Sunday, August 16, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Let's Talk about Afghanistan Again. Michael Kugelman examines why news about Afghanistan has dropped off the radar screen over the past few years but then provides us with four valid reasons why we must still pay attention to Afghanistan in "Bringing Afghanistan Back Into the Spotlight", Foreign Policy, August 10, 2015.

Think Tanks and Afghanistan. While many think tanks are leaving the topic of Afghanistan behind and moving on to more current events (Russia, Ukraine, ISIS, Pacific, etc.) one is helping to keep Afghanistan in the news. The Atlantic Council has started an initiative to help solidify support for Afghanistan with efforts to clarify issues and policy options, generate public and political support for continued investment, and to sustain and accelerate the momentum required to generate important change in the country. I wish them well in that endeavor! Read more in "Afghanistan Rising".

Preserving COIN Expertise. As the U.S. conducts its pivot to the vast Pacific area and other international concerns (leaving Afghanistan in the dust) it is important that the experience garnered in counterinsurgency operations is not squandered (as it was in the post-Vietnam period). Read an article on this topic entitled "Rapid Regeneration of Irregular Warfare Capacity", Joint Force Quarterly,  78, July 1, 2015.

Book Review - In a Land Far From Home. In 1948 a visiting Indian wrote a book about Afghanistan in the 1920s. Jolyon Leslie has penned a review of this book and recommends it as reading for those foreigners who are working in Afghanistan as a way to understand Afghan culture, society, and culture. Read the book review posted on the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).

HTS - Turnaround Story. The U.S. Army's Human Terrain System (HTS) started out shaky but quickly gain momentum as a valuable contribution to the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clifton Green provides us a look at the HTS and how came to become an effective organization in "Turnaround: The Untold Story of the Human Terrain System", Joint Force Quarterly, July 1, 2015.

UN Peace Operations. The United Nations has a website that shows where all the UN Peace Operations are being conducted. That includes the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan or UNAMA.

Afghans Need Passports to Flee Country. There are many factors that lead Afghans to want to leave their country - insecurity, violence, poverty, and unemployment are a few. But passports are sometimes difficult to acquire. Read more in "Afghans Queue for Passports to Flee Country", Tolo News, August 11, 2015.

Afghan Interpreters Left Behind by French. Afghan interpreters put their lives at risk performing services for the international armies that have occupied Afghanistan over the past decade and more. Now that these coalition troops have left the need for Afghan interpreters has diminished significantly. In addition, many are being targeted by the Taliban because of their service to the international community. Read more in a news report by France 24, August 14, 2015.

Afghan History of a Better Time. Learn about the "Johnny Appleseed of Afghanistan" in Afghanistan's Better History, With Lessons for Today, August 13, 2015 by United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Chayes and Corruption. Sarah Chayes is a leading voice in the battle against state corruption - not only in Afghanistan but in other parts of the world as well. Read more in a news report by The Christian Science Monitor (Aug 13, 2015).

Women Imprisoned. Gabriela Maj, a Polish-Canadian photojournalist, writes about women and prisons in "Afghan women imprisoned by their culture", The Washington Post, August 14, 2015.

Canadian Envoy - Deborah Lyons. The Canadian Embassy in Kabul has been in the forefront of women's issues in the country. (The Star, August 14, 2015).

2-300th FA Battalion Heading to Afghanistan. A Battery is at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming honing their field artillery skills in preparation for an Afghan deployment.  Read more in "2-300th FA Battalion prepares for historic deployment", DVIDS, July 6, 2015.

CT Scanner for BAF Hospital. The Craig Joint Theater Hospital at Bagram Airfield recently received a new high tech computerized tomography scanner. The new CT scanner cost $1.2 million and replaces a 2006 model. Read more in a news release by DVIDS, August 8, 2015.

NYT on Law of War Manual. The New York Times has published an editorial slamming the Defense Department on the 2015 release of the Law of War Manual (June 2015). The document includes guidelines on the treatment of journalists covering armed conflicts and the Times is not happy with them. Read "The Pentagon's Dangerous Views on the Wartime Press", August 10, 2015.

IO and Conflict. Today's fight against terrorists and insurgents takes place on the battlefield but also in peoples minds. The increasing use of social media by terrorists and insurgents forces us (counterterrorists and counterinsurgents) to become more proficient and effective in the information operations arena. Read more in "A Foreign Diplomat Just Taught America How to Win the War of Ideas", by Kori Schake in War on the Rocks Blog, August 14, 2015.

Senate Caucus for Veterans. The United States Senate has launched the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Caucus in August with the goal of building a legislative force on veterans and military issues. There are 32 members of the House and Senate who served in the post-9/11 military - 26 of the deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan. (Military Times, Aug 7, 2015).

U.S. Military Pay & Benefits Guide. Military Times has published its annual Benefits Guide - a one-stop resource on pay and benefits programs offered to active-duty and reserve component service members, retirees, veterans, and their families. The 76-page guide is available online. Read more in a news report by Military Times, August 10, 2015.

Earthquake. An earthquake took place in Afghanistan that was also felt in places like India on Monday, August 10th. It was measured as a 6.2 magnitude quake.

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