Saturday, April 4, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets - (Apr 4, 2015)

Logar Landmine Kills 7 Civilians. Seven civilians were killed in a landmine explosion in Logar province on April 3rd. All of the dead were from the same family. They were traveling in a civilian vehicle from Kabul to Baraki Barak district of Logar province. (Khaama Press, Apr 3, 2015).

Hybrid Warfare in Europe Explained. Learn why some countries in Europe think that the use of the term "hybrid warfare" gives NATO and the U.S. a pass in confronting the danger posed by Russia. Of course, hybrid warfare is not a new concept - it is just the type of war that is fought unconventionally (such as the insurgency in Afghanistan). (War on the Rocks, April 3, 2015).

A Call for More Humanitarian Aid for Afghanistan. In a letter to the editor of The New York Times (April 3, 2015) David Miliband (former British foreign secretary and president of the International Rescue Committee) says that more humanitarian aid needs to be provided to community-based programs in Afghanistan (such as the National Solidarity Program).

Senator Worried on Afghan Withdrawal. North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis recently visited Afghanistan. Following his trip the senator said that the U.S. military must remain in Afghanistan beyond President Obama's projected troop withdrawal in early 2017 to discourage prospects for the Islamic State militants to get a toehold there. The senator met with high-ranking U.S. generals as well as President Ghani. He stated that current counterterrorism efforts and advising Afghan forces gives U.S. leaders ground information about potential threats. North Carolina is the home of the USMC's Camp Lejeune and the Army's Fort Bragg. (Military Times, Apr 3, 2015).

OCP Uniforms Ready for Issue. The Army will soon start issuing combat uniforms in its new camouflage pattern to deploying Soldiers. The uniforms will also be available at military clothing sales stores in late summer or early fall. New gear matching the camouflage pattern will soon be issued as well. The new camouflage pattern is similar in appearance to Crye Precision's popular MultiCam.(Army Times, Apr 3, 2015).

Video - "Bridging the Civil Military Divide: The Role of the Media". The New America Foundation and the Yale Veterans Association presented this panel discussion about the civil - military divide. This 1 hour and 15 minute video features a number of panel participants to include Tom Ricks (war correspondent and author), Adrian Bonenberger (former Army and currently a journalist), and Kayla Williams (former Army and book author).

Women's Rights - and Education. Despite Ashraf Ghani's pledges in the United States, Afghanistan still has a long way to go on women's rights. Read "Afghanistan's 'Separate but Equal' Education System", The Diplomat, April 2, 2015.

Fears of Abductions Grow. Recent abductions in northern Balkh and Sar-e-Pul provinces (as well as the ones that took place in Zabul and Ghazni) have put many citizens who travel on edge. Read more in "Increased Abductions Grow Fears of Citizens", Tolo News, April 2, 2015.

Afghan Cabinet Vote on Monday. The Afghan House of Representatives has scheduled a vote of confidence for approving or rejecting the 16 new candidates for the cabinet. The house is currently reviewing the academic documents, dual citizenship, and background of the candidates. (Khaama Press, Apr 3, 2015).

Date for Bergdahl Article 32. The Article 32 hearing for SGT Bowe Bergdahl is scheduled for July 8th at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Bergdahl was charge on March 25th with one count of desertion and one count of misbehavior before the enemy. General Mark Milley, the former commander of ISAF Joint Command (IJC), made the decision to charge Bergdahl. (Army Times, April 2, 2015).

ADT Member Talks about Developing Rapport. Deploying to Afghanistan is a cultural shock -especially if your job involves interacting with Afghans. There is the cultural differences and the language barrier. And lots of tea drinking. But sometimes a hot pepper can break the ice. Learn how eating a hot pepper helped a female member of an Agribusiness Development Team establish rapport in "One hot pepper equals three cups of tea", DVIDS, April 2, 2015.

Peace Talks. Under President Karzai - the United States and India played a leading role in trying to get peace talks under way with the Taliban. With President Ghani now in charge - the scene has changed - Pakistan and China are now leading the effort. China has a lot at stake here - a stable Afghanistan will be needed if China is to have ready access to the immense deposits of minerals (Mes Aynak copper mine) available in Afghanistan and can contribute to its vision of a "New Silk Road" connecting all of Central Asia to Europe and China. The wild card is Pakistan - will it stop supporting the Taliban? Read more in "Afghanistan Peace Talks: At a Geopolitical Crossroads", The Diplomat, April 2, 2015.

Mine Awareness Day - April 4, 2015. U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan - P. Michael McKinley - has published an Op-Ed in Khaama Press about how 80% of minefields from past conflicts have been cleared in Afghanistan. Since 1989 almost 600,000 mines of various types (anti-personnel, anti-tank, and explosive remnants of war) have been cleared. 

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