Sunday, June 18, 2017

Security News

ANA Soldiers from 215th Corps practice markmanship fundamentals
(photo by Sgt. Lucas Hopkins, RS HQs, 4 June 2017)

CIVCAS Allegations. There were reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. forces in Nangarhar province on June 12, 2017. Provincial officials say that three civilians were killed. USFOR-A released a statement that confirmed

".  . . a convoy with U.S. and Afghan personnel was struck by a roadside bomb and attacked with small arms fire in Nangarhar Province. The convoy returned fire in self-defense and there were no U.S. casualties. We have not received any official allegations of civilian casualties. We take civilian casualties very seriously and all allegations are thoroughly investigated. The incident is under investigation and more information will be released as appropriate."
Kabul Bombing Update. The Taliban's second in command and head of the Haqqani Netwokr has denied any responsibility for the recent Kabul city bombing that killed over 150 people - most of them Afghan civilians. See "Taliban's No. 2 denies role in Kabul bombing", Military Times, June 12, 2017.

Kandahar Governor's Compound Attack. It appears, according to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), that the chef at the guesthouse was complicit in the bombing the wounded the governor and killed the UAE ambassador (as well as several others). Three suspects, believed to be in Quetta, Pakistan (of course) have been named. The NDS has asked Pakistan to hand over the three suspects. (Gandhara, June 16, 2017).

Taliban Factions Duking It Out in Helmand. News reports say that two factions of the Taliban are engaged in a bit of infighting in Gereshk district, Helmand province. See "Suicide attack on Taliban splinter group leaves several dead in Helmand"Khaama Press, June 14, 2017.

Haqqani Network Commander Killed in Drone Strike. A U.S. drone has reportedly killed a senior commander for the Haqqani Network in northwest Pakistan on June 13th. Read a news report by FDD's Long War Journal, June 14, 2017.

Director of Media for ISIS-K Killed. US Forces Afghanistan announced that a senior director of media production for the Islamic State's Wilayay Khorasan (ISIS-K) was killed in an airstrike in Achin district, Nangarhar province on June 3rd. (FDD's Long War Journal, June 17, 2017).

IS-K dislodges Taliban in Tora Bora. Islamic State - Khorasan Province (ISKP) have gone on the offensive against the Taliban in southern Nangarhar province in the area of the Tora Bora mountains. Read more in "ISIS Captures Tora Bora, Once Bin Laden's Afghan Fortress", The New York Times, June 14, 2017.

Troop Increase Coming? President Trump is giving the Pentagon the ability to determine the troop level for Afghanistan. This could mean an increase of up to 5 K over the next several months. Most would be for advisory missions - both advisors and the folks needed to support the advisors. Read more in an article by The Washington Post, June 13, 2017. See also an article posted by Bloomberg Politics, June 14, 2017. Some news reports say that 4,000 is the magic number. Time will tell.

DoD Statement on Troop Levels. The Defense Department has released a statement saying that the decision for troop levels resides with the Secretary of Defense and is part of a broader strategy for Afghanistan that is currently evolving. See "Statement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Afghanistan Troop Levels", DoD, June 14, 2017.

Regional Approach by U.S. The Defense Secretary for the United States says that the U.S. will be reassessing its strategy for Afghanistan and will be taking a regional approach to solving the country's long-running war. (Gandara,  June 13, 2017).

No Military Solution. The United Nations Secretary General recently visited Afghanistan. During his visit he said there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. Read a news report by Reuters, June 13, 2017.

U.S. Not Winning. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis testified before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, June 13th and presented some dismal news about the war in Afghanistan. He said there is an urgent need for a strategic review - which should be completed in mid-July. See "U.S. not winning in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary tells Congress", Reuters, June 14, 2017.

Task Force Southwest Update. The Marines returned to Helmand province recently and are conducting the train, advise, and assist mission for the 215th ANA Corps and 505th Police Zone. Read an update on their activities in "Task Force Southwest Supports Afghan Forces' Operations", Department of Defense, June 15, 2017.

Two NATO Allies Confer on Afghanistan.The Georgian Defence Minister visited his counterpart in Germany to discuss troop deployments to Afghanistan. Georgia has over 900 soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and 120 of them are under German command at Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North (TAAC-North) at Camp Marmal near Mezar-i Sharif. "Germany and Georgia Co-operate in Afghanistan", Jane's 360, June 16, 2017.

Police Trainers from Canada? One of the biggest contributors of troops to the Afghan conflict was Canada. The country spent lots of money and deploy a large number of troops over the years - especially in southern Afghanistan. NATO has now requested that Canada send some police trainers to Afghanistan. (CBC News, June 12, 2017).

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