Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Russia. Show all posts

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Afghan Security News

Afghan Raid on Swedish NGO.  A military raid on a medical clinic in Wardak province, Afghanistan has resulted in the death of three people. The "Swedish Committee for Afghanistan" says that two patients and a boy were taken away by Afghan forces and later killed on the night of February 17, 2016. The Non-Governmental Organization believes that foreign troops were involved in the operation. A spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, Army Colonel Mike Lawhorn, says an investigation into the incident has begun. (SCA, Feb 24, 2016).

Security Assessment. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has published an updated security assessment on Afghanistan. The lead sentence of the four-page document (with map) is "Security in Afghanistan has been deteriorating since U.S. force levels dropped from a high of 100,000 in 2011 to the current force size of 9,800 they reached in June 2014." Read Afghanistan Partial Threat Assessment: The Taliban and ISIS, ISW, February 25, 2016.

Getting Off the Checkpoints. One of the tactics we taught the Afghans early on is the use of checkpoints to "disrupt Taliban movement". Of course, static road checkpoints are usually easily skirted by foot, donkey, motorcycle, and sometimes automobile. However, these same static checkpoints are ideal for harassing civilians for money to allow them to pass. So we have a problem. The Afghan army and police like checkpoints - which means they are on the defense (not offense) and they are easy targets for the Taliban. Now we (the western military) are trying to get the ANDSF off the checkpoints and on the offense. One question comes to mind: "Does getting off the checkpoints also mean abandoning district centers?" Hmmm. Two were recently vacated in order to free up security forces in a defensive mode so as to reinforce areas around the provincial capital of Helmand - Lashkar Gah City. I wonder what advice the U.S. is giving the Afghans on this topic. Read more in "Huge Afghan offensive brewing as troops urged to leave bunkers and crush Taliban revival", Express (UK), February 23, 2016.

Desertions Plague ANP. Thousands are deserting the Afghan National Police in the face of increasing Taliban attacks and poor leadership. More than 36,000 police quit the service in 2015. The U.S. will introduce a new payment system that should make it easier to eliminate 'ghost policemen'. Read more in "Afghan Police Force Struggling to Maintain Membership", The Wall Street Journal, February 26, 2016. (Paywall subscription).

SIGAR Report. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has submitted a new 16-page report to the U.S. Senate entitled "Challenges to Effective Oversight of Afghanistan Reconstruction Grow as High-Risk Areas Persist", SIGAR, February 24, 2016.

Renewed Offensive by Dostum. The Vice President of Afghanistan, Abdul Rashid Dostum, is on the warpath again in northern Afghanistan - supposedly with over 10,000 fighters. It appears that there is a clearing operation underway in the Qush Tapa district of northern Jawzjan province. It appears that the operation (as many are in Afghanistan) was telegraphed and the Taliban have melted away to return once the "clearing operation" is complete. Same-o-Same-o. Read more in "Taliban flee as Dostum arrives in Jawzjan's Qush Tapa", Pajhwok Afghan News, February 24, 2016.

News of Another Warlord. General Abdul Raziq has brought stability to what was once one of Afghanistan's most lawless provinces. The question is will it last and at what cost? Read "Kandahar's Enforcer Fights Evil with Brutality", Foreign Policy, February 26, 2016.

Eight Taliban Blow Themselves Up. The insurgents were killed in a blast in a mosque in central Ghazni when a bomb they were constructing exploded. Sometimes you win. (Tolo News, Feb 25, 2016).

Bomb Attacks Kill 15. Two bomb attacks killed 15 people in northern Afghanistan.  One was a suicide blast in Parwan province that killed 14 - including six police officers. Sometimes . . . . (UPI, Feb 23, 2016).

Bombing in Kabul. A suicide bomb went off in Kabul on Saturday in front of the Ministry of Defense gate in PD2. At least two killed and 12 wounded.

