Friday, April 24, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

General Petraeus Sentenced. The retired four-star general, former commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), and former CIA director received a sentence of two years probation and $100,000. Some critics say if he was someone else the penalty may have been more severe. Others point out that he shared notes with a United States Army LTC of the Military Intelligence branch with a Top Secret clearance. No Harm, No Foul?

Half-Finished Construction Projects. Anyone who has spent any time in Afghanistan is tainted with just how badly the U.S. managed the many construction projects over the past decade. And the news isn't getting any better. I am a firm believer that we needed less 19-year-old kids from New York City and more accountants and contracting officials deployed to Afghanistan. Read "Americans Keep Paying for Bad Work for Afghan Contractors", by Matthew Gault, War is Boring, April 23, 2015.

Video. Watch a short video (30 seconds) of Afghan Air Force MD-530s firing on the range. (NATO, April 21, 2015).

Cell Phone Towers are Targets. One of the favorite targets of insurgents are cell phone towers. Usually these are spared if they provide 'protection money'. It's not always insurgents that target the cell phone towers; the criminal networks will do the same. In some areas the Taliban allow the cell phone towers to remain operational - but only during daytime hours. A cell tower in Maidan Wardak was recently destroyed.

Holbrooke's Disagreement w/ Obama Admin. Richard C. Holbrooke was the Obama administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is now known that he kept a secret audio diary detailing his frustrations with the White House - believing that it was too willing to listen to the military and that it mistook domestic political calculations for strategic thinking. Read "Richard C. Holbrooke's Diary of Disagreement with Obama Administration", The New York Times, April 22, 2015.

ANA Slaughterhouse Construction under Investigation. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction is investigating the spending of $1.25 million for an Afghan National Army (ANA) slaughterhouse that was never completed. Read SIGAR 15-51 Inspection Report, April 2015.

Border Police Missing. Policemen have gone missing after a Taliban attack on their checkpost in the Bala Murghab district of northwestern Badghis province. security has been deteriorating in this part of Afghanistan. (Khaama Press, Apr 23, 2105). See also this report which says the Taliban killed the nine border guards (ABC News, Apr 23, 2015).

National Strategy Needed by Afghanistan. Christopher Kolenda writing in Gandhara Blog (Radio Free Europe) on April 24, 2015 says that "Afghanistan Needs a National Strategy to Succeed".

Roadside Bomb Kills Six Civilians. A roadside bombing killed civilians in the country's southwest region. The six killed included four children and a man and a woman. (, Apr 23, 2105).

Australia Issues Travel Warning. On April 23, 2015 the Australia government issued a travel warning for Afghanistan.

IS in Pakistan. A writer examines the signs of the Islamic State moving into Pakistan. Read "Islamic State faces a complex web of militant groups and violence in Pakistan", New Statesman, April 23, 2015.

China and India. Central Asia is receiving a lot of attention from China, India and even Russia. That is leaving the U.S. on the edges. But, according to one analyst, that shouldn't concern Washington as the actions of China and India will result in greater development and stability for Central Asia. This is also the goal of the U.S. Department of States New Silk Road Initiative. Read more of this good news story in "Happy to Play Second Fiddle", by Michael Kugelman, Foreign Policy, April 22, 2015.

UAE - A dependable U.S. Ally. The UAE has supported American military adventures in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Kosova, and Afghanistan. Learn more in a news report in War is Boring, April 23, 2015.

Undermining Terrorist Financing. Dr. Seth Jones, a expert on the Afghan conflict (and many other security related topics) provided testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. Read it in "Breaking the Bank: Undermining Terrorist Financing", RAND Corporation, April 22, 2015.

Update on Women in Ranger School. The original 19 females in Ranger School are down to 8. Of the 381 men there are 184 left. The first four days of the Ranger course are tough and is called the Ranger Assessment Phase (RAP). Read about historic Ranger School statistics:

A Feminist Perspective on Use of Drones. One writer argues against the strategic utility of drones to neutralize terrorist organizations in "Drones, Gender and Classical Realists", E-International Relations, April 17, 2015.

A Scholar Interviewed on Gender, Security, and Military Contractors. Paul Higate of the University of Bristol is interviewed on a number of issues in an news story posted on E-International Relations on April 22, 2015.

2014 Report on Security Clearance Determinations. The Intelligence Authorization Act (IAA) of 2010 requires the President to submit an annual report on Security Clearance Determinations to Congress.  You can read the report on the website of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, April 23, 2015.

CRS Pub on SOF. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a report entitled U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, by Andrew Feickert, April 9, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.