|BG Paul Bontrager, TAAC-South Cdr confers|
with ANA 205th Corps Cdr in Aug 2015
(Photo by Lt.Kristine Volk, RS PAO)
Kabul Suicide Bombings of Aug 7th. Kabul was hit with four different bomb attacks in one day. One attack killed approximately 20 Afghan National Police recruits at the ANP Academy. Another attack reportedly struck a U.S. special operations compound (one new report says 3 U.S. personnel were wounded). Estimates range as high as 50 dead and hundreds wounded in the four attacks. Read more in "A Day of Devastation in Afghanistan's Capital", The Los Angeles Times, August 7, 2015. See also a Resolute Support HQs statement on the attacks in a August 7th news release.
U.S. Service Member Killed at SOF Base. Fox News is reporting that one U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier was killed in the August 7th militant attack at Camp Integrity (near the Kabul airport) during the rash of bombings. The death occurred outside the hqs of Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A). Eight (or nine) contracted Afghan civilians were killed as well as four insurgent attackers. There were also numerous wounded who were airlifted by helicopter for medical treatment. Camp Integrity is run by the U.S. security contracting firm known as Academi (formerly called Blackwater). Resolute Support HQs issued a very short statement on the death. Read one early report about the casualty. (North West Florida Daily News, August 8, 2015). Senator Reed's office (Rhode Island) has sent out a notice providing the slain Soldier's name (WPRI.com, August 8, 2015).
Are The New York Times writers on crack? For reasons I cannot fathom The New York Times carried the following headline - "In Handling Barrage of Attacks, Afghan Forces Show Training is Paying Off", August 9, 2015. Things that make you go "Hmmm".
"The Cry from Kunduz". Jade Wu, a former Rule of Law advisor in northern Afghanistan, writes about the deteriorating security situation in Kunduz and the plight of her former staff (lawyers, interpreters, etc.) now seeking refuge in the United States. Read her report in "The Cry from Kunduz", The Hill Blog, August 4, 2015.
22 Killed in Kunduz on Aug 8. A Taliban suicide bomber drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into a group of pro-government militia and detonated it. (Radio Free Europe, Aug 9, 2015).
Kandahar Police Station Attacked. A group of Taliban attacked a police station in PD4 in Kandahar city on Thursday, August 6th.
"ANSF Continues to Progress". General John Campbell (see bio here) expressed his optimism about the security forces in Afghanistan during an August 4th conference at the Brookings Institute Center in Washington, D.C. He says that the Taliban, despite the significant casualties suffered by the ANSF, will not be able to overthrow the Afghan government. What was not mentioned is when he expects the ANSF to defeat the insurgents. Read more in a DoD press release entitled "Afghan Security Forces Continue to Progress, U.S. General Says", DoD News, August 5, 2015. You can view the conversation online (courtesy of C-SPAN) in his 1 1/2 hour long discussion at the Brookings Institution.
Civilian Casualties at Record High. The United Nations has come out recommending that Afghan government forces stop firing mortars and grenades into civilian-populated areas in order to diminish the high rate of civilian casualties. According to a United Nations report civilian casualties for 2015 will be one of the deadliest years for Afghanistan.
Sorobi District Op. The Afghan security forces have launched a major military operation in Sorobi district of Kabul province named "Operation Musalas-e-Fuladi". Members of the ANA, ANP, and NDS are taking part in the operation. According to one Afghan general (Gen. Zaheer) the operation would target insurgents supported by the Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). (Tolo News, Aug 6,2015).
Palace Bombing Attempt. Reports issued on Monday (Aug 3) say that the National Directorate of Security (NDS) spoiled an attempt to bomb the Presidential palace. At the time President Ghani was allegedly in Germany recuperating from surgery on his foot (or leg or knee?).
Clearing of Faryab Province? News reports indicate that the Afghan government forces have commenced a clearing operation in Faryab. First Vice-President Abdul Rashid Dostum has been spending some time in the province encouraging support for the operation. (Tolo News, Aug 3, 2015). Some observers have been criticizing Dostum for supervising the anti-Taliban offensive (Gandara Blog, August 8, 2015). He is apparently diverting scarce military resources to a province with a large Uzbek population (his favorite ethnic group I presume) at the expense of other provinces with security situations as bad as Faryab.
Uzbekistan and NATO. Of all the post-Soviet Central Asian countries Uzbekistan has been the most independent of Russia. The country faces an insurgent problem posed by the IMU and is aligning itself in some respects with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The growing unrest in northern Afghanistan has the Uzbeks concerned and good relations with NATO will hopefully provide some assistance in the future should the conflict move across the border. (Silk Road Reporters, Aug 7, 2015).
IMU and Islamic State. According to some news reports the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) has now announced its membership in ISIS. Read more in "IMU Declares It Is Now Part of the Islamic State", Radio Free Europe, August 8, 2015. Read more in "IMU Pledges Allegiance to Islamic State", Inside the Cocoon - Eurasianet.org, August 1, 2015. www.eurasianet.org/node/74471
Suicide Truck Blast. A truck blast occurred in Logar. The attack took place in Pol-e Alam (provincial capital). There were many wounded. (Radio Free Europe, Aug 6, 2015).