Bombing in Kunar. A suicide bombing took place in Asadabad that likely killed at least 13 people on Saturday. Reports indicate that as many as 37 were wounded.

Window Tint in Kabul Cars. Plastic window tint is used by many officials to shield its passengers from view but it is also a security concern. Read more in "Refusal to Remove Window Tint Leads to Gun Fight in Kabul", Tolo News, February 21, 2016.

Zurmat, Paktia. An Afghan army base was overrun by the Afghan Taliban this past week.

Abducted Afghan PGov Recovered. The former governor of Herat province, Afghanistan - Fazlullah Wahidi - who was abducted in Islamabad, Pakistan two weeks ago has been recovered according to family sources. He had traveled to Pakistan to get a visa to travel to the UK. Three unidentified gunmen have been arrested.

Hostages Recovered. The National Directorate of Security (NDS) reported that 35 people (some civilians) were freed from a Taliban jail in Nad Ali district, Helmand province this past week. Seven armed insurgents were also detained. (Tolo News, Feb 27, 2016).

Intel & EUPOL. Various intelligence and police agencies attended a one-day seminar on intelligence. Something about sharing intelligence between agencies  . . . a thing not really done well in Afghanistan. Read more in a news release by the European Union External Action (Feb 24, 2016).

Females & AAN. "More women are becoming officers in Afghanistan's male-dominated army. . . " Read more in "Changing Perceptions: Afghan army makes room for more female officers", Stars and Stripes, February 26, 2016. Read another extensive article about Afghan women serving in the military in "Afghanistan's Women: Keeping the Peace", Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Security Community Issue 3-4/2015. See also a transcript of a speech by Baroness Anelay on the topic of women's rights in Afghanistan (Feb 26th, UK government posting).

Dunford: ROE Okay. General Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff denied that President Obama's rules on the use of force is endangering troops. Read "Dunford: Engagement rules not threatening troops in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes, February 25, 2016.

Russia and Small Arms for Afghanistan. Afghan officials took delivery of 10,000 automatic rifles and millions of rounds of ammunition on February 24, 2016 from Russia. (Reuters, February 24, 2016).

Russia and the U.S. On another note, it appears that the Russians are not working well with the United States in regards to Afghanistan. Read "Russia Pulls Back from Cooperating with U.S. on Afghanistan", The New York Times, February 20, 2016.

Afghan War News Snippets

Borders Closing to Afghan Migrants. The country of Macedonia has closed its southern border with Greece to Afghan migrants but will allow entry for Iraqis and Syrians. Countries to the north of Macedonia have closed their borders to Afghans so this has caused a 'domino effect' where no nation was to be the ultimate final stop for the migrants. Read more in "Greece: Macedonia has closed its borders to Afghan migrants", Associated Press, February 21, 2016.

Clashes as Result of Borders Closing. Clashes are taking place between Afghan asylum seekers and Greek riot police as a result of Macedonia closing its borders to Afghans. Read more in "Policy Shifts on Refugees Lead to Clashes Between Migrants and Police", The New York Times, February 23, 2016.

Afghan Migration Report. A couple of organizations, RUSI and BAAG, have collaborated on a report entitled Migration & Development: The Case of Afghanistan, London Roundtable - 16th December 2015, published on 19 Feb 2016.

Asylum Seekers Disillusioned. "A special plane from Germany carrying rejected Afghan asylum seekers has landed in Kabul. What prospects do these people now have in their home country?" Read "Disillusionment driving Afghan asylum seekers back home"Deutsche  Welle, February 25, 2016.

Movie - Day One. This movie about an Afghan female interpreter has been nominated for an Academy Award in the short film, live active category. The director of the movie, Henry Hughes, is a combat veteran who spent a tour in Afghanistan with the 173rd. Read more in "Cavalry scout-turned-filmaker is headed to the Oscars, interpreter in tow", Military Times, February 25, 2016.

