Sunday, June 11, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Montenegro Joins NATO. Montenegro has officially become the 29th member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The small Balkan nation on the Adriatic Sea will continue to contribute to the Resolute Support mission primarily with the Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) mission at Camp Marmal in northern Afghanistan.

Bombing at Herat Mosque. On Tuesday, June 6th a bombing killed at least seven (maybe ten) people at a mosque in the western Afghanistan city of Herat. The bomb was hidden in a motorcycle left in the parking lot outside the mosque. (The Independent, June 6, 2017).

New Book on Afghan War. Aaron B. O'Connell, a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve and a former professor of American history at the U.S. Naval Academy. His has penned a new book recently released (April 2017) entitled Our Latest Longest War. Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan. Available at

Current State of Hezb-i Islami. A lot of commentary has been passed on in the media about the negotiated return of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar to Kabul and the Hezb-i Islami group renouncing violence against the Afghan regime. Certainly this event promises to liven up the political environment in Kabul. But how does it affect the Hezb-i Islami foot soldier in the more remote areas of Afghanistan? Franz J. Marty, a freelance journalist based in Afghanistan, recently spent some time with a Hezb-i Islami controlled area in eastern Afghanistan and provides an insightful article on the topic in "Afghan Jihad Frozen in Time?", The Diplomat, April 25, 2017.

U.S. Airstrike Kills Three Afghan ABP Members. Three policemen with the Afghan Border Police (ABP) were killed in a 'friendly fire' incident on June 9, 2017 in southern Afghanistan. (Reuters, June 10, 2017).

The Death of Two NPR Journalists in Afghanistan. Two NPR reporters died in June 2016 in Helmand province. Controversy surrounds the circumstances of their death. Read "Not a Random Attack: New Details Emerge From Investigation of Slain NPR Journalists", NPR, June 9, 2017.

TAAC Air Commander to Move On. BG David Hicks, currently commanding general of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - Air (TAAC Air), will be reassigned to the Pentagon to be Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategic Plans and Requirements.

Blackhawks for Afghanistan - Horrible Idea. The U.S. Congress has effectively killed the ability of the U.S. military to supply the Afghan Air Force with the helicopters it needs. Instead, plans are to provide the AAF with expensive and hard to maintain Blackhawks. This is good for the Sirkorsky folks and politicians in Connecticut but not so good for the Afghans. The fielding plan - using U.S. instead of Russian helicopters - puts back the readiness of the AAF by two to four more years. Read more in a news article in Army Times, May 17,2017.

Fort Hood Unit Completes Afghan Tour. Members of the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade recently returned home after completion of their mission in Afghanistan. During their 9-month tour the unit was responsible for sustainment efforts supporting the Resolute Support Mission in the Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan (CJOA-A). During the deployment three unit members died and ten were wounded. "Wagoneers return from Afghanistan", Fort Hood Sentinel, June 8, 2017.

ANA Refines Comms Procedures. Communications is a vital part of military operations and the ANA are fielding specialists that can provide for good comms. Read more in Afghan soldiers take essential communication skills to battlefield, DVIDS, June 7, 2017.

Cosmopolitan for Afghanistan? A small group of Kabul University students have launched a monthly women's magazine - Gellara. Read more in "Afghanistan gets Cosmo-inspired women's magazine", Fox News, June 5, 2017.

A Bad Month for Afghanistan. The disaster that occurred at Camp Marmel (209th Corp HQs attack killing more than 100 soldiers) coupled with the recent truck bombing in Kabul has made the past month or more very disheartening for those who want to see progress in Afghanistan. The past few weeks have been terrible. Read more in "A Black Week in Kabul: Terror and protects", by Martine van Bijlert and Thomas Ruttig of Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), June 4, 2017.

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