afghanistan. (March 26, 2015).

Afghans Want Faster Training of AAF. The Afghan government has asked the United States to accelerate the training and equipping of Afghan pilots to fly aeromedical evacuation and close air support missions. Currently the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing headquartered in Kabul conducts in-country training of the Afghan Air Force. There are also 30 Afghan pilots and 90 maintainers at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia receiving training n the A-29 Super Tucano. Training is also conducted by defense contractors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Read "Afghans want U.S. to speed up training of Afghan air force", Air Force Times, March 26, 2015.

Video - Ambassador James Dobbins. The former ambassador spoke in this video about state strengthening in Afghanistan. He was a special representative for the State Department for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a conference and one of the speakers was James Dobbins. (USIP, March 23, 2015, 42 minutes). 

Former U.S. COP in Bakwa district captured by TB. The Taliban have released a video showing the capture of a former U.S. base in Farah province.  (Khaam Press, Mar 27, 2015).

ISIS Recruiting in Afghanistan. CNN has received a video that shows ISIS recruiters in Afghanistan. (CNN, March 24, 2015).

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