Tajikistan - where increasing militancy is also a problem. There are reports that a large number of Central Asian militants (Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Uighurs, and Chechen) have been fighting alongside the Afghan Taliban in northern Afghanistan. Tajik authorities have increased security along its border and at the seven border crossing posts. In addition, the Russians have deployed over 7,000 of its military to Tajikistan as well as attack helicopters. Read more in "Tajikistan fears instability as Afghan conflict rages on", BBC News, October 31, 2015.
U.S. Wonders Where Central Asia Is! While the Russian Empire is busy solidifying its influence in Central Asia and China builds its modern "Silk Road" the U.S. is noticeably absent from the 'Stans. Read more in "The U.S. Belatedly Remembers that Central Asia Exists", Silk Road Reporters, October 29, 2015.
Locals Fight ISIS in Nangarhar. Hundreds of local citizens in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province have launched an uprising against the Islamic State in Achin district. There are reports that the local fighters will be recruited into the ranks of the Afghan Local Police or ALP. (Voice of America, Oct 30, 2015).
UK to Maintain Forces Through 2016. The United Kingdom currently has about 450 troops deployed to advise and assist the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Recent announcements indicate that the troop levels will not drop significantly in 2016.
DoD Investigating Child Abuse Reports. The Defense Department's Inspector General is launching an investigation into how U.S. military commander's have handled accusations of child rape by Afghan military commanders. (The Cable - Foreign Policy, Oct 28, 2015).
Afghan Civilians 'Gapping It'. An exodus of Afghan civilians - unfortunately the best and brightest - is leaving Afghanistan as the Taliban gains ground and hope for the future diminishes. The number of Afghans applying for asylum has more than doubled in 2015 due to poverty, insecurity, and disappointment with the National Unity Government (NUG). (The Guardian, Oct 29, 2015).
NUG One Year On. The Asia Foundation examines the National Unity Government after the completion of its first year. (Asia Foundation, Oct 28, 2015).
Helmand and Uruzgan Provinces at Risk. Reports in the media say that the Taliban continue to make advances in two key Afghan provinces. Insurgents have come within five miles of the provincial capital of Helmand - Lashkhar Gah. Read more in "Afghan Soldiers, Besieged by Taliban, Say They Are Outgunned", The New York Times, October 30, 2015.