Sunday, April 19, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Parliament Approves Ministers. It appears that President Ghani's cabinet is growing. The parliament has approved many of the more recent nominees for ministry positions. Perhaps the Afghan government can start governing now that the ministries have some leadership. Evidently enough bribes were paid to enough MPs to get all 16 ministers approved. Now if only folks could agree on the MoD minister - because, like, there's a war going on. Kate Clark, of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, provides us a detailed look at the ministers and the approval process.

Ghani Visits Troubled Badakhshan. President Ghani visited this contested province and provided a speech calling Afghans to unite against the insurgents and to support the Afghan National Army. He indicated that the province's leadership was poor and dominated by a few powerful individuals. 

Jalalabad Suicide Bombing kills Scores. There were a lot of fatalities in Jalalabad on Saturday from a suicide bomb blast. Estimates indicate that there were about 35 fatalities with over 100 wounded. The Taliban have said they are not responsible; the Islamic State has claimed responsibility. News reports are below:

Islamic State and Afghanistan. This news story covers a broad range of topics including the fear of the growth of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, persecution of the Hazaras, Afghan Local Police, militias, and warlords. Read "Has the Caliphate Come to Kabul?", by Leela Jacinto, Foreign Policy, March 23, 2015.

India and Pakistan - Proxy War in Afghanistan. Catherine Putz provides us with a summary of the involvement of India and Pakistan in the Afghan conflict and the evolving relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Learn more about why ". . . we may be fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong country". (The Diplomat, April 15, 2015).

Iran Shoring up the Shiites? President Ghani's charm offensive seems to be working. He has reached out to regional neighbors requesting assistance. Iran has responded with a statement by the Iranian Interior Minister (April 13th) that Iran was willing to execute joint operations with Afghanistan. Hmmmm. Does that mean providing stability to neighboring Herat and Ghor provinces (and maybe even Bamian) through advisors or even security forces ensuring that the Shiites are protected and that their favorite strongman is shored up (is that still Ismail Khan?). This could all be part of the wider Sunni-Shiite War currently engulfing the Middle East. Perhaps Iran is worried about Islamic State penetration in Afghanistan - a bordering neighbor to its east. So, Iranian advisors in Afghanistan working side by side with American advisors. Just like in Iraq! Actually they would probably be engaged with the Spanish and Italians in TAAC West. Are the Spanish and Italians in Iraq? Likelihood of it happening? 1%.

Russia Fearing Islamic State? On April 15th the Russian Foreign Minister said that his nation was prepared to support Afghanistan. This fight would be against terrorism and drug trafficking. A big part of the opium grown in Afghanistan finds its way to Russia's many addicts. In addition, Russia does not want to see the Islamic State make any inroads into Central Asia - an area of the region that Russia feels is in its sphere of influence - economically, politically, and militarily. Russia back in Afghanistan - wouldn't that be simply lovely. So . . . Russian advisors, probably assisting in northern Afghanistan working side-by-side with their TAAC North NATO allies at Camp Marmal in Mazer-e-Sharif. Wouldn't that be special. Likelihood of it happening? 1 %.

Cast Your Vote for "Return to Hope". NATOs web movie is one of three contestants for the 19th Annual Webby Awards. It is nicely done. You can cast your vote at

Britain Suspends $ for MoI/ANP Pay. Britain has suspended payments to a multi-billion pound aid project in Afghanistan following allegations of corruption and mismanagement of a UN-led payroll contract. Read "Corruption claims halt police aid for Afghanistan", The Times, April 17, 2015. Ahhh, good old Afghan corruption.

Book Review - "The CIA in Hollywood". Julius Taranto reviews a book about how the CIA helps out Hollywood in the film business and improves its public image (Lawfare, Apr 17, 2015).

Georgian CoS visits RS HQs. The Chief of General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces visited Resolute Support officials and Georgian troops currently supporting the RS mission at Bagram Airfield, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Kabul. Georgia has been assisting in the counterinsurgency fight since 2004 and they are currently the second largest contributing nation in Afghanistan. Read a news report by RS HQs, April 18, 2015.

'Muhajideen Special Group" training camp. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan released a lengthy video of some fighters attending the "Mujahideen Special Group" training camp in Pakistan. This group is the movements version of  'special forces'. The film was released on April 17th by Umar Media - the official propaganda unit of the the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Read more in a news story by Bill Roggio, The Long War Journal, April 18, 2015.

United Nations Women Peacekeepers. The UN has provided an info piece that shows women have become an increasingly part of the peacekeeping family. (UN, April 17, 2015).

Capital Guardians Heading to CENTCOM. The D.C. National Guard's 276th Military Police Company is heading to the Resolute Support Mission. They will actually be at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait assisting in the management of the Theater Field Detention Facility. (ReadMedia, Apr 17, 2015).

High Cost of Afghan Weddings. Read Joseph Goldstein's story in The New York Times about Afghan weddings (April 18, 2015) - "At Afghan Weddings, His Side, Her Side, and 600 Strangers".

The F-35 We Can't Afford. A new report by the GAO says America can't afford the replacement for the A-10 and other types of aircraft. Read a news story on War is Boring, by Matthew Gault, April 18, 2015. You can read the GAO report here.

Afghan Novelist Reminisces. Rahnaward Zaryab is interviewed in this New York Times story by Mujib Mashal (April 17, 2015) - "Writer Retreats to a Kabul That Lives Only in His Memories and Books".

DCGS-A. The Big Army's IO machine is at work again trying to convince us that the Distributed Common Ground System - Army or DCGS-A is a good deal getting better. Read more in "Army says intelligence system is getting easier to use", Defense Systems, April 17, 2015.

New Acronym - "CF / SOF I3". You learn something new everyday while traveling through the Internet.

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