Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Government Appointments. Twitter reports say that Asif Rahim and Humayon Azizi were appointed as governors of Herat and Kandahar respectively and Jilani Popal as the head of Independent Directorate of Local Government (IDLG).

Russia IO Machine at Work. The news agencies of Russia are busy. One of its latest attempts was a report that a key Afghan aid to President Ghani made some anti-American remarks at a conference in Moscow. The aid says "Not True". Read more in a news story - "Afghan Presidential Aide Refutes Anti-American Remarks", Radio Free Europe - Gandhara Blog, April 27, 2015.

Ahmad Zia Masoud. Masoud survived a mortar attack in Badakhshan. He is President Ghani's special envoy for reform and good governance. Read more in report by Khaama Press, April 27, 2015.

Kandahar Province. 101st Airborne and Romanians working together. A news story (April 1, 2015) on Army.mil tells us about the 33rd Romanian Mountain Battalion and the 101st combining into a composite force to provide security to the Kandahar airbase and work the Train, Advise, and Assist mission of TAAC-South.

Kunduz Fight. President Ghani reportedly postponed his India trip for a few hours because of the increased fighting in Kunduz. There are reports that the Taliban have entered two of the districts of the province. Read more in "Taliban attack major Afghan city, Ghani delays India trip"Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 27, 2015.

Fighting Season Underway. Spring has come to Afghanistan and the 2015 fighting season is underway. Read more in "Spring Ushers in Fighting Season in Afghanistan", The World Post, April 27, 2015.

Explosion in Zabul Province. A bomb exploded killing six members of a family in Zabul province. Two children and a woman were among those killed. ABC News, April 27, 2015. Some news reports say five deaths; others six deaths.

"Operation Badar". The Afghan army has launched a military operation in Zabul province to combat the threat of insurgents.

Sports and Conflict Resolution. Vanessa Thevathasan reports on how sports is providing new avenues for peace and development in Afghanistan. Sport is becoming a growing popular interest, especially among the young. Football, cricket, and rugby are all playing a greater role in bringing the nation together. (Insight on Conflict, April 27, 2015). 

Drone Policy Loosened. The Wall Street Journal reports that "Obama Kept Looser Rules for Drones in Pakistan". He reportedly waived the requirement to show proposed targets posed an imminent threat to the U.S. (subscription only, April 26, 2015). Read a news article on the same topic by Robert Chesney in the Lawfare Blog, April 27, 2015.

Small Drones for Humanitarian Relief in War Zones. An interesting article by Catrin Nye for BBC News tells us about how small drones can deliver food and medicine to people in war zones. Read "Getting aid to a war zone in a swarm of drones", April 25, 2015.

CASA-1000 Project. The Central Asia South Asia (CASA) electricity transmission project is progressing along. Read "CASA-1000 Project Signed, Promising Major Revenues for Afghanistan", Tolo News, April 24, 2015.

Islamic State in Afghanistan? Lauren McNally of the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has penned "Is the Islamic State Escalating in Afghanistan?, April 27, 2015.

"Framework Ambassadors" Visit Afghanistan. The four NATO countries that serve as the "framework nations" for the Resolute Support mission are the United States, Turkey, Germany and Italy. These four nations lead the Train, Advise, Assist Commands. Turkey leads in the capital region, Germany in TAAC-North, Italy in TAAC-West and the United States in TAAC-East and TAAC-South. The four 'framework' ambassadors visited NATO's Resolute Support HQs during the last week of April. Read more in a news story in Khaama Press, April 27, 2015.

New Pub - "Peace Ops". The Air Land Sea Applications Center (ALSA) has published a change to "Peace Ops: Mult-service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Peace Operations", ATP 3-07.31. The updated manual is available at the link below.

'Triple Nickel' arrives at BAF. Airmen from the 555th Fighter Squadron based at Aviano Air Base, Italy have arrived in Afghanistan. They will provide over-watch and close-air-support for ground units in Afghanistan with their F-16 Falcons for the next six months. Read more in "Triple Nickel arrives at BAF", DVIDS, April 27, 2015.

New Century Consulting, Imperatis, & SIGAR. A recent news story says that two firms that provided "counterinsurgency experts" for the Afghan war effort are involved in an investigation by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). New Century provided expert trainers for the widely-regarded "Legacy" program which was one of the few success stories in the training of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police intelligence organizations. Read more in a news report by The Independent,  April 27, 2015.

Hostage Policy. Some believe that relatives should be allowed to pay ransoms for U.S. hostages. (L.A. Times, April 26, 2015).

EU and Afghan Women. Paulo Casaca writes in The Parliament Magazine (April 27, 2015) that the "EU must continue to support Afghan women".

JIEDDO Contract. CACI International has been awarded a contract to provide support services to the US Department of Defense's Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization's (JIEDDO) J9 division. Read "CACI wins JIEDDO support contract", Shephard News, April 27, 2015.

F-35 Software Under Fire. A recent news story provides info on the subpar performance of the F-35 logistics information system. The ALIS software is slow, unresponsive, and generates lots of false alarms. National Defense Magazine, April 24, 2015.

SOCOM Dream Customer. Many defense contractors believe that there is "Something Special About Doing Business with SOCOM". With a leaner bureaucracy, control of its own budget, expediated procurement process, and warfighters just down the corridor the "beans and bullets" staff at the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill AFB are quicker to move contracts.

U.S. Military Retirement System Changes. It appears that Congress will be making some dramatic changes to the military retirement system. The change will move from a 20-year "all or nothing" retirement to a "blended" retirement system. Read more in "Retirement overhaul on fast track", Military Times, April 27, 2015.

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