Afghan Interpreter Aided by Army Reservist. A U.S. Army reservist was instrumental in helping an ally from his war tour to gain entry to the United States. Read more in "Army Reserve Soldier welcomes former interpreter to America", DVIDS, February 24, 2016.

Movie - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. One of my favorite move stars, Tin Fey, stars in a movie about a news reporter in Afghanistan. Evidently it is based on the adventures of journalist Kim Barker who spent some time as a reporter in Afghanistan. Hits the theaters on March 4th. The blonde that plays her sidekick is "hot", so that alone is worth the price of admission. In the states she would be a "Ten"; in Afghanistan a "Thirty". Watch the trailer here.

Bin Laden and McRaven. Admiral McRaven was head of the special operations unit that got the head of al Qaeda in Pakistan and many remember him for that but he would rather be remembered for the totality of 37 years service. Read more in "McRaven now appreciates impact in U.S. of his bin Laden raid", The Tampa Tribune, February 25, 2016.

U.S. Payments for MSF Clinic Bombing - Not Enough? The U.S. military is paying thousands of dollars to wounded survivors and relatives of the 2 Afghans killed when a U.S. AC-130 gunship attacked a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz city this past October 2015. Families of the deceased will receive up to $6,000. Read more in "U.S. payments to Afghans in hospital attack called inadequate", Military Times, February 26, 2016.

U.S. Money Still Flowing. "How to track the taxpayer money helping to rebuild the country is a key question as budget battles begin this week." Read more in "U.S. Money Will Keep Flowing to Afghanistan As Oversight Plummets", Huffpost Politics, February 24, 2016.

DoD Probe Into Afghan Sex Abuse. "The Pentagon's inspector general is launching a 'full assessment' into multiple reports that the U.S. military encouraged troops to ignore their Afghan allies' sexual abuse of children." The practice of bacha bazi - or boy play - is one that has captured the attention of the western media and that sometimes puts American servicemen into difficult cultural and moral situations. Read a memo by the DoDIG dated February 19, 2016 on this topic.

Kabul Power Restored? After weeks of a partial blackout in the capital city electrical power has been restored. Afghanistan's national power company repaired power lines near the northern border with Uzbekistan that were cut by Taliban insurgents in January. The lines supply 280 of the 600 megawatts of power consumed daily in Kabul. Bad winter weather and security concerns delayed repairs for weeks prompting may Kabul residents to question the Afghan government.

Video Games, Deployment, and Rage Quitting. I seen lots of Soldiers playing video games on deployments; I was never into nor did I have the spare time. But evidently there is something called "Rage Quitting" - which is what happens when you combine a slow deployment in Afghanistan and video games. Read more in "A True Story of Rage Quitting in Afghanistan", Task and Purpose, February 26, 2016.

Corruption in Afghanistan? Who Knew? An anti-corruption monitoring group says that the Afghan government's official commitment to address the problem is weakening. The independent Monitoring and Evaluation Committee or MEC has released its half-year report. Read more in "Monitoring Group: Corruption Still a Problem in Afghanistan", Voice of America, February 25, 2016.

Women's Rights. Lael Mohib, founder of the Enabled Children Initiative and spouse of Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States, is interviewed in "Advancing Women's Rights in Afghanistan: A Conversation with Lael Mohib", In Asia: Weekly Insight and Analysis, February 24, 2016.

Russia Gives U.S. "Cold Shoulder" Over Afghanistan. Russia is disengaging from any United States efforts to spur peace talks or to establish stability in Afghanistan. Instead Russia is concentrating efforts to ensure security prevails in countries north of Afghanistan. Read more in "Russia Pulls Back From Cooperating With U.S. on Afghanistan", The New York Times, February 20, 2016.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


Afghan Nation-Building A Bust. Doug Bandow thinks its time for a departure from Afghanistan. "Afghanistan is a bust. The Taliban is expanding its control. The number of security incidents was up a fifth in the last months of 2015 over the previous year. Popular confidence is at its lowest level in a decade. . . ." And so on. Read more in "Bring America's Troops Home From Afghanistan: Nation-Building a Bust",, February 1, 2016.

