Thursday, April 9, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

News Report - U.S. Failing at Training Foreign Forces. According to one news report the U.S. military record on training other countries military forces is dismal. The U.S. is trying to stabilize Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan using a tactic that has rarely worked - by training and equipping foreign forces. The U.S. remains too focused on developing its own war-fighting capabilities rather than developing the capabilities of other nations. One problem is that while we might succeed in training another country's military that country's civilian government may be corrupt and not worth defending (Vietnam, Iraq, and possibly Afghanistan). Many of these conflicts require a political solution (get rid of corruption in Afghanistan's government, include Sunnis in political affairs in Iraq, etc.). Read more in "U.S. Counts on Training Foreign Forces Despite Years of Failure", Bloomberg News, April 8, 2015.

Taliban Ambush in Kunar. The Taliban attempted an ambush on Afghan police but kill two civilians by mistake. (Fox News, April 8, 2015).

Afghan Interpreter Settles (Uneasily) Into Seattle. An Afghan translator who helped U.S. forces is having difficulty adjusting to life in the United States. While in Afghanistan he worked for the U.S. Corps of Engineers. He was the subject of many death threats from militants because of his work for the U.S. government. While the State Department says that the Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program provides a Visa and a support structure once entering the United States; the support is rather meager because of a lack of funding. Read the story in Seattle Weekly Times, April 7, 2015.

Reintegration of Military Nurses After Combat Deployments. The Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services has published an article entitled "After the Parade: Military Nurses' Reintegration Experiences from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars", (April 8, 2015).

Video - "Mentoring the Afghan Forces". International forces in Afghanistan having moved from a combat role to one focusing on advising, training and assisting. In this video we get a look at the realities of the new Resolute Support mission on the ground and how advisors working with the 201st Corps are doing their job. (NATO TV, April 8, 2015, posted on, 4 minutes long).

U.S. Army Drones. Drones (or UAVs) have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan. And they are not going away. The U.S. Army is drafting doctrine for the first time that will govern its robotic and unmanned systems. Learn more in "US Army Readying Unmanned Systems Doctrine", Defense News, April 8, 2015.

Bde Cdr Sheds Light on Dealing with Afghan Warlord. James L. Creighton, a former U.S. brigade commander, recounts his experience dealing with a recently assassinated Afghan warlord. In 2010 Creighton was in command of Team Uruzgan, a diverse force of coalition soldiers from ten countries (U.S., Australia, Singapore, France, New Zealand, Netherlands, and more). His "team" mission was to push back Taliban influence in the province and encourage the 'transition' process. Read about his situation of having to work with a very effective Taliban fighter who was also a subject of human rights allegations. Read "Shades of Gray in Afghanistan", The Diplomat, April 8, 2015.

Retrograde Opns in Kandahar. A recent news story by the U.S. Air Force describes the heavy workload of retrograde operations and working with the U.S. Army. Read "Ready, set, retrograde",, April 8, 2015.

Afghan MoD Nominee Drops Out. The Afghan government's latest choice for the Minister position for the Ministry of Defence has dropped out. General Mohammad Afzal Ludin explained that his appointment had caused some turmoil and he feared it would be divisive. Ludin is a Pashtun which may have angered the countries CEO Abdullah Abdullah and his northern alliance supporters. Read more in a news report by the Daily Mail, April 8, 2015.

Zulfiqar Operation in Helmand Province Concludes. The Afghan national Army (along with some help from the Afghan National Police) has concluded its extensive operation in Helmand province. The Zulfiqar military operation was launched two months ago in an attempt to rid local villages of insurgents. Much of the fight took place in or around Sangin district - an area where the British and U.S. Marines have spent much time in.

46 Million Rounds Expended. The British Army fired over 46 million rounds at the Taliban costing the UK taxpayers 200 million pounds. The Mirror, April 7, 2015.

"The State of Afghan Libraries". The Afghanistan Analyst Network has published a story about the increasing need for a functioning public library system. With Afghanistan's educated class growing rapidly the need for libraries is expanding tremendously. This article highlights the need for a national and international plan to further develop the libraries of Afghanistan. Read "Reading in Kabul: The state of Afghan Libraries", (April 9, 2015).

Tsarnaev Guilty. In the spring of 2013 I was sitting in the DFAC at FOB Lightning in Gardez having breakfast when I first learned the news on the DFAC TV showing scenes from the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Having attended college in Boston I was immediately drawn to the developing story. It now appears that the surviving bomber (one of two brothers) has been found guilty in the bombing that killed three people and wounded many more people. The next step is the jury deciding on life in prison or sentence of death.

Book Review - "Warrior Diplomat".  Daniel R. Green has penned a book review of Michael Waltz's new book. Waltz is a Special Forces officer with deep experience at the policy level as well as on the ground in combat. Read the book review in - "Our Own Worst Enemy: How America Defeated Itself in Afghanistan", The South Asia Channel Blog, Foreign Policy, April 7, 2015.

Afghan Helicopter Project Officer Guilty. A former project manager at Redstone Arsenal has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges stemming from inflated contract payments for work on Russian-made helicopters bound for the Afghan Air Force. News, April 8, 2015.

One Year - No Government. It has been one year since the Afghan presidential election and there still is no government (cabinet still has to be formed). Read more in a news report in BBC News Asia, April 7, 2015.

Book Review - "The Illuminations". Andrew O'Hagan has wrote a book about the British in Afghanistan. Read a book review on this fiction book posted in The Washington Post, April 7, 2015.

Police Sergeant Course Graduates. Over 800 police candidates of the Police Sergeant Training command graduated from their training course held at Mazar-e Sharif. The course included subjects such as weapons training and legal science classes. Members of the Afghan Border Police, Afghan Uniform Police, and Afghan National Civil Order Police attended the training. The Afghan Police Sergeant Command is assisted by the German Police Project Team (GPPT). Read more in the news report by Resolute Support News, April 8, 2015.

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