Thursday, April 30, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Copper and Iron - Afghanistan's Economic Future? President Ghani has said that Afghanistan will become the world's largest producer of iron and copper in the next 15 years. Afghanistan has rich deposits of minerals but a very bad security situation. Ghani is on a three-day visit to India and is hoping to encourage economic investment in Afghanistan's future. Read more in a news report by Khaama Press, April 29, 2015.

ISIS in Afghanistan. News reports continue to speculate on the strength of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Javid Ahmad writing in The Diplomat (April 29, 2015) provides his thoughts.

Influx of Insurgents from Pakistan. Afghan officials are warning about an influx of insurgents from neighboring Pakistan into northern Afghanistan in an attempt to destabilize what has mostly been a peaceful part of the country. (ABC News, April 29, 2015).

Corruption and a U.S. Supported Regime. Read Tracy Wood's account of how the United States spent money and lives supporting a corrupt regime 40 years ago and think about the present conflict in Afghanistan. See "A War Correspondent Turned Lifelong Corruption Fighter", Voice of OC, April 29, 2015.

Taliban Onslaught. Franz-Stefan Gady examines the start of the Afghan fighting season that has begun with a vengeance this year. Read "Taliban Onslaught: What is Happening in Afghanistan?", The Diplomat, April 29, 2015.

Tajikistan Watches Conflict in Northern Afghanistan. Tajikistan, a country on Afghanistan's northern border, is watching with great interest the current fighting in Kunduz and other locations in northern Afghanistan. Read more in "Tajikistan Watches as Fighting Flares in Northern Afghanistan", The Bug Pit -, April 27, 2015.

Afghan Television Debate - Child Marriage. A United Nations backed television show highlighted the negative consequences of child marriage. Read more in a UN news release (UNAMA News Update, April 29, 2015).

"When Casualties Come Home from War". An excellent article on what happens on the home front when a servicemember is wounded or killed. By Jill Sargent Russell posted on Kings of War, April 29, 2015.

The Killing of Farkhunda. The Afghan press is full of reports and accounts about the killing of the Afghan women that took place over a month ago on the streets of Kabul by a band of Afghan men. This event received national and international attention. The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) has provided more information and background on this event here and here.

Female Afghan Top Gun. The most recent graduate of pilot training in the Afghan Air Force is getting a lot of press. She has been profiled almost every week in the press. Read more about the 23-year-old pilot. Daily Mail, April 29, 2015.

DoD Policy & Women in Combat. The DoD policy on women has changed in recent years. Current policy is explained in "DoD Seeks Right Standards, Policies for Women in Combat Roles", DoD News, April 27, 2015.

Video - NATO Role 3 at Kandahar. Watch a 8-minute long video about the Role 3 medical unit on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. Meet the doctors and nurses! Watch the video here.

Orphans in Afghanistan. Read the story about Afghanistan's orphans and the limited help available to them in "For Afghanistan's abandoned children, help is scarce",, April 29, 2015.

UN Welcomes Drone Review. The United Nations welcomed the news that the United States is going to conduct a review of drone operations. (UN News Centre, April 29, 2015).

IO and "Narrative". An Australian IO SME tells us something about "narrative" in his article in The Bridge, April 2015.

Outspoken Army Officer Retires. LTC Daniel Davis is retiring. An Army officer with four combat tours, he has been an outspoken critic of the conduct of the Afghan War and has called for a sweeping overhaul of the top leadership. Read more in "Outspoken officer retires, trains sights on politics", Army Times, Apri 28, 2015.

# of Security Clearance Holders Drops. Federal agencies have trimmed the ranks of employees and contractors with access to classified information. The number of security clearance holders has dropped 12 percent since the year before. This is caused by a number of factors to include the drawdown of forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, internal reviews of security clearance requirements, and declassification efforts. (Defense One, April 28, 2015).

Mental Health in Afghanistan. Living in an impoverished country like Afghanistan makes it difficult for those seeking medical assistance - especially in the mental health field. Read more "You're not alone: tackling mental health in Afghanistan", European Year for Development, April 23, 2015.

Gen Anderson Says Good Bye to FBNC. General Anderson, the commander of 18th Airborne Corps and the former (and last) commander of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC) is leaving his post. He will be relieved by MG Townsend, the former commander of 10th Mountain Division, a past commander of Regional Command East, and member of the "Boston Mafia". (Fayettville Observer, April 29, 2015).

ManTech wins $7 Billion Contract. ManTech International was awarded two contracts worth up to $7 billion by the Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) to provide global intelligence support services (GISS). (Defense Daily Network, April 28, 2015.

New Book - Warlords . . .  Jesse Driscoll has wrote a book scheduled for release in May 2015 entitled "Warlords and Coalition Politics in Post-Soviet States". I am sure much of the book will concern the Central Asian states; Afghanistan could get a mention. 

A Changed World Since 9/11. A lot has happened in the many years since September 2001. Some of us missed the changes because we spent - like years in Afghanistan. Read "This is How Much the World has Changed Since the War in Afghanistan Began",, April 29, 2015.

Morse Code Training - End of an Era. The first Morse Code message went out on May 24, 1844. Morse Code played a huge role in the military for many years. It was one of the cheapest and most reliable means of communication. For years Morse Code training was conducted at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. When Fort Devens closed down the training went to Fort Huachuca. Now the training in Arizona is being shut down. For years Special Forces Communications Sergeants (O5Bs and then later 18Es) had to be proficient in Morse code. Read more in "Fort Huachuca bids farewell to Morse Code training",, April 27, 2015. 

Military Retirement Changes? Not so Fast. Veteran members of the house are putting a damper on proposed changes to an Army retirement system that has served us well for many years. Some of the old timers think there is a rush to make changes. Read more in "Retirement reform faces challenge from veteran lawmakers", Military Times, April 29, 2015. (Got to love the old guys!).

Gen Dostum Emerges. It appears that Dostum is emerging as a major political figure - at least according to his media advisor. Read more in "Working with General Abdul Rashid Dostum", by Sultan Faizy, The Diplomat, April 24, 2015.

Gen Campbell Pushes for ROE like U.S. Police Departments. According to a news report by the Duffel Blog senior military leaders are pushing for Ruled of Engagement (ROE) that big city police departments enjoy in the United States. Read more in "Military Pushes for Same Broad Rules of Engagement as Civilian Police Forces", Duffel Blog, January 5, 2015. (Caution - satire).

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