Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Clashes Pickup. Reports indicate that clashes between insurgents and government forces have risen in the past few days to include incidents in Kapisa and Badakhshan provinces. Some reports say that eight ANA soldiers were beheaded in Badakhshan. The government spokesmen for the MoD and MoI are painting the recent clash in Badakhshan as a victory for the ANSF. However, it could be there is some spin going on there (of course). The Afghan Lower House of Representatives have summoned the Afghan National Security Advisor for some questioning on the northern province. (CBS News, Apr 13, 2015).

SOCOM Needs Drone Contractors for Afghanistan. The United States Special Operations Command based in Tampa, Florida is seeking contracting firms to run drone operations (pilots, maintenance, engineering) in six countries around the world - including Afghanistan. The Request for Proposal (RFP) says the contract will be for the purposes of gathering intelligence and conducting surveillance and reconnaissance. The contract, Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations and Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance Support (MEUAS III) is for LoS and BLoS operations. Read more in a news report by Defense World, April 13, 2015.

Afghan Commandos Visit Texas. The members of the ten Afghan Commando Kandaks are among the best fighters in the Afghan National Army. They suffer casualties - killed and wounded - quite frequently. Many of the wounded lose limbs and adjustment to that situation is quite difficult in a poor country like Afghanistan. Some wounded Afghan Commandos are learning how to adjust to their new situation in Texas. Learn more in "Afghan amputees tell their stories at Texas gathering", Fayetteville Observer, April 12, 2015.

Australia Aids Girls Schools. Read some news about how Australia is helping to increase the number of girls who return to school in a news report by SBS.com, April 9, 2015.

"First Kill". A retired infantryman (COL Keith Nightingale) writes about killing in combat. Read his story in "First Kill" posted on Small Wars Journal, April 3, 2015.

For Some U.S. Families the War is not Over. Read "War in Afghanistan Continues for Families of Fallen U.S. Soldiers", NBC Nightly News, April 13, 2015.

Does Mullah Omar Still Matter? Michael Kugelman, writing in War on the Rocks (Apr 13, 2015) says that the religious leader and head of the Taliban is seeing some of his power and influence erode away. For instance, one group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has recently declared its allegiance to the Islamic State. Read Kugelman's news article to see what he has to say about Mullah Omar.

Canadian Visit by Ghani Nixed. President Ghani, and his 75-man party, was planning on visiting Canada in conjunction with his U.S. tour. However, Canada didn't fully embrace the idea. Read more in "Visit of New Afghan President to Canada Quietly Scrubbed Amid Iraq Debate", Huffington Post, April 12, 2015.

U.S. Accounting Professor Helps Out in Afghanistan. Karen Tower of Ivy Tech Richmond spent two weeks in Afghanistan helping out a community college in preparing for international accreditation. (Pal-Item, Apr 12, 2015).

Military Meals and Celebrity Chef. Could we be seeing an improvement in Army cuisine? Celebrity chef Padma Lakshmi is joining forces with the Pentagon to develop a spinoff of the "Top Chef" show featuring military meals. I do miss my C-ration Beans and Franks. Can we bring pound cake back? (Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2015).

Missing IJC's (KAIA) Fancy Cuisine. As the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan down-sizes the footprint diminishes as well. One of the units to shut down was the ISAF Joint Command or IJC based at Kabul International Airport. And one unfortunate result of the unit closing was the shuttering of the doors of the many small restaurants on the airbase (I have passed through KAIA many times; the Thai restaurant was my favorite). A past article by Dufflel Blog (Oct 13) provides us more info on the culinary delights found on KAIA. (caution - humor zone).

U.S. Still at War in Afghanistan. The top Pentagon lawyer says that the United States is still in 'armed conflict' in Afghanistan. Glad he clarified that! Read more in a news report by The Hill Blog, April 13, 2015.

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