Showing posts with label COMISAF. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COMISAF. Show all posts

Sunday, February 7, 2016

AWN Snippets

TFBSO - Not All Bad News? The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has been all over the failures of the DoD Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO) that worked on the development of economic projects in Afghanistan. But not all folks out there wise on Afghanistan agree with SIGAR. Jeff Goodson, a retired U.S. Foreign Service Officer with three deployments to Afghanistan expresses his view in an online article. Read "Legacy Rising: DoD Business Task Force Impact Evidence Grows", Real Clear Defense, January 28, 2016.

UN Drug Report. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has issued its "Executive Summary" for Afghanistan - Afghanistan Opium Survey 2015 dated October 2015.

Nicholson to RS Command. So John "Mick" Nicholson, a veteran of quite a few Afghan deployments will take Resolute Support. As the deck chairs shuffle, one wonders what happens to General John Campbell. He has done a great job under difficult circumstances in Afghanistan and deserves another posting - perhaps AFRICOM or EUCOM? Read "Will the Pentagon give Gen. John Campbell, the outgoing Afghanistan war chief, another job?", The Washington Post, January 30, 2016.

New Air Force Cdr in Afghanistan. BG Jeffrey Taliaferro will soon head up the 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force - Afghanistan in Afghanistan. Part of his command will be TAAC-Air; the Air Force advisors training and assisting the Afghan Air Force.

DoDIG Report on Fuel Contracts. The Department of Defense Inspector General has issued a report saying that the controls for oversight of MoI fuel contracts was not effective. As a result of the lack of contract oversight and insufficient reporting data, CSTC-A did not have reasonable assurance that the fuel ordered and delivered to the Afghan National Police on the three MoI contracts valued at $437 million was used for its intended purpose. Read DoDIG report 2016-040 dated January 2016.

JIDA to Fall Under DTRA. The Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Agency (JIDA) will now be realigned under the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). (U.S. DoD, Feb 2, 2016).

Terminology - "2-pump chump". In today's Internet world there is lots to read - webpages, eBooks, blogs, newsletters and more. And there are a lot of writers (and would be writers) willing to express their opinion on just about everything - to include war. A new phrase I just learned is '2-pump chump'. Evidently it refers to some writers with just one or two war zone deployments under their belt who are now penning their opinions and thoughts of the war (whichever one they were in). I guess the term "2-pump chump" is used by some that believe if you don't have multiple deployments you don't know or haven't seen enough to write about. Hmmm. One can see a lot of war in one year; especially if that was a 15-month long deployment in Iraq in the 2006-2007 time frame. Just so you know I am about 5 or 6 tours beyond the "2-pump chump" level - depending on how you count deployments. Read more in a column by Tom Ricks posted on Foreign Policy, February 2, 2016.

Hard Times in Central Asia. The several countries to the north are facing economic difficulties that could fuel insurgencies in the future. Read more "In Central Asia, The Bad Times Have Arrived", Qishloq Ovozi Blog, Radio Free Europe, February 1, 2016.

Turkmenistan's Afghan Border and Russian "Help". Russia has offered Turkmenistan so help in guarding their border with Afghanistan. There have been several clashes between that country's security forces and Taliban elements located in northern Afghanistan. Both Russia and China are competing with each to make inroads politically, diplomatically, and economically in Central Asia. Turkmenistan is attempting to navigate the middle road in this competition. Read more in "Turkmenistan: We Don't Need Russian Help With Afghan Border", The Bug Pit,, January 29, 2016.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Gen Campbell "Crucial" to Afghanistan

General John Campbell is the commander of the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. He started out as the Commander of the International Security Assistance Force or ISAF in the summer of 2014 and then transitioned to command Resolute Support in December 2014. By many accounts he has done a fine job (an assessment I would agree with as well). It would seem that Gen Campbell wields considerable influence within the Afghan government - starting at the top with President Ghani. His influence is enhanced by two factors. One is that the Afghan Ministry of Defence (MoD) has no confirmed Minister of Defence - only one who is an acting minister (thus less influential). Another is that the Taliban have yet to be defeated and appear to have the ANDSF on the defensive - therefore the Afghans are relying more heavily on Gen Campbell (and his air power and SOF assets).

