Sunday, November 22, 2015

Afghan Security News

U.S. Embassy Travel Warning. On Thursday, November 19th, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued an "Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens" stating that it received reports militants planned to target and kidnap a group of U.S. persons who dressed in Afghan attire and frequently traveled to areas of Azrah district in Logar province. The district of Azrah is mostly under the control of the Taliban. Even when there was a U.S. brigade at FOB Shank in Logar province the U.S. very rarely (maybe twice a year) ventured into Azrah - and that was only to helicopter a company plus into the district center for 4 to 48 hours. While the Afghan government says that Azrah district is under the control of the ANDSF . . . it isn't.

Yamgan District Falls . . . Again. For the second time in six months the Yamgan district of Badakhshan province has fallen to the Taliban. The insurgents took advantage of a period of bad weather which prevented government reinforcements from reaching the district. (Khaama Press, Nov 19, 2015).

Kunduz Fell b/c Politics. A recent report by a group studying the fall of Kunduz City to the Taliban in late September 2015 concluded that the in-fighting between the President and CEO caused many of the problems of insecurity. Read "Negligence of Presidency, Executive Office led to fall of Kunduz", ATN News, November 19, 2015.

Suicide Attack in Helmand. A suicide car bomb targeting a convoy of foreign forces just outside the city of Lashkar Gar in Helmand province killed one Afghan civilian and wounded 12 others. The three-vehicle convoy was traveling from Marjah to Lashkar Gah - one of the vehicles caught fire causing some casualties. See "Suicide attack on foreign convoy in Afghanistan kills one: police", Reuters, November 15, 2015.

30 Hazara Passengers Abducted. It appears that more kidnappings are underway in Zabul. Additional people were kidnapped on Saturday by Taliban.(Gandhara Blog, Nov 21, 2015).

Women Lashed to Death. Just weeks after a young woman was stoned to death in Ghor province another woman has now died following a public lashing in Ghor province.

Border Police Killed. At least 13 Afghan Border Police were killed in Khanisheen district of Helmand province after the Taliban overran a checkpost on Saturday.

Losing Confidence . . . "More Afghans than at any time since 2004 feel their country is moving in the wrong direction . . . " Read more in "Afghans losing confidence in new government", Deutsche Welle, November 17, 2015.

Mi-25 Gunships to AAF via India. The Afghan Air Force (AAF) will soon receive four Mi-25 attack helicopters from India. The rapid fielding of these advanced weapons systems area a good example of how quickly aircraft can be fielded when you strip away the bureaucracy. The U.S. Air Force should take note - it has taken years for the A-29 to be fielded to the AAF - and they are not in country yet! Read more in "Indian-supplied Mi-25 gunships to join Afghan Air Force in 2 months", Khaama Press, November 20, 2015.

Uzbekistan and Afghanistan. Tashkent is keen to take part in regional security cooperation but may not be amiable to a formal defence pact. The awareness that the Afghan security forces are slowly losing ground in northern Afghanistan has prompted Uzbekistan to be more cooperative with other neighboring nations in security matters. Read more in "Uzbekistan's Evolving Response to Afghan, Islamic State Risks", Institute for War & Peace Reporting,  November 20, 2015.

Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Despite the turmoil currently roiling Afghanistan the nation of Turkmenistan sees "Afghanistan as a potential land of opportunity, as a trading partner, a market for electricity exports, and a transit nation . . . " for the TAPI pipeline. Read more in "Turkmenistan and Afghanistan Seek Stronger Ties amidst Uncertainty", Silk Road Reporters, November 18, 2015. See also "Turkmenistan: We Don't Need Any Help with Afghan Border", The Bug Pit 0, November 21, 2015.

Kazakhstan and Afghanistan. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has met with the Kazakh president to discuss economic and security ties during his first official visit to Kazakhstan. (Gandhara Blog, Nov 21, 2015).

Afghanistan's Female Commander. "Over 35 years of conflict, fighters loyal to the Afghan warlord known as 'Kaftar', or 'The Dove', have defeated Soviet, Taliban, and government troops.". What is remarkable about this story is 'The Dove' is a woman. Watch a 4-min video about her in "Afghanistan's Female Warlord", Radio Free Europe, November 20, 2015.

Drone Strike Hits Taliban. Afghan officials stated that a drone strike hit a group of Taliban in Khohyani district, Afghanistan along the Pakistan border on Sunday, November 15th. Three Afghans and nine Pakistanis were killed. (The Washington Post, Nov 15, 2015).

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