Saturday, April 18, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

NATO Soldier Wounded. Press reports say that a NATO soldier was wounded while training Afghan soldiers in Logar province. (Stars and Stripes, April 17, 2015).

MoD Spokesman Resigns. According to tweets on Twitter the MoD spokesman has resigned but he is still head of the Strategic Relations department of the ministry.

NATO Website Nominated for Award. A NATO website about its mission in Afghanistan has been nominated for the prestigious Webby Awards. The documentary Return to Hope is nicely done and worth viewing. Read more in a news release by NATO (April 15, 2015).

Fight over MoD Minister Position. The Afghan Ministry of Defense desperately needs leadership; but leadership at the helm of the government is lacking. Neither President Ghani nor CEO Abdullah can agree on who should lead the MoD. Many observes believe that there is an ethnic divide at play. Read more in "Rivals row over top Afghan defence posts as Taliban goes on attack"Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 16, 2015.

Paper - "How to Ensure Project Sustainability". The International Network to Promote the Rule of Law (INPROL) has published a paper by Ena Dion that addresses building RoL systems and processes that are sustainable by the host nation once the international community walks away. Could be useful for the Resolute Support Essential Function 3 - RoL advisors assisting and advising in the MoI and MoD.

Rula Ghani. The 1st lady of Afghanistan has been selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people. (, April 16, 2015).

General Martin Dempsey. Rula Ghani is in good company. Another member of this year's 100 most influential people is the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. (, April 16, 2015).

Passengers Beheaded. Tolo News is reporting that four of 11 passengers kidnapped a week ago from Ghazni have been killed.

Women in Combat.  "Last week, the Marine Corps announced the scheduled end of an 18-month experiment to vet females through its Infantry Officer Course. The results were bleak: 0 of 29 women made it past the three-month course." The USMC trained the women to the same standards as men. Some critics think that medical research should be conducted to develop new physical fitness and training standards for women. Read more in "Opinion: It's time to reevaluate standards for women in the military", The Washington Post, April 16, 2015.

Bastogne Troops Return from Afghanistan. Fort Campbell welcomed home troops from the 1st Brigade Combat Team after a six month deployment. (The Leaf Chronicle, Apr 16, 2015).

Bergdahl. Former platoon mates provide more info on his desertion. (Fox News, Apr 17, 2015).

Operation Reliable Tempo. This retrograde operation took place in Afghanistan from June 2012 to December 2014. Read about it in "Reliable Tempo draws down 13-year combat footprint in Afghanistan", DVIDS, April 16, 2015.

Army Morale Low. Most of the Army's Soldiers are pessimistic about their future in the military and many are unhappy with their jobs. The Army has spent over $247 million to improve morale over the past six years but seems to be making little progress. (Military Times, Apr 16, 2015).

Badakhshan Province Fighting. Mustafa Sarwar writes in Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe (April 14, 2015) that there are problems brewing in northern Afghanistan. Read "Afgahn Underbelly Exposed in Remote Region".

Failing Defense Strategy. One observer believes that the Afghan government is failing in the fight against the insurgents and that peace talks with the Taliban is futile. Read Dr. Florance Ebrahimi's thoughts on this topic in "Afghanistan with no defence strategy", Khaama Press, April 17, 2015.

CIA Agent - Afghanistan Overwhelmed with U.S. Assistance. A former CIA agent says the US intervention in Afghanistan undermined infrastructure-building efforts. The Daily Texan, Apr 17, 2015.

Drones - A War Crime? An article by Brenda Mwale explores the legal issues of using drones in a counterterrorism or counterinsurgency campaign. Read "Is Use of Drones a War Crime According to International Criminal Court", Euroasia Review, April 17, 2015.

Afghans Abused in Serbia. Human Rights Watch says that Afghan asylum seekers and migrants in Serbia are being harassed and abused by Serbian police. (Tolo News, April 17, 2015).

Haqqani Ldr  Killed in Pakistan. Government (and Taliban) sources say that a key commander in the Taliban-linked Haqqani Network has been killed in a clash with security forces in Pakistan's south Wazirstan tribal area. (Radio Free Europe, April 17, 2015).

Tajikistan: Religious practice controlled by state. Religion is tightly controlled by the government of this Central Asian country to the north of Afghanistan. Read more in "Tajikistan: No Hajj, No Hijab, and Shave Your Beard", The Diplomat, April 17, 2015.

Leidos gets Intel Contract w/ U.S. Army. The U.S. Army has a $7.2 billion contract for the provision of world-wide intelligence support services for the US Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM). Leidos, a firm providing defense services, has been awarded a prime contract as part of the five-year program. (Shepard Media, April 17, 2015).

Video - Economy Faltering in Kleptocracy. Afghanistan's government, despite President Ghani's best efforts thus far, is a sophisticated kleptocracy. This rampart corruption in Afghanistan is hurting the ability of the Afghan government to finance its government, hurts the confidence of the Afghan people, and has an impact on the likelihood of continued international financial assistance in the future.. Listen to a video (4 mins, April 8, 2015, CNN) on this topic - "Afghanistan hit by faltering economy".

Effective Use of CAS. A U.S. Advisor to an ARVN Ranger Battalion recounts a day of combat where the South Vietnamese unit escaped annihilation because of superb close air support. At the end of the day only 32 Rangers of over 400 escaped the battlefield. Read "Memories of Vietnam: Bombing our way out of being encircled by the VC", The Best Defense Blog, Foreign Policy, April 16, 2015.

U.S. Woman Shot in Karachi. A U.S. woman was shot by gunmen in Karachi, Pakistan who claim Islamic State allegiance. The incident happened on April 16th. The gunmen says she was targeted because she was from the U.S. Debra Lobo was a vice principle at a dental college in Karachi. She was shot in the face and hand by gunmen on a motorcycle while driving home from her office. (Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe, April 17, 2015).

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