One bright note (according the the news report cited below) is his lack of hesitation in recommending transfers or dismissals of senior Afghan military officers (many - or most - are incompetent and corrupt). This is something that was not done enough by previous COMISAFs (or perhaps they made the recommendations but the MoD and Karzai blew them off). The NATO mission in Afghanistan is Security Force Assistance - or "Train, Advise, and Assist - TAA" in the 8 Essential Functions. However, the Americans also have complimenting missions of counter terrorism and close air support. Many of the U.S. SOF are on the ground conducting the TAA mission during combat missions while other NATO countries (for the most part) stay on large bases for their missions.

Read more in "Afghans See American General as Crucial to Country's Defense", by Rod Nordland, The New York Times, September 10, 2015.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lara Logan Interviews COMISAF

Lara Logan interviews General John Campbell and President Ghani for a "60 Minutes" segment. The interview (about 14 mins long) is entitled "Ending America's Longest War". During the interview several topics are presented and discussed: retrograde operations, the lights of Kabul at night, the ability of the ANSF to fight alone, the ANSF special operations forces, funding of the ANSF post-2014, operating on President Obama's timeline, frustration with Pakistan, worries about ISIS, concern about an Iraq situation in Afghanistan post-2014, President Ghani's outlook on Afghanistan, Ghani's expression of a flexible timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the topic of sanctuaries in Pakistan for the Taliban comes up as well.

Video - COMISAF Interview

General John Campbell, ISAF Commander, was interviewed by ABC News. He addressed the purpose of the mission under Resolute Support - which is Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) at the Corps and ministry level. In addition, special operators, in a TAA will accompany their Afghan counterparts at the lower unit level. He addressed whether the war was worth fighting - saying he was in the camp that says the war was worth it; dismissing a recent poll that reflected a contrary view by the U.S. public. He also answered questions on the high profile attacks in Kabul that have increased lately. No big news here - good to hear the General is staying on message!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

COMISAF & Afghans visit Pakistan

Top Afghan and U.S. generals have visited Pakistan this week to address anti-terrorism efforts with Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif. The meeting was focused on military coordination on both sides of the border. Read more in "US, Afghan Generals in Islamabad for Border Security Talks", Voice of America, December 23, 2014.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

COMISAF Visits Kandahar

General John Campbell visited the Train Advise Assist Command - South (formerly known as RC South) to gain an appreciation of the progress being made in the transition from the ISAF mission to the Resolute Support mission. He visited Kandahar Air Field as well as Camp Hero - the headquarters of the ANA 205th Corps. He also met with the provincial governor - Dr. Tooryalai Wesa. Read more in "COMISAF visits Kandahar", DVIDS, November 17, 2014.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

COMISAF: The Way Forward

General Campbell (COMISAF) is interviewed by National Public Radio and provides his thoughts about the future of Afghanistan in "Afghanistan's Way Foward: A Talk with Gen. John Campbell, Decoded", National Public Radio (NPR), November 11, 2014. (link goes to audio and transcript).

Thursday, October 23, 2014

COMISAF Upbeat on PoA

The Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) - General John Campbell - has met with President Ghani and observed his actions since he became President of Afghanistan (PoA). Campbell is "excited" about the future and the fact that Afghanistan now has a president who cares about the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). According to Gen Campbell, President Ghani has met with many of the leaders of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and visited troops at several ANA bases. General Campbell has been on the job for two months; having replaced General Joe Dunford in August. Campbell was interviewed by Gail McCabe in this short video - "COMISAF Looking Ahead SB", DVIDS, October 20, 2104.

