Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

DGov Survives Bomb Blast. A news report says the district governor of Bati Kot in eastern Nangarhar province survived a bomb blast on Tuesday. Three bodyguards were wounded. This is after an attack on the logistics officer of the local police in the same district last week. (Khaama Press, Apr 27, 2015).

Human Rights Implementation - Not So Much. President Ashraf Ghani has promised many things since running as a candidate and winning the election. One of these promises was to end official tolerance for torture, protect the freedom of the media, include women in peace talks, and to bring transparency to negotiations with the Taliban. So far . . . these items are waiting on implementation. Read more in "Afghanistan must make rights a reality", Gateway House (Indian Council on Global Relations), April 27, 2015.

Ghani in India. President Ghani is on a three-day tour in India. There's lots to do on this trip. A primary aim will be to ensure India continues to provide reconstruction and development aid to Afghanistan - despite the 'lean to Pakistan'. Of course, there are the numerous public appearances as well. One such event was the ribbon cutting by Ghani that inaugurated the Afghan Embassy in New Delhi, India. Read more in "Ashraf Ghani Faces Challenge on India Visit", The Wall Street Journal, April 28, 2015 (subscription only). See also this story - "Afghan President Calls for Greater Regional Cooperation to Fight Terrorism", Voice of America, April 28, 2015.

Govt Chokehold on Afghan Media? Patricia Gossman writing in an article says that the country's media is facing new obstacles in obtaining government information and tightening restrictions on reporting from combat zones. Read more in "Dispatches: Tightening Chokehold on Afghanistan's Media", Human Rights Watch, April 27, 2015.

ANA Takes Fight to the Taliban. Tom Bowman writing in Parallels - National Public Radio (April 28, 2015) describes an Afghan National Army (ANA) operation against the Taliban in the foothills of Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. Read "On Its Own, The Afghan Army Takes the Fight to the Taliban".

House Action on A-10. The house is proposing the blocking of the Air Force retirement of the A-10 Warthog. This is, of course, great news for the Army. Read more in "House Authorization Would Keep A-10s Flying", Defense News, April 27, 2015.

Afghan Air Force Update. The commander of TAAC-Air vows not to abandon Afghan pilots and maintainers as they slowly learn how to sustain their helicopters and planes. Read more in "U.S. readies Afghans to fly solo", Air Force Times, April 27, 2015.

NYT Publishes Names of CIA Employees. The New York Times has published names of leading CIA employees associated with the CIA's drone program. See "Why The New York Times is Naming Names in CIA Drone Story", The Huffington Post, April 27, 2015.

Drone Reforms - Sometimes Don't Apply. "Despite a 2013 pledge to fix the targeting killing program, the Obama administration ignores its own directives for nearly half of all strikes". Read more in "Obama's Drone Reforms Don't Apply to 46 Percent of Strikes", Defense One, April 27, 2015.

Ungoverned Spaces - Refuge for Terrorists. We are now living in an era where ungoverned spaces (like parts of Afghanistan), long the accomplice in jihadist activity, are playing a starring role. Read more in "The losing war against ungoverned spaces", Pragati - the Indian National Interest Review, April 28, 2015.

Ismail Khan - Herat in Danger. The "Lion of Herat" - Ismail Khan - has warned that Herat will become insecure within weeks if the government keeps looking the other way. (Afghanistan Times, April 28, 2015).

Nimroz. Three police were killed and 4 troops injured in Nimroz province according to Pajhwok Afghan News.

Plea Deal for Bergdahl? Many observers feel that the deserter Bergdahl will plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid a lengthy prison sentence. The Army would very likely agree to that. Read more in a news story in the Los Angeles Times, April 28, 2015.

Book Review - "Thieves of State". Aaron Mannes reviews the book by Sarah Chayes. See his review entitled "Grand Theft Autocracy", War on the Rocks, April 27, 2015.

Islamic State Training Camp in Logar. It appears that the Islamic State has a training camp that they operate in eastern Logar - a province located just below Kabul. Read more in "Islamic State promotes training camp in eastern Afghanistan", The Long War Journal, April 28, 2005.

Pakistan & Foreign Aid. Some analysts think that external foreign aid hasn't helped curtail extremist violence in Pakistan because the aid has focused too much on minimizing the Pakistani state's weaknesses and has ignored the real problem. Read "The Failure of Foreign Aid to Pakistan", Eurasia Review, April 28, 2015.

Parwan Province Math Competition. Members of Task Force Solid Shield (based at BAF) are assisting educators in Parwan with their educational goals. (CENTCOM, April 28, 2015).

82nd CAB Returning Home. The 82nd Airborne Division will soon see the return of the Combat Aviation Brigade from Afghanistan. (Fayetteville Observer, April 28, 2015).

SOCOM Info Ops Budget. The House Armed Services Committee is recommending that the U.S. Special Operations Command budget for info ops be doubled. (Tampa Bay Online, Apr 27, 2015).

Richard Holbrooke's Audio Diary. Read an opinion piece in The New York Times (April 28, 2015) about the diplomats hope for a reconciliation of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan in "Richard Holbrooke's Diary of His Diplomacy".

3rd ID Soldiers Discuss Afghanistan. About 200 Soldiers from Fort Stewart are serving in Afghanistan. Read more in "Much work still remains in Afghanistan", WJCL News, April 28, 2015.

4th Fighter Squadron Leaving Afghanistan. The Hill Air Force Base unit is departing Afghanistan after completion of a six-month long tour. (Standard Examiner, Apr 28, 2015).

Historian Tells us about Dotum. Brian Glyn Williams gave a presentation about Abdul Rashid Dostum at the Asia Institute of UCLA. Read more in "Afghan warlord led U.S. forces to overthrow the Taliban".

TAAC-North Press Conference. The commander of TAAC-North conducted a press conference at Camp Marmal on April 16th. (Resolute Support News, April 28, 2015).

Cultural Support Teams (CST). Former members of a CST in Afghanistan relate their time on the ground with Special Operations forces in "Women in special operations: Female troops detail their time in combat", The Washington Post, April 28, 2015.

Drone Attack. Pajhwok Afghan News reports that a drone attack killed two insurgents and wounded four others in Kuner province. Other news reports say that three were killed in the Chape Darre district.

Grandmother Talks of Afghan Service. A grandmother who joined the service at a late age talks about her deployment to Afghanistan (, April 28, 2015).

IED Explosion in Kabul on Tuesday. There was an IED explosion in the Darulaman Road area (PD3) early on Tuesday afternoon. Some news reports say it was a magnetic mine attached to a white police vehicle. Read more in "Explosion targets police vehicle in Kabul City", Khaama Press, April 26, 2015.

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