Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

A New Kandahar. The Washington Post's Kabul bureau chief, Sudarsan Raghavan, compares modern-day Kandahar to one he knew in 1996 under Taliban rule. Much has changed. The population has grown ten-fold, it has a modern airport, and the city is thriving economically. Read more in "The last time I saw Kandahar, it was a remote Taliban bastion. How that's changed", April 20, 2015.

Kandahar Explosion. Press reports say that two people were killed and 21 others injured in an explosion in Kandahar city on Tuesday morning. (Khaama Press, April 21, 2015).

205th Coalition Advisory Team (CAT). The Australians are part of the advisory team providing training, advise, and assistance to the 205th ANA Corps in southern Afghanistan. The Aussies are augmented with personnel from the United States and Bulgaria. The 205 CAT provides advisors across a range of functions including operations, intelligence and planning as well as other enabling functions. Read more in a Facebook posting by Resolute Support Hqs, April 21, 2015.

Typical Day for MG Mike Murray - Deputy Cdr USFOR-A. So what does a typical day look like for the commander of U.S. Forces - Afghanistan. Based at Bagram Airfield, the general starts and ends his day with operations update from his staff in the joint operations center (JOC). Then office meetings and sometimes trips off base. Read more in a Facebook posting by USFOR-A, April 21, 2015.

Shiite Hazara Worried. A recent spate of kidnappings of Hazaras over the past few months have put the Harzara community on edge. Read "Kidnappings Rattle Afghan Minority", The Wall Street Journal, April 20, 2015. (subscription needed).

16 New Cabinet Members Approved. Afghanistan is one minister short of having a full cabinet. The remaining empty seat is most likely the most important one. The cabinet nominees were approved by lawmakers in Kabul. Eight ministers had been approved by the Wolesi Jirga earlier. (Radio Free Europe, April 21, 2015).

New MoD Minister Nominee? News reports indicate that the National Unity Government (NUG) leaders have agreed on Abdullah Habibi as their nominee for leadership of the Ministry of Defense (MoD). Habibi hails from Kunar province and has an MA in Military Affairs. (Tolo News, Apr 20, 2015).

Visit to MoI Logistics Facility. On April 20th General Campbell (RSM Cdr) and MG Semonite (CSTC-A Cdr) visited the Ministry of Interior's logistic facility in Wardak province. A large part of continuing the Train-Advise-Assist mission is helping the Afghans develop and maintain systems and processes which will enable long-term sustainability for their security forces. (RSM Facebook, April 21, 2015).

RSM HQs Hosts International Issues Forum. On April 21st the Resolute Support Headquarters hosted forum with representatives from Italy, Germany, United States, European Union, UN, and NATO attending. The topic of the meeting was Afghanistan and NATO's Enduring Partnership and the support that each country / agency provides. (RSM Facebook, April 21, 2015).

UNAMA Meets w/ Kunduz Women. As part of its mandated work to assist the people of Afghanistan inlaying the foundations for peace and development in the country Human Rights officials from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) meet with rural women in the north-eastern province of Kunduz. The meeting with the women focused on women and their role in peacebuilding. (UNAMA News Update, April 21, 2015).

Friendly Fire Air Crew Returns to Duty. Despite an investigation that found some startling deficiencies no charges have been made. The Air Force B-1B air crew that dropped two bombs that killed five U.S. soldiers that were part of a U.S. Special Forces mission in Zabul province in 2014 in returning to duty. Read the news report in The Washington Times, April 20, 2015.

Funeral Held for Soldier Killed in Afghanistan. A funeral was held on Monday in Massachusetts for a U.S. Army Soldier recently killed from the 101st Airborne Division. (, April 20, 2015).

Despair in Afghanistan. An Afghan who returned to her country in 2003 after years of exile expresses her disillusionment on the Afghanistan of today. Read "Afghanistan - - Where Is It Headed?", The Huffington Post, April 21, 2015.

Hearing on Global Terrorist Financing. The Committee on Financial Services will be holding a hearing on April 22, 2015 at 10:00 am (EST) on "A Survey of Global Terrorism and Terrorist Financing". Speakers include Dr. Seth Jones - director of International Security and Defense Policy Center, RAND Corporation. Should be able to webcast it to your computer.

Former Army Col Pleads Guilty. A former U.S. Army Colonel pleads guilty in connection with Afghan Mi-17 helicopter procurement contracts. (U.S. Department of Justice, April 20, 2015).

Caliphate - A Powerful Word. Rashid Dar explores the meaning and use of the word in his article "The Other C-Word: 'Caliphate'", Cicero Magazine, April 21, 2015.

Female Rangers. An opinion piece by retired general David Barno and Nora Bensahel says that "Female Rangers will lead the way, sooner or later", War is Boring, April 21, 2015.

Saving Deminers. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) says that at least 19 deminers abducted by militants of the Haqqani Network were rescued by operatives of Afghan intelligence on Tuesday. The militants were from Gardez, Paktia province (home of the 203rd Corps). Read more in a news report by Khaama Press,  April 21, 2015.

Taliban Admit to Beheadings. The insurgents say the beheadings of ANA soldiers took place during clashes last week in the northern province of Badakhshan. Read more in a news report in The Long War Journal, April 21, 2015.

Saving the A-10. Martha McSally, a retired Air Force officer, pilot, and now member of Congress, has penned a piece entitled "Saving a Plane That Saves Lives", The New York Times, April 21, 2015.

Political Process in Afghanistan Criticized. Some Afghan citizens complain that political parties are vehicles for personal advancement rather than public good. Read "Afghans Feel Let Down by Politics", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, April 21, 2015.

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