6 Costly Failures. Joe Perticone tells us about six very expensive projects that didn't quite work out in our efforts to rebuild Afghanistan. (Independent Journal, Nov 4, 2015).
Earthquake Update. Afghanistan was recently hit by a major earthquake - affecting Badakhshan, Nangarhar, Baghlan, and Kunar provinces. Read an update on the Afghanistan earthquake by Humanitarian Response on November 3, 2015. www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/node/113028. See report by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies - "Concern mounts as winter sets in across quake-affected regions".
Louie Palu's Kandahar Journals. Photojournalist Louie Palu spent five years covering the war in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010. A new documentary film entitled Kandahar Journals will premier in November 2015. Photos from the film are available for viewing here. (The Atlantic, Nov 3, 2015).
Tevor Coult's First into Sangin. A book detailing the story of a forgotten platoon and band of men who were the first British Soldiers to occupy 'the House' in Sangin District at the start of the Herrick Campaign. Read a PR release on the book here.
A "Fobbit" Writes about Life on a FOB. Some Soldiers experienced combat on a daily basis in Afghansitan; some 'not so much'. Read "How Forward Operating Bases Created the Illusion of War in Iraq and Afghanistan", The Angry Staff Officer, November 3, 2015.
Solar Power & Afghan Electricity Crisis. Some folks are saying that solar power in Afghanistan can help rescue the economic crisis and electric power shortage. Read more in "Can Solar Power Make Light Work of Afghanistan's Electricity Crisis?", Equal Times, November 5, 2015.
Cdr at Kerala Massacre Arrested. Dutch authorities have arrested the commander of an elite government (444) Army unit of the Afghan communist regime that committed a horrendous massacre of Afghan civilians in Kunar province in April 1979 (over 36 years ago). Read more in a report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN).
Iran, Afghan Refugees, and Syria. Iran, with the aim of helping its ally - the Syrian regime - is sending Afghan refugees to fight in the conflict. Read more in "Afghan refugees in Iran being sent to fight and die for Assad in Syria", The Guardian, November 5, 2015.
Finland Reviews Afghan Asylum Claims. Finland has announced that it has suspended its decision-making process for Afghan Asylum claims due to an ongoing assessment of the security situation in the country. (Reuters, Nov 4, 2015).
German Interpreter Tells his Story. An interpreter worked for the German military in Afghanistan until the Taliban threatened his life. He managed to leave for Germany but his family had to stay behind. Read "Afghan interpreter torn between worlds", Deutsche Welle, November 5, 2015.
Deployed Troops and Beer Drinking. Times have changed and so has the Army. Women in combat units, gays allowed to serve openly, and . . . sadly . . . long tours in a combat zone with no beer. It wasn't always that way and some of the older contractors serving on bases like Bagram probably remember finer days when "Soldiers Worked Hard and Played Hard". I, for one, am disappointed in the senior leadership of today's Army in regards to the non-drinking policy. I am not the only one - Jim Webb, Vietnam Vet and one-time candidate for President, has chided the U.S. military on its non-drinking policy. Read more about the good old days in "Flat Tops: Canned Beer and Vietnam", War on the Rocks, October 30, 2015.
MREs to Get Better? The Meal Ready to Eat or MRE (sometimes called Meals Rarely Edible) has been around for over 35 years. The next generation of meals is being developed at the Natick Research Center outside of Boston, Massachusetts (presumably there are smart people in the Boston area who have superior culinary abilities). Pizza is on the way! (10 News Tampa Bay, Nov 2, 2015).
Buying More Counterfire Radars. The Army is buying more AN/TPQ-53 counterfire target acquisition radars from Lockheed Martin. (C4ISR & Networks, Oct 26, 2015).
Contractor Firms Benefit from Decision to Stay. President Obama's recent decision to keep the level of troops constant for the new year or two will certainly benefit contracting firms. (AllGov, Nov 2, 2015).
Canadian Defence Minister Afghan Vet. The new Defence Minister has Afghan war time experience and brings a cultural twist to the position. Read "New Defence Minister Harjit Singh Sajjan proved mettle in Afghanistan", The Globe and Mail, November 5, 2015.
Family Planning. Clerics face death threats for promoting family planning in a country where one in 50 women dies of causes related to pregnancy. Read more "Condoms and conflict: imams defy Taliban to spread contraception", The Guardian, November 4, 2015.
"Cabal of Corruption at Bagram Air Base". A story of drugs, prostitutes, and illegal activities provides a side of Bagram that many never see. Learn more about the underground life at BAF. (Courthouse News Service, 3 Nov 2015).
"Black Widows" Arrive at Bagram. Airmen of the 421st Fighter Squadron (F-16s) have arrived at Bagram Airfield to support Operation Freedom's Sentinel and NATO's Resolute Support mission. Upon completion of this deployment the squadron will shift to the new J-35 jet aircraft. Ouch! (U.S. Air Force, Nov 2, 2015).
Advising - It's a Cultural Thing. A senior intelligence officer and air intelligence advisor for the 438th Expeditionary Advisory Group relates his experiences to us during his time from October 2013 to December 2014 working as a air advisor to the Afghan Air Force (AAF). Read (and listen) to Lt. Col. James Fielder in "Cultural Gaps Cause Problems in U.S.-Afghan Military Ops", Iowa Public Radio, November 3, 2015.
AAF Lacking C-130 Flight Engineers. It takes more than 18 months to train up a C-130 flight engineer. Currently the AAF has four C-130s but only one flight engineer. Looks like we put the cart (airplanes) before the horse (personnel). Read more in "Lack of trained staff means long hours for Afghan air force engineer", Reuters, November 4, 2015.
Drug War in Afghanistan. The State Department is still without a new plan to fight drug trafficking in Afghanistan. Although successfully combating opium could be a key to victory in Afghanistan the U.S. is still without a strategy.(U.S. News & World Report, Oct 27, 2015).