Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

MoI Support & Supply. General Campbell, Resolute Support Mission Cdr, and the Ministry of Interior Minister recently visited MoI support & supply center to assess current capacities and needs. The logistics operation for the Afghan police has been broke for a long time.

Hamid Karzai Visits Germany. Karzai, the ex-president is visiting Germany - he has lots of meetings, interviews, and speeches scheduled. He has been busy traveling overseas quite a bit since his departure from government.

Blood-Clotting Gel. The UK's Forces.TV  (April 20, 2015) is reporting on a battlefield advancement in medical care that could make a huge difference in surviving an injury or wound with severe bleeding. A graduate from Polytechnic Institute of New York University has invented a gel that can stop bleeding and seal serious wounds in 15 seconds. 

Ghani's Calculated Risk With Pakistan. President Ghani is pursuing peace talks with the Taliban and is hoping that Pakistan will cease its support of insurgent groups carrying out attacks against Afghanistan and that Pakistan will steer these insurgent groups to the peace table for talks. Read more in "Afghan President's Taliban predicament", by Aryaman Ghatnager, Observer Research Foundation, April 20, 2015.

India - A Thorny Issue. Stephen Tankel writes about the relationship between India and Afghanistan in "India in Afghanistan: Tackling a Thorny Issue", War on the Rocks, April 201, 2015.

China - and Relationships. China is trying to extend its influence in Central and South Asia for a number of reasons (security, economic, political, etc.). China has to balance a number of issues to ensure relationships with India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the U.S. are not damaged - which could affect its aspirations in the region. Read more in "Reimagining the Triangle", Observer Research Foundation (India), April 20, 2015.

Paper on IEDs in Afghanistan. Hannah Bryce and Henry Dodd have a paper posted on the website of The Royal Institute of International Affairs entitled "The Impact of IEDs on the Humanitarian Space in Afghanistan", April 9, 2015. (Adobe Acrobat PDF, 15 pages).

USAID Empowering Women in Animal Health Services. USAID has posted a photo and short story on how it is ensuring women in Afghanistan have access to animal health services.

6th Annual Warrior Competition. The country of Jordan is running its annual Warrior Competition at the King Abdullah Special Operation Training Center. This annual competition pits anti-terrorism squads from 18 different countries against each in shooting and anti-terrorism skills. Afghanistan is sending a team from its Afghan National Security Special Forces (ANASF) to compete - as it has in previous years.

New Zealand Commits to Afghanistan. The Kiwis are staying in the fight until December 2016. Read more in "Extension of NZDF commitment in Afghanistan", Scoop.co.nz, April 20, 2015. See also a news story in The New Zealand Herald, April 20, 2015.

51st Battalion Completes Tour. Georgia's 51st infantry battalion completed its tour of Afghanistan. (Agenda.ge, April 20, 2015). http://agenda.ge/news/33601/eng

Video - BAF Base Defense Exercise. Watch a one-minute long video by US Forces Afghanistan on base defense at Bagram Airfield.

State Department Visit to Central Asia. The DoS is sending an interagency team to Central Asia for consultations about Afghanistan. The team will visit Kazakhstan, Krygyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan from April 20-24. The group will discuss recent developments in Afghanistan, including the election of the Government of National Unity, the current security situation, and the NATO Resolute Support Mission. Read more in "Interagency Team Travels to Central Asia for Afghanistan Consultations", U.S. Department of State Media Note, April 20, 2015.

$1B in Helicopters to Pakistan. A commentator asks "Why Are We Sending This Attack Helicopter to Pakistan?", The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2015.

Culture Clash in U.S. Miltary. Carl Forsling, as senior columnist for Task & Purpose writes about the departure of military officers and NCOs from the military and reasons for their leaving in "There is a Cultural Clash Erupting Within the Military", April 20, 2015.

Women Now in Ranger School. The first course to allow women to go through the very demanding Ranger School started on Monday, April 20th. As many as 20 women are expected to start this one-time integrated assessment. The assessment is part of a wider effort to determine whether and how to open combat arms positions to women. Read more in "Women to start Ranger School Today", Army Times, April 20, 2015. On the first day the prospective Rangers are administered a physical fitness test early in the morning. 19 women were among the 400 plus students. They were tested (same standards for men and women) in their ability to do a minimum of 49 pushups, 49 situps, six chinups, and a five-mile run in 40 minutes or less. 16 of the 19 female students passed the test (Ledger-Enquirer, April 20, 2015).

Women and Cultural Support Teams (CST). While much talk has been generated about bringing women into combat arms - it would appear that the Special Operations community has been already on board. A few years back the Army created the Cultural Support Team program to work along side Special Forces teams in Afghanistan. Read more about the CSTs in this news report in the New York Post (April 19, 2015)

Army vs Marines & Women in Combat. Unit assignments and gender integration research varies between the services according to Gretel C. Kovach in a news story posted in U~T San Diego, April 18, 2015.

Rumi Spice. A female veteran of the Afghan War and Harvard Business Student has formed a venture that imports saffron to the United States benefiting Afghan farmers and hopefully providing an alternative crop to opium. Learn more in a PBS Newshour report by Larisa Epatko, April 20, 2015. www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/afghan-grown-saffron/

Afghan Women Hindered from Access to Justice. Deutsche Welle (Germany) has published a news story on "How Afghan women are dissuaded from asserting their rights", April 20, 2015.

India Promoting Women's Rights in Afghanistan. Catherine Powell, writing in the Development Channel Blog of Foreign Policy (April 20, 2015) tells us that India can be a useful partner in promoting Afghan stability and advancing the future of Afghan women.

Export of Opium to India Trucks carrying opium from Afghanistan through Pakistan are entering India and the drug problem in India is getting bigger. Read more in "Kashmir's Heroin Highway", Slate.com, by Michael Edison Hayden, April 2015.

Trouble South of Border. Ambreen Agha writes about the enduring tragedy in Balochistan, Pakistan in Eurasia Review, April 20, 2015.

Obama's Drone Problem. Read "All the President's Drones: Obama's Targeting-Killing Problem", The National Interest, April 20, 2015 for Rachel Stohl's explanation of why the White House's secrecy regarding the U.S. drone program has not done it any favors. 

Author Interview. A fiction book wrote 40 years ago provides us a look at the military-civilian divide during the Vietnam War. The author says that the divide is more wide now (2015) than during the Vietnam War. Read an interview with the author of a science fiction war story called "The Forever War" in War is Boring, April 19, 2015.

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