Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Daily News Snippets (Mar 4, 2015)

The remnants of the Karzai administration are still in place. This is especially true of the Acting Governors that remain in charge of provinces. There is a lack of any accountability to the new government. As of February 2015 only three governors have been introduced (Farah, Paktika, and Kunduz). The remaining 31 provinces are governed by appointees of Karzai. Therefore corruption still remains a major problem and a root cause of the insurgency. Read more in "Accusations of Corruption, Negligence Against Acting Governors Increase", Tolo News, February 19, 2015.

Ambassadors Fired. Some Karzai appointees are finding their futures uncertain. Reports indicate that President Ghani has sacked eleven Afghan Ambassadors on March 2, 2015. 

Police Officials Sacked. President Ghani has fired 27 senior police officers as part of a drive towards good governance. Many of them had strong connections with politicians, strongmen, or warlords. Most have found their way into other jobs - so don't cry too much for them. Read the news article (BBC News Asia, March 2, 2015).

Afghan Police Women. Press reports say that over 190 female police officers returned to Afghanistan after completing four months of training in Turkey. 

Kidnapped Hazaras. The 30 kidnapped Hazaras are still in captivity in Zabul province. They were taken off two buses traveling to Kabul when taken hostage. Reports indicate a rescue operation may be underway soon. Khaama Press says the rescue effort is taking place in the Khah-i-Afghan district of Zabul. There is speculation that the 30 passengers were kidnapped by DAISH (ISIS).

Avalanches in northern Afghanistan are taking its toll. Over 285 citizens have died thus far and three districts are heavily impacted. This is a yearly event. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has issued a condolence statement. General Campbell of Resolute Support HQs has done the same on Facebook. U.S., Czech, and Georgian troops are assisting with the delivery of aid. This year the avalanches have taken place in the Panjshir valley (Panjshir province). Recent snowfall accumulation has caused some flash flooding as well.

ANP Funding. International donors worry whether Kabul has the administrative capacity to oversee Western taxpayer money properly. Read "Afghanistan Struggles With Police Funding", The Wall Street Journal, February 28, 2015.

Rula Ghani. The First Lady of Afghanistan is now on the U.S. Afghan Women's Council (USAWC) along with Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton. Read more in this news release by Georgetown University.

Interpreters who worked for the Coalition are under threat in Afghanistan. Read "Interpreter pleads for protection from Taliban killers", The Times, March 3, 2015.

The nonprofit organization - International Relief and Development (IRD) - has been suspended by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). IRD had some significant problems in meeting the contract stipulations of some of the aid projects it was in charge of in Afghanistan. Read more in a news report by Non Profit Quarterly, dated March 2, 2015.

A women serving a 20-year sentence in the women's section of Nangarhar Prison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan is a notorious character. She is convicted of taking part in the murders of 27 men. Read more in a news article by The New York Times, February 28, 2015.

Lack of Transparency in Mining Contracts. The Minister of Mines and Petroleum says that a team of technical experts will be reassessing the majority of the mining contracts because of a lack of transparency in the process that awarded the contracts. Read more in "Minister Says Mining Contracts to be Reexamined", Tolo News,  February 20, 2015.

For years commentators will be writing on whether we won the war in Afghanistan. Some say it is too soon to tell. Others want to declare victory now. I guess it depends on how you define victory. Read one view point in "Yes, we did win in Afghanistan", War Council Blog, February 23, 2015.

U.S. Navy in a Landlocked Country. Even though Afghanistan has no ocean the U.S. Navy has had a long-time presence in the country since the start of the conflict. This continues today under Resolute Support. For instance, the NATO Role 3 Multi-national Medical Unit on Kandahar Airfield has a diverse group of Navy reservists from 22 different states. (DVIDS, March 3, 2015).

The U.S. Army continues to sink money into its Distributed Common Ground System - Army (DCGS-A). This computer-based intelligence program has cost billions of dollars and is still wanting. See "Textron to enhance DCGS-A data", C4ISR & Networks, February 5, 2015. See also DCGS-A.

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