Sunday, January 17, 2016

Security News

Northern Afghanistan at Risk. Over the past few years the security situation in northern Afghanistan has slowly deteriorated. This area used to be fairly secure when compared to the rest of the country. However the re-establishment of Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and emergence of significant pockets of Taliban groups has made this part of Afghanistan very dangerous. Not only is this a problem for Afghanistan but the growth of foreign fighter groups pose security difficulties for Central Asian states as well. Learn more in an essay by Abubakar Siddique entitled "Unrest in Northern Afghanistan Heralds Regional Threats"The Jamestown Foundation, January 7, 2016.

Darqad District Recaptured. After being held by the Taliban for over 75 days a district in northern Afghanistan has been re-captured by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). The Darqad district of northern Takhar province was taken by government forces on early Sunday, January 10th. Read more in "Security Forces Re-Take Takhar's Darqad District After Nearly 3 Months"Tolo News, January 10, 2016.

Embassy Emergency Msg. On Sunday, January 10th, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul issued an emergency message that said an unidentified group of militants planned to kidnap members of an NGO based in Nangarhar province.  See the warning, Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), January 10, 2016.

Senator Reed - "Conditions Based Withdrawal". Senator Jack Reed (D-R.I.) is the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has just returned from a visit to Afghanistan and says a few things have happened that require a re-look at the withdrawal plan for U.S. troops - the growth of ISIS in  Afghanistan and the Taliban fighting through the winter season. Read "Senate Dem suggest Obama should shift Afghan plan", The Hill, January 15, 2016.

ANA - "Mission Incapable"? A secret NATO report seen by Der Speigel, a German magazine, says that the Afghan National Army (ANA) remains an entity hardly capable of carrying out the functions of a military force. Of its 101 infantry units only one has been characterized as effectively battle-ready, 38 are having massive problems, and ten battalions are not operational. High combat losses have reduced unit strength and readiness. Desertions has increased dramatically also reducing combat effectiveness. The Taliban enjoy unlimited movement in many provinces of Afghanistan; especially Helmand, Kandahar, Kunduz, and Badakhshan. Read more in "NATO Report Slams Afghan Army As Mission Incapable", Tolo News, January 10, 2016.

"Ghost Soldiers". A contributing factor to the ineffectiveness of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) are the numerous "ghost soldiers" or "ghost policemen". A ghost soldier or policeman is one who is on the books, gets paid, but doesn't show up for work. Another type of "ghost" is one who has been killed or has left the security forces but whose paycheck goes to his commanding officer or some other corrupt official. Some estimates say that 40 percent of the police and army forces simply don't exist. Read more in "Ghost troops slowing down Afghanistan's military"CBS News, January 10, 2016.

"Community Policing". The Police-e Mardume Department of the Afghan Ministry of Interior has organized meetings between the police and citizens in the provinces. "Brigadier General Humayoon Aineed stated that the relationship between the people and the police has changed positively and the people trust the police". (His words, not mine). Read more in "Community Policing: Meetings with citizens result in cooperation and trust", European Union External Action, January 2016.

AAF to Receive MD-530F Choppers. According to a recent news report the Afghan Air Force (AAF) will soon receive more helicopters. See "Afghan Air Force to receive 12 warrior helicopters from US", Khaama Press, January 12, 2016.

Urban Ops by Taliban. Despite years of manning the city checkpoints (called "The Ring of Steel") the Afghan security forces are still not able to prevent high-profile attacks by the Taliban. Read more in "Taliban Step Up Urban Assaults, Testing the Mettle of Afghan Forces", The New York Times, January 9, 2016.

Most Dangerous City in the World? Ummm, yep. Kabul. Read more in "Top 7 World's Most Dangerous Cities", PPCorn, December 28, 2015.

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