Sunday, August 16, 2015

Security News

Kunduz Bombing Death Toll Rises. According to some news reports the death toll from a recent bombing (Sat, Aug 8) reached 29 people. Many of those killed were members of a militia fighting the Taliban in Khanabad district. Read more in a news report by Gandhara Blog, August 9, 2015.

Kandahar Road Blast. Two civilians were killed in a roadside mine blast in Kandahar on Sunday, 9 Aug. Nine were wounded in the attack on the passenger bus.

15 Police Killed in Helmand Attack. A large group of Afghan policemen were killed in Musa Qala district of  Helmand province when Taliban insurgents attacked their post. (Afghanistan Times, August 12, 2015).

BG Shoffner Discusses Afghan Forces. Shoffner briefed the Pentagon press corps live from Kabul by telephone where he discusses a range of topics about security, the ANDSF, and Islamic State in Afghanistan. Read a DoD News article (August 13, 2015).

Dostum on Front Lines. Vice President Dostum has been visiting the front lines in northern Afghanistan wearing a military uniform and body armor. Two of his sons are performing duties as bodyguard to the VP. Read more in a news report (Tolo News, Aug 11, 2015).

Drone Strikes. According to some Afghan government sources a large number of Taliban and Daesh insurgents have been killed in numerous drone strikes in eastern Nangarhar province over the past month. (Tolo News, Aug 11, 2015).

Drone Crash. A U.S. drone is reported to have crashed in Kapisa province in the last week.

Pakistan Continues Cross-Border Rocket Attacks. The governor of Kunar confirmed on Sunday (Aug 9) that over the past several days at least 43 rockets have hit the border areas of Kunar province killing one civilian and wounding a nine-year-old Afghan child. The cross border firing of rockets and artillery by the Pakistan military has long been a source of tension between the two nations. Not to mention the ISI's support of the Taliban. (Tolo News, Aug 9, 2015).

"Aren't You Afraid to Live in Afghanistan?" A civilian from Canada living in Kabul for the past ten years answers the question. (The Huffington Blog, Aug 11, 2015).

Kabul Airport Car Bomb. A car bomb killed four (maybe five) and wounded more than 15 people near Kabul airport on Monday, August 10th. The incident took place at the first Entry Control Point (ECP).

IMU with Taliban or ISIS? There is confusion among many observers of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan as to how the group is aligned. Some think that it is still allied with the Taliban while recent press releases indicate it has become part of the Islamic State. Read more in "Who Controls the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan?", The Diplomat, August 15, 2015.

Guide to U.S. Military Casualty Statistics. An August 7th report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is available.

Combat-Related TBI. A new report  by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) obscures the extent of combat-related traumatic brain injuries. Read more in, August 12, 2015.

Can Civilian Academics Offer Advise to the Military on Defense Policy? Hmmmm. Maybe their advise is not as good as they think. Read more in "Political Scientists and the Military", The RAND Blog, August 10, 2015.

Afghan MPs receive training from TAAC-Air. Advisors from the Train Advise Assist Command - Air provided training to Afghan military police from the Kabul Air Wing. Read more in a news report by DVIDS, August 14, 2015.

ANDSF Clearing Opn in Nangarhar. The distrrcts of Khogyani, Sherzad, and Hisarak have been the brunt of an Afghan security forces 'clearing operation'. This large and multi-organizational operation involving the ANA, ANP and other elements was designed to disrupt networks of Taliban and other 'enemies of Afghanistan'. One goal is to provide continued security to the area; something that most clearing operations fail to do - especially in these three districts where the ANA only ventures periodically. Read more in a cheerleading-like news release by RS HQs (DVIDS, Aug 15, 2015).

Kabul Friends of Chicago. There are lots of international groups and organizations in Afghanistan assisting with security, governance and development. Here is one I never heard of before. It seems it consists of representatives from 10 donor nations and they were recently presented with a series of briefs by the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A). I guess that brief can be boiled down to "Yes, you have given us lots of your donor money and we know that half of it is now invested in Dubai real estate . . . but we feel that the Afghan government and security forces - despite advances by the Taliban on the battlefield - are making great progress." Read more in "International partners strategize funding for Afghanistan's future", Resolute Support News, August 12, 2015.

Drug Smuggling Arrests Increase. The Criminal Justice Task Force (CJTF) has reported that drug crime arrests are up by five percent from the same period last year. Read "2015 Sees Increase in Drug Smuggling Arrests", Tolo News, August 11, 2015.

Now Zad District Flying Taliban Flag. Afghan government officials confirm that the Taliban now control the district of Now Zad in Helmand province. The district was overrun by the Taliban a few weeks back at the end of July. ANA vehicles and equipment were captured. (The Long War Journal).

13,000 ANDSF Dead in 3 Years. While Resolute Support Headquarters is quite quick to proclaim the number of Taliban attacks is down since last year there are a couple of statistics that shed more light on the topic of how well the Afghan security forces are doing. In the last three years the security forces have suffered over 13,000 killed. This current year will likely see a 40% increase in fatalities. Certainly not good news no matter how you try to smear on the lipstick. Read more in an ABC news report, August 14, 2015.

Ashraf Ghani blasts Pakistan. On Monday, August 10th President Ghani posted on Twitter the following: "We can no longer tolerate to see our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed from outside." Has he finally lost patience with Pakistan? The recent string of Kabul bombings may have ended the 'pivot to Pakistan'. He presented a speech on Monday afternoon (August 10th) slamming Pakistan. Read more in a press report by Tolo News, August 10, 2015. Read also "Ghani Closes Window on Pakistan", Gandhara, August 11, 2015.

Security News In Closing - "Things are not actually going so great in Afghanistan". A foreign policy essay on the Lawfare Blog by Gary Owen (not his real name) wrote on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

Security News In Closing - "Things Are Not That Bad in Afghanistan". At least, according to Michael O'Hanlon. He writes as much in a news posting on the National Interest Blog (August 6, 2015). He provides us with his perspective on a recent discussion with General Campbell (RS Cdr) on August 4, 2015 at the Brookings Institution.

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