Sunday, October 23, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

Air Advisors Assist Afghans with CAS. The Afghan Air Force (AAF) has a couple of platforms that will provide air strikes in support of its ground troops. However, this is not an easy task to master and NATO advisors are assisting the AAF to become more proficient in providing close air support. Read more in "NATO trains Afghan troops to make air strikes more accurate", Reuters, October 20, 2016.

TACP's Train ATACs. Members of the U.S. Air Force are working hard to get the Afghan close air support capability up and running. Part of this endeavor is to train up the Afghan Tactical Air Coordinators or ATACs. Watch a short video on this topic (DVIDS, October 18, 2016)

CIVCAS. The United Nations is concerned with the high rate of civilian casualties caused by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). I wonder if they have the same level of concern for casualties caused by the Taliban. Hmmmm. Read more in a news report by Gandara Blog, October 19, 2016.

RS Press Conference - Some Spin. The Resolute Support mission's deputy chief of staff for communications (BG Cleveland) said at a recent press conference that the ANDSF are improving but still have a ways to go. Currently government troops control almost 70% of the population (mostly in large or medium sized cities) while the Taliban control 10% of the population (mostly in rural areas). The other 20-30% is contested. Resolute Support is somewhat hesitant to say how much of the actual ground terrain is held by the respective opponents. That number would be somewhat discouraging and work counter to the RS messaging plan I suspect. Read more in a U.S. defense news release from October 21, 2016.

More Spin. When you tell the world that the Taliban's big objective is to take and hold a provincial capital then it is easy to say that the Taliban have failed during the Summer Campaign 16 fighting season. But if you look at the large number of districts held or heavily contested by the Taliban across the country then the security situation looks much different. Watch a short video by Gandhara Blog (Oct 17) where General Nicholson (Resolute Support commander) explains the apparent failure of the Taliban.

OIG Report on US Embassy Support. The U.S. Department of State Office of Inspector General has published a report entitled "Lessons Learned from Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, Operations and Maintenance Contract", AUD-MERO-17-04, October 2016. The report covers the maintenance and facilities contract awarded to PAE Government Services since 2011. Some irregularities to fix.

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