Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Badakhshan Woes. The recent fighting in this northeastern province of Afghanistan resulted in some heavy casualties for the ANSF. Some Twitter accounts say that up to 28 army soldiers were beheaded; other reports say only 8.. There are concerns that "Daesh" is working with other insurgent groups in the province. There is a criminal element involved in the provincial fighting as the province has gem mines that provide revenue and the province also serves as a transit route for drug trafficking. General Sher Mohammad Karimi, Chief of Army Staff, says that "issues in leadership" was the main cause of the casualties according to a Khaama Press news report. (Khaama Press, April 14, 2015). Read more on this topic (Badakhshan) in a news report by Reuters (April 13, 2015).

Fighting Season Begins. Usually the Taliban will officially announce the beginning of the fighting season - giving it some glorious name to inspire the rank and file. Sometimes they put an actual date to the beginning. I am not sure if they have done that yet but by my observation it seems the fighting season has already begun - irregardless of whether the snow has melted in the mountain passes.

Foreign Fighters Helping the Taliban. Sudarsan Raghavan, the bureau chief in Kabul for The Washington Post says "Foreign Fighters are spilling into Afghanistan, helping the Taliban" (April 14, 2015).

Long Flight Home for Contractors. Anyone familiar with the Dubai-Dulles or Dubai-Atlanta flights will appreciate this article - "Airplane Seat Swapping Turns Rough-and-Tumble", The New York Times, April 13, 2015.

Kill or Capture. In times gone by the typical mission statement for some SOF units contained the words "kill or capture". If you could capture a mid- to high-level insurgent you could possibly gain some valuable intelligence - killing sometimes made that difficult. In the counter terrorism world capturing is preferred but it appears that the killing methodology (using drones) has taken priority. Read more in an news report in Foreign Policy by Micah Zenko (April 14, 2015).

MD 530F Helicopters. IHS Jane's 360 provides us with a brief description and pictures of the MD 530F helos recently field to the Afghan Air Force. View the news report (April 12, 2015).

Afghan Army to be Tested. Joseph Goldstein writes that the Afghan army will have an intense fighting season in 2015. He says this past winter there was an increased fighting level than past winter seasons. Read his column in "Afghan Army is Tested by the Taliban as Fighting Season Begins", The New York Times, April 13, 2015.

Two ANP Killed in Takhar. According to Tolo News two policemen were killed by the Taliban in Takhar.

TAAC North advises RMIC. The Regional Media Information Center (RMIC) located in the 209th Corps area of responsibility (northern Afghanistan) is a collaboration between TAAC North, public affairs officers of the ANSF, and the local media. Strategic Communications is one of the 8 Essential Functions that Resolute Support advisors are working in to improve the capability of the ANSF. Read more on this topic in a RSM Facebook posting and visit the website of the RMIC. Sounds like the Europeans have got it going on in the old Regional Command North AO. I wonder if TAAC East, South, and West are working with similar organizations in their area of operations?

9 Abducted Civilians Released. According to Pajhwok Afghan News nine civilians abducted by the Taliban in Sar-i-Pul province two weeks again have been released as a result of negotiations with local leaders.

Two Killed in Kabul. According to Pajhwok News two civilians were killed by armed men in police district 11 of Kabul on Tuesday morning (Apr 14).

Cabinet Nominees. Five cabinet nominees addressed Afghanistan's lower house of parliament on Monday. They got the opportunity to present their proposed agendas. The parliament will need to approve their nominations.

MCSCG Deploys to Republic of Georgia. The Marines and troops of Georgia have a long-standing close partnership that pays off in dividends. The program puts Marines into Georgia to train up with Georgian Army units that are scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan. Then, the Georgian units deploy into Afghanistan with U.S. Marines. Read more in a news report by (April 14, 2105).

Bergdahl. The opinion pages of The New York Times seems to think that there is "No Need to Prosecute Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl", March 26, 2015. Hmmmm.

Is Russian Hyping the IS Threat in Central Asia. There is lots of concern by the Central Asian states to the north of Afghanistan that the conflict in Afghanistan will spill over the border into the their territories. Some dismiss the Islamic State threat and say that the situation is being exaggerated. Others are accusing Russia of hyping the IS threat so they can put more pressure (military, economic, political, etc.) onto countries in the region to counter inroads by China and western nations. Read more in "Islamist Threat: Why is Russia Scaring Turkmenistan?", Qishlog Ovozi Blog - Radio Free Europe, April 14, 2015.

NUG Stalled. The National Unity Government (NUG) of Afghanistan is not so united. The Afghan government is in a holding pattern while the two competing camps (Ghani and Abdullah) fight over the appointments of ministers, governors and other government officials.

Karzai Engaged. Former President Karzai is still engaged in the political world of Afghanistan. He recently met with district administrators, police chiefs and other leaders from two southern provinces.

Air Quality in Kabul? Not very good. Of course, you just have to breath or smell the air to know that. CNN has a news report on the air quality of the five worst capitals in the world. Did Kabul make the top five? Of course. Read the news report in CNN, April 13, 2015.

Minister of Defense Wanted. The job of Minister of Defense is still vacant. Two nominees have been presented to the Afghan parliament. The first, General Karimi - Chief of the Army Staff - would have been an excellent choice according to many informed observers but was rejected by parliament. The second nominee withdrew his name after determining he was a disputed choice. Hopefully Ghani and Abdullah can come to some agreement soon as the 2015 fighting season now here.

Women Attending U.S. Army Ranger School. Dan Lamothe writes in The Washington Post (April 13, 2015) of the progress the U.S. Army is making in selecting women to attend Ranger School.

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