Thursday, April 2, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets (Apr 2, 2015)

Kabul Bank Case. President Ghani met with investigators of the Kabul Bank case as part of his commitments during his inauguration to finalize the country's largest corruption scandal. The Kabul Bank, once the country's largest institution, collapsed in 2010 due to corruption - much in part by the Karzai family.(Tolo News, 31 Mar 15).

Fighting in Helmand Gets Bloodier. The northern Helmand province area is seeing an upsurge in casualties as Afghan forces take the lead. (The Wall Street Journal, April 1, 2015, requires login).

10 Most Dangerous Countries in the World. Afghanistan made the list and is ranked fifth. Other countries include Nigeria, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Ukraine. (Radio Free Europe, April 1, 2015).

Taliban and Hezb-i-Islami Fight Each Other in Maidan Wardak. The Taliban and another insurgent group continue to fight each other in Wardak province. So there is a three-way fight going on there -  The ANSF, Taliban, and Hezb-i-Islami. (Khaama Press, Apr 1, 2015).

11 Passengers Kidnapped Sari-e-Pul. Passengers were kidnapped in Sari Pul. Looks like this is an ongoing event at least once a week across Afghanistan.

Ghani. One writer says things are different with Afghanistan. He wants us to "Give Ghani a Chance"The RAND Blog, March 31, 2015.

Females & Ranger School. Six more women qualified to attend Ranger School by passing the March rotation of the Ranger Training Assessment Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. That brings the number of women qualified to attend the 60-day course to 12 total. (Army Times,  April 1, 2015).

Turkmenistan-Afghan Border History. Do you ever wonder why Afghanistan's border with Turkmenistan looks so odd? Read "How the British and the Russians Drew the Afghan-Turkmen Border", by Akhilesh Pillalamarri, The Diplomat, March 31, 2015.

U.S. Vision for Central Asia. Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, addressed the Brookings Institute on March 31, 2015 and the topic was on Central Asia and how it relates to security in Afghanistan.

New Focus on Central Asia By U.S. Joshua Kurcera writes in The Bug Pit of that Washington has rolled out a new Central Asia policy with a focus on counterterrorism. (April 1, 2015).

What's Next for Central Asia? Richard E. Hoagland, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs of the State Department, addressed a gathering at Georgetown University on March 30, 2015. Topic was Central Asia.

ISIL in Central Asia. Silk Road Reporters published a post by Joe Peerson on April 1, 2015 entitled "ISIL in Central Asia - Swiftly Becoming a Reality".

Blackwater and Afghan Drugs. An article in Fortress America says that the paramilitary firm "Blackwater Is Still Getting Rich Screwing Up Our War on Afghan Drugs". (March 31, 2015).

Relying on Pakistan. The Huffington Post has an article that says securing Afghanistan means relying on the Pakistani Army. (March 31, 2015).

Taliban Commander Captured. The NDA captured a senior Taliban commander who is involved in targeting foreigners in Kabul. (The Long War Journal, Mar 31, 2015).

IED Analysis Course. ANA soldiers have recently graduated from the "Improvised Explosive Device Analysis Course". The ten-day long course is intended to help the ANA students build on their existing intelligence analysis skills to assist them in countering IEDs.  IEDs are the number one cause of casualties for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Learn more about this IED course in "Afghans learn to analyze IED threat", RS News, April 1, 2015.

Customs Revenue Increases. The Ministry of Finance announced a four percent increase in government financial income in the first quarter of this year. (Khaama Press, April 1, 2015).

$400,000 Helmet. An infantryman's kevlar helmet costs a few hundred dollars but the helmet that an F-35 pilot wears is much more expensive. Read "Meet the most fascinating part of the F-35: The $400,000 helmet", The Washington Post, April 1, 2015.

Resistance to DCGS-A Persists. The Army's main intelligence gathering component, the Distributed Common Ground System, continues to face criticism among lawmakers and members of the military. The DCGS will eventually cost the military over $10 billion. (GCN, March 31, 2015).

Parliamentary Election Postponed? Second Vice-President Sarwar Danish revealed on Wednesday that the parliamentary election will be postponed and held in 2016. (Khaama Press, April 1, 2015).

More on Ghani. Dr. Harland K. Ullman writes about President Ghani in an article entitled "Winston Spencer Ghani", The Huffington Post Politics Blog, March 31, 2015.

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