Thursday, April 30, 2015

Springtime in a "Failed State"

It is springtime in Afghanistan - which means a lot of things - but to the U.S. military stationed in that country it means the start of another fighting season. This fighting season will be a big test for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) as there is a reduced number of Coalition troops in country (12,000?) and many of those are "train and advise" troops, staff, or support - not combat units. In addition, the Coalition airpower in country is a lot less than previous years. To many Afghans springtime is also the start of another 'poppy season'. This, of course, is a constant reminder of the U.S. inability to stem the growth of opium and transit of the drug to the Russian, European, and Middle East markets. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has recently published a series of reports on the efforts in Afghanistan and the contents are rather troubling. Gary Owen provides us a glimpse of the reports in "Phantom Troops, Taliban Fighting, and Wasted Money - It's Springtime in Afghanistan", Vice News, April 29, 2015.

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