Monday, October 20, 2014

COMISAF's Facebook Page

Don't you wish you could sit in the ISAF commander's office for a day to find out what is really going on? Well, you can . . . sort of. General John Campbell, COMISAF, wants you to know what is going on in the ISAF world. While he can't meet with you personally each and every day he will take some time out of his busy schedule to let you know what's up. You can like his facebook account and check out his daily activities. There are at least two posts a day and it is very informative. If you are stationed in Mazar-e-Sharif, BAF, KAF, Herat, Jalalabad, or Gamberi this is one way to stay informed on the activities taking place in Kabul on the ISAF compound. Photo to the left was a post by General Campbell on October 18, 2014 where he was meeting with a delegation from . . . hmmmm, doesn't say. Check out COMISAF's Facebook account at

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

COMISAF Meets with Ghani

(Photo by SSG Richard Sherba)
Army General John Campbell, the commander of ISAF, met with the new President of Afghanistan (PoA) on October 3, 2014. Ghani and Campbell got together and discussed improving security in Afghanistan and throughout the entire South Asia region. Let's hope that the relationship between Campbell and Ghani will be better than that between previous COMISAFs and Karzai. (Of course it will be! Karzai was extremely difficult to work with). Now if we can get through the next 100 days without a CIVCAS, "blue on civilian", or Koran burning incident the new COMISAF won't have to start off his relationship with the new PoA with rendering apologies. Following the example of General Joe Dunford, Campbell decided to wear his dress uniform (something that previous COMISAFs didn't do). Unfortunately the Marine Corps dress uniform looks a whole lot better than the Army dress uniform. Campbell should go back to multicams and just make an excuse up for his attire at his next PoA meeting ("Sorry, just got off the chopper on a BFC to 'insert location here' five minutes ago.").

Monday, October 6, 2014

COMISAF Briefing to DoD Press (2 Oct 14)

ISAF News has posted the transcript of General John Campbell's (COMISAF) press briefing to the DoD press corps on October 2, 2014. Some of his main points in his address covered the transition from the ISAF mission to Resolute Support, the political transition to the new president, and the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) and the NATO SOFA. He made his opening comments and then answered questions from the press. Snippets of the press conference are provided below.

He stated that there are currently a total of 40,000 troops on the ground (U.S. and other troop contributing nations) with aim of being down to 12,500 at the end of 2014. He sees 2015 as a train, advise and assist mission against four of the six ANA corps and at the ministerial level. The advising effort is no longer at the brigade or kandak level; but at the corps level and above. The remaining bases after 2014 will be in Jalalabad, Gamberi, Bagram, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul. As COMISAF he has been focusing on " . . . the security institutions, the ministry of interior, the ministry of defense, the national security adviser, NDS, and then working with both President Ghani and Mr. Abdullah . . ."

He says that despite the late signing of the BSA - ISAF is still on a good glide path to get to the Resolute Support mission set. There are less than 30 bases left and many of those will close before the end of the year. He identified some shortfalls of the ANSF that need improvement - to include aviation, close air support, intelligence, logistics, and sustainment.

Campbell was asked if the U.S. will " . . . be in a position to provide air support to the ANSF after this year? And would that include both close-air support and medevac missions . . ." He pretty much dodged that question; although he indicated that there is diminished air support capability under Resolute Support.

He was asked about SIGARs reports on how US money is being spent and the lack of oversight; his response is they are working closely with SIGAR, the MoD, and MoI and have tightened up some of the oversight procedures to get more transparency.

The subject of Mi-17s for the Afghan Air Force was brought up by a reporter. Currently there are 84 Mi-17s in Afghanistan with a target of 87 (3 more to go). He calls the Mi-17s a "game changer".

You can read the transcript in full at the link below:

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Who Is The New COMISAF?

Most people who follow the conflict in Afghanistan know that General Joe Dunford passed the duties and responsibilities of COMISAF to General John Campbell on August 26, 2014. However, many people really don't know who General Campbell is. He doesn't have the name recognition that a General McCrystal or Petraeus had. General Campbell started with military; as the son of an Air Force Senior NCO he got to travel and live around the world in his youth. He attended college at West Point graduating in 1979. He started off as an infantry officer and went through the ranks from platoon to division. In his early days he attended Special Forces training and commanded a 12-man ODA in the 5th Special Forces Group. His previous deployments include Haiti and Iraq as well as time in Afghanistan as the commander of Regional Command East (RC East). You can read his official ISAF biography here. It is refreshing that our senior leadership are picking commanders with previous experience in Afghanistan; sometimes they miss the boat on that very important criteria.