|ANA Commandos receive training from ANA instructor.|
(photo form RS HQs video posted Nov 11, 2017)
U.S. Casualty. On Saturday, November 4, 2017 SFC Stephen Cribben died from wounds sustained during a combat operation in Logar province, Afghanistan. He was a member of the 10th Special Forces Group.
CRS Report. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a report entitled "Afghanistan: Post Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy", dated November 7, 2017. This 78-page report provides a historical background to the conflict in Afghanistan as well as up to date reporting on the current security situation.
Pakistan Still Not Helpful. General Nicholson, the commander of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan says there has been no change in Pakistan's support of the Taliban. (CNN, Nov 9, 2017).
Pakistan's Wire Fence. The erection of a wire fence along the Afghan - Pakistan border is really not going to stop terrorism. The Taliban will continue to cross the border at will. What the fence will do is increase the hostility between the two countries and separate the Pashtun people who live on each side of the border. Read more in a article by Gandhara Blog, November 8, 2017.
"Taliban Can't Win". General Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, says the Taliban can't win on the battlefield. The general sounds upbeat on the prospects of pressuring the Taliban into reconciliation. Of course, it is common knowledge to many counterinsurgency gurus that insurgents don't need to win on the battlefield . . . they just need to wear down the opposition over time. But, according to Nicholson, we are turning the corner in the long conflict.
October 2017 - a Wave of Violence. While the 2017 fighting season was not the Taliban's best effort in recent years the group still managed to attain a high level of violence and continues to grow its control over rural areas of Afghanistan. The month of October was especially active with several truck bomb incidents causing hundreds of casualties. Read more in "The Humvee Bomb Series: The October wave of Taleban attacks in 2017 context", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 7, 2017.
Turmoil in Jawzjan Province? A Taliban commander has separated himself from the Taliban movement and declared allegiance to the Islamic State of Khorisan Province (ISKP). The Taliban are struggling to regain control. Read more in "Qari Hekmat's Island: A Daesh enclave in Jawzjan?", by Obaid Ali of Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 11, 2017.
Afghan Media Targeted. The attacks against the Afghan media by the Taliban and other insurgent and terrorist groups is on the rise. "In Afghanistan, Militant Groups Unite Against a Common Enemy: Journalists", Gandhara Blog, November 11, 2017.
Getting the Taliban to the Negotiating Table. NATO and U.S. officials are expressing hope that regional engagement, pressure on Pakistan, and battlefield reversed suffered by insurgents will get the Taliban to the negotiating table. Wishful thinking. Read more in "Afghan plan focuses on pushing Taliban to the bargaining table", Military Times, November 9, 2017.
SIGAR Report - Some Analysis. The Department of Defense classified much of the data used to measure the development and progress made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) that one usually finds in the quarterly report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. This quarter the SIGAR report dated 30 October was missing some key ingredients. Read more in "Secrecy shrouds US development of Afghan security forces", FDD's Long War Journal, November 4, 2017.
Finland Asked to Send More Troops. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently visited Finland and discussed the possibility of Finland sending more troops to Afghanistan. Currently there are 30 military Finns serving in Afghanistan. ( Helsinki Times, Nov 7, 2017).
Black Hawks to Save the Day? The U.S. is abandoning the Mi-17 helicopters that do the brunt of the air support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and going with a more expensive and complicated flying machine known as the UH-60 Black Hawk. Naturally it is a U.S. aircraft which satisfies the political objectives of many members of Congress. Read more in "US, Afghans hope new Black Hawk Squadron will help turn tide against insurgents", Stars and Stripes, November 5, 2017.
CIVCAS in Kunduz. The United States military is investigating reports that as many as 13 civilians may have been killed in airstrikes in the northern region of Kunduz province. The U.S. confirmed that an operation did take place in the area but offered no further details. (Reuters, Nov 5, 2017). However, it subsequently released a statement saying that no civilian casualties took place. (Military Times, Nov 6, 2017).