Sunday, October 18, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Medal of Honor for Army Captain. News reports say that an Army captain will get the Medal of Honor for tackling an Afghan suicide bomber in August 2012 in Asadabad, Afghanistan. The captain, at the time a lieutenant, was in charge of a personal security detail and tackled an Afghan approaching his detail who had explosive vest. Four people died and the LT suffered severe injuries. 

New SRAP. Richard Olson, the current ambassador to Pakistan, has been appointed as the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). The office of the SRAP coordinates across the government to meet U.S. strategic goals in the region while engaging NATO and other key friends, allies and those around the world who are interested in supporting these efforts. See news story by Khaama Press, October 16, 2015. See also a State Department news release.
State Department's webpage on SRAP.  

Women in Combat Units and the Draft. A recent graduate of the Ranger School (just last week) is the third female to do so. The 37-year old mother of two and Army reservist has now prompted more calls for the full integration of women into combat units. So the social landscape of the military is changing on a lot of fronts. Some conclude that if women want full equality then they should be subject to the draft as well. Read more in "Women Will Likely Have to Register for the Draft, Army Secretary Says",, October 12, 2015. There are some women who are currently serving that think it will take time for women to achieve command positions in combat units. Read "Slow, Steady Rise Seen for Women in Combat", Defense News, October 12, 2015. SecDef Ash Carter has issued a "hush order" (STFU) on the issue.

Winning in a Complex World. The commander of TRADOC wants everyone to know what the Army's new operating concept is (, Oct 5, 2015).

Afghan Brain Drain. The United Nations fears an Afghan 'Brain Drain' as the Taliban surge sparks a major exodus to Europe. (Foreign Policy, Oct 13, 2015).

Report on US Aid to Afghanistan. A recent report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that Afghan businesses have failed to capitalize on the loads of money that the US and other countries have provided over the past 13 years. Read "US Aid to Afghanistan Has Largely Been Wasted and Stolen, Report Says", Vice News, October 14, 2015.

Water Fights with Iran. Water is a precious commodity and necessity of life along the Afghan-Iranian border. Sometimes the violence results in deaths. See "The rising costs of water: dire consequences for Afghans in battle with Iranians", The Guardian, October 15, 2015.

Senators Meet with USFOR-A. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others met with the leaders of USFOR-A at Bagram Air Field this past week (Oct 15th). Conversation topics during a dinner included security, politics (Afghan), and counterterrorism. (USFOR-A Facebook, Oct 15, 2015).

Did Pakistan Know the Whereabouts of OBL? According to one news report the senior leaders of Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan. (The Washington Post, Oct 14, 2015).

Pakistan's New Strategy. The country that supports the Taliban the most by providing intelligence, sanctuaries, supplies, and money is now trying to both retain the loyalty of the Afghan Taliban but at the same time splinter the organization. Read more in "Divide and Rule: Pakistan's New Covert Taliban Approach", Gandhara Blog, October 17, 2015.

Book - Old Silk Road. A novel about the war in Afghanistan has just been published. The author, Brandon Caro, writes about an Army medic assigned to an Afghan police advisory team in Afghanistan's Laghman province in the 2007 timeframe. Read "New Book 'Old Silk Road' Plunges Into the Loss, Disillusionment, and Addiction of War", Task & Purpose, October 13, 2015.

Georgian Military Personnel Honored. A special ceremony was held to award medals to members of the IV Mechanized Brigade, 43rd Battalion serving with the Resolute Support mission. (, Oct 13, 2015).

"Hard Hat of the Year". A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employee has been named the top engineer for the entire USACE Transatlantic Division (TAD). He has been the project lead for the Marshal Fahim National Defense University in Kabul.  Read more in "USACE TAA employee named top engineer", DVIDS, October 13, 2015.

Fighting the war from 30,000 Feet. A news article provides a glimpse of the war that the Air Force is waging in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. U.S. airmen discuss the harsh truths of fighting in an increasingly crowed Middle East arena. Read "War from Above with Mayhem on the Ground", U.S. News and World Report, October 13, 2015.

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