Life Without War. A combat veteran of the Afghan War, Daniel Fisher, writes about life after his tour in Afghanistan in "#Essays on War: September Morning", The Strategy Bridge, February 2, 2016.

More Troops Not the Answer? General Campbell, Resolute Commander, testified before the House Armed Services Committee and said that the U.S. should continue to provide military assistance to Afghanistan for five more years. I guess this is the forever war! Some skeptics are convinced that the security situation gets worse each year. Read "Throwing More U.S. Troops at Afghanistan Isn't the Answer", National Interest, February 2, 2016.

RAND Report - COIN Update for Afghanistan. Christopher Paul and Colin P. Clarke have penned a 51-page report entitled Counterinsurgency Scorecard Update: Afghanistan in Early 2015 Relative to Insurgencies Since World War II, RAND Corporation, February 2016.

A "Plan Colombia" Needed for Afghanistan. Shawn Snow believes that in the fight to rid Afghanistan of violent extremism, the central government needs greater resources to gain a decisive advantage. Read "A Plan Colombia for Afghanistan", Foreign Policy, February 3, 2016.

Dividing Afghanistan? One commentator seems to think that a division of Afghanistan into two regions would help settle down the conflict. The western / northern portion would contain Heratis, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and others. The southern and eastern portion controlled by the Pashtuns. Hmmm. Not sure that would work. Read more in "Deteriorating Security Situation in Afghanistan", Indian Defence Review, February 4, 2016.

Open-Ended Conflict. Abdullah Sharif provides his thoughts on the current situation in Afghanistan in "Quagmirestan: America's Open-Ended Involvement in Afghanistan", The World Post, February 3, 2016.

Pakistan's Hand. Carlotta Gall examines Pakistan's role in the rise of international jihadism. Read "Pakistan's Hand in the Rise of International Jihad", The New York Times, February 6, 2016.

Book - "The Envoy". A former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations has penned a memoir. Zalmay Khalilzad has wrote The Envoy: From Kabul to the White House, My Journey Through a Turbulent World available at Macmillan Publishers. Khalilzad was born in Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan. Should be an informative read providing historical insight of the 'big picture'.

The War We Want and the War We Have. David Betz, a Reader in Warfare in the War Studies Department at King's College London, has penned a long essay on wars we want to fight and the wars we find ourselves involved with in "Carnage and Connectivity: How Our Pursuit of Fun Wars Brought the Wars Home", War on the Rocks, February 2, 2016.

Russia and a New Ally in Afghanistan? Some observers have made a lot of noise about Russia's supposed overtures to the Taliban in order to join forces against the rise of the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Javid Ahmad writes about Moscow's new ally in "Russia and the Taliban Make Amends", Foreign Affairs, January 31, 2016.

Lessons Not Learned. The US Army has two missions - defeating a capable adversary in large-scale land operations and conducting effective stability operations in areas in which governance is weak or nonexistent. The newly released report by the National Commission on the Future of the Army (Jan 28, 2016, 208 pages, PDF) lacks insight on how to address stability operations or counterinsurgency. As if to say that (as in the post-Vietnam era) we are not going to fight an OEF or OIF-like conflict every again. Read a critique of the recent report by the NCFA in "Ignoring the Army's Recent Past Will Not Help It Win Future Wars", by Andrew Hill, War on the Rocks, February 2, 2016.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

Flying the Flag. Troops overseas are counseled about flying the U.S. flag in combat zones. Typically, the directives state that the flag should only be flown alongside partner nations (Iraq, Afghanistan, NATO countries, etc.). However, sometimes units operating at small fire bases or on patrols have trouble containing their patriotism. During a recent battle in Helmand province a Special Forces detachment took time out to briefly fly the American flag on top of a building. The SF team had suffered one death and two wounded during an intense firefight engagement with the Taliban. Read more on this topic in "This patriotic photo of Green Berets in Afghanistan is circulating after this week's deadly attack", by Dan Lamothe, The Washington Post, January 8, 2016.

Canadian Hostage Released by Taliban? A Canadian has been freed from captivity in Afghanistan after being taken hostage by the Taliban five years ago. Read more in "Canadian freed five years after Taliban kidnapping", Yahoo! News, January 11, 2016.

SACEUR Visit to Kabul. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) recently visited Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul and met with senior RS officers. See "SACEUR visits HQ RS", January 11, 2016.

Russia and TAPI. The gas pipeline that will (hopefully) run from Turkmenistan to India (crossing Afghanistan) is proceeding in its construction. The completion of TAPI is certainly not in Russia's interests and it is proposing several alternatives. Read "Russia and the TAPI Pipeline", The Jamestown Foundation, December 18, 2015.

Russia Supplying Wpns to Afg? More and more news reports say that Russia will possibly start providing weapons to Afghanistan. Russia is concerned about the increasing instability of Afghanistan and the possibility that jihadist groups will turn their eyes northward from Afghanistan towards the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Read more in "Russia to Supply Small Arms to Afghanistan", Associated Press, January 13, 2016.

MoH Recipient Interview. Captain (Ret) Flo Groberg received the Medal of Honor for his actions in saving fellow servicemen during an attack in February 2012. Read an interview by Mike Kelvington posted on The Havoc Journal, January 15, 2016.

Doctors Absent from Rural Areas. Medical centres tend to be concentrated in urban areas, leaving villagers little access to care. Read more in "More Doctors Needed in Afghan Districts", Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR), January 2016.

New Book - "The Lovers". Rod Nordland, an author and correspondent for The New York Times, has wrote a book about a young Afghan couple who risked everything for love. Read more about the book at Harper Collins Publishers.

RS HQs Video. This 1-minute long video posted by Resolute Support HQs provides a brief explanation of the "Train, Advise, and Assist" mission of NATO in Afghanistan.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Intelligence News

Logo of the NDS
An examination of the story behind the resignation in early December 2015 of the chief of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) will point to the discord found within the National Unity Government (NUG) and the divide between those who favor increased dialogue and reconciliation (some call it appeasement) with the Pakistan government and those who accuse Pakistan as the source of all problems with the insurgency (which, of course, they are!). The NDS chief resigned at the same time that President Ghani was in Islamabad attempting to reopen the dialogue with Pakistan and re-start the postponed peace talks that would resolve the conflict with the Taliban. Thomas Ruttig of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) provides this analysis for us in Political Cleavages over Pakistan: The NDS chief's farewell, December 23, 2015.

CIA and Tora Bora 2001. Gary Berntsen, the CIA head of operations for eastern Afghanistan in 2001, recounts the battle of Tora Bora, missed opportunities, and inability of DoD to react to quick-changing situations. Read "Remembering the battle of Tora Bora in 2001", PRI, December 22, 2015.

CIA's Top Stories of 2015. The Central Intelligence Agency has listed its top stories for the past year. Jedburghs, Area 51, Saigon, William F. Buckley, research tools, and more.

Task Force Longhorn. A short article published on tells us about the success that the members of the 303rd Military Intelligence Battalion, 504th Military Intelligence Brigade has been having since they deployed to Afghanistan in September 2015. The Fort Hood Soldiers report to Task Force ODIN - a theater-wide military intelligence team supporting U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan. The task force's multi-functional teams or MFTs help facilitate actionable intelligence at the lowest echelon. The MFTs are comprised of human intelligence, signal intelligence, and analysts that provide a multi-disciplined approach to intelligence exploitation. Read more in "Task force already successful in Afghanistan intel mission",, December 15, 2015.

Got a TS Clearance? The Chinese are the only ones that have you on a database. Doyle Quiggle gives us something to think about in "The Cognitive Delusions of a Top Secret Clearance", Small Wars Journal, December 26, 2015.

Russia & Taliban Sharing Info? A CNN report says that the Taliban and Russia are sharing intelligence about the Islamic State. Russia is worried about jihadists based in Russia's Caucasus region and former Soviet republics going off to fight in Syria . . . and then returning. The article explains the many reasons that (if true) Russia would cooperate with the Taliban. (CNN, Dec 25, 2015).

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

Climate Change in Afghanistan. This past week the leaders of the world converged in Paris to attend the climate conference. President Ghani attended as well. Read up on the problems of climate change in Afghanistan in "Before the Paris Conference: The state of Afghanistan's climate and its adaption capability", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 30, 2015.

New MoD HQs Building. The Afghan military has a very new and large Ministry of Defense headquarters building in Kabul. (RS News, Nov 1, 2015).

RS HQs Dining Facility Named. The dining facility has been named after the late senior enlisted advisor of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) - SGM Wardell Turner. He was killed in Afghanistan in an improvised explosive device attack on November 24, 2014. (RS News, November 24, 2015).

Air Evacuation of Casualties Harmful? A recent news report suggests that the air evacuation of casualties with traumatic brain injury might cause additional damage to the patients. Read "Study: Air evacuating casualties might do more harm than good", The Washington Post, November 30, 2015.

Russia Helping Out . . . With 10,000 AKs. The Russian Federation has promised 10,000 Kalashnikov AK-47s to Kabul. They are expected to arrive before the end of the year. (Khaama Press, Nov 28, 2015).

'Heart of Asia'. A conference will soon be held to promote regional cooperation in South and Central Asia. The Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process has 14 member nations in the region. Read more in "Security Stability in Afghanistan, the 'Heart of Asia'", The Diplomat, December 2, 2015.

Poetry and Afghanistan. Lots of books are being published about the history of the U.S. military deployment during OEF to Afghanistan. But not many of them are about poetry. Randy Brown has penned Welcome to FOB Haiku: War Poems From Inside the Wire. Read about this new book in "The poetry of an Afghan deployment", Foreign Policy - The Best Defense Blog, November 30, 2015.

Germany Accepting Refugees . . . Not So Much. The majority of the 140,000 Afghans who have fled Afghanistan this year have ended up in Germany. Why not - it is a nice place to live, there are some jobs available, and the social safety net is way better than the one found in Afghanistan. However, there is just one sticking point. The welcome mat is no longer on the doorstep. Read more in "Merkel: We will have to return people to Afghanistan", Deutsche Welle, December 2, 2015.

Guantanamo Bay Prisoner - "Oops, Sorry About That". Looks like we had the wrong guy. A prisoner locked up for 13 years in Cuba was not the fellow we thought he was. Read more in "Guantanamo Bay prisoner victim of mistaken identity, says US", BBC News, December 2, 2015.

Afghanistan Looking to Central Asia for Internet Options. The Internet continues to see expanding usage in Afghanistan and the country is looking north for increased services at reduced prices. Read "Internet Draws Central Asia, Afghanistan Closer", Silk Road Reporters, December 2, 2015.

World Vision and WASH. UNOCHA provides funding for a project that installs water pumps. Watch 2-min video that provides insight to this program in Badghis province. (UNOCHA, Nov 30, 2015).

Photos of Afghanistan - Cultural in Kabul. Kabul's rich cultural landscape is sometimes overlooked with the news of constant danger. Have a look at some photos by Tyrell Mayfield in "Kabul: A Different View", The Diplomat, November 30, 2015.

More Photos of Afghanistan - Commerce in Kabul. A couple of photojournalists provides us with photos of life, labor and commerce in Kabul. (Bloomberg, Dec 1, 2015).

Political Economy of a District. War is continually present in many of Afghanistan's districts. This is especially true of Andar district in Ghazni province - and the economy suffers from this constant threat. Learn more in "Finding Business Opportunity in Conflict: Shopkeepers, Taleban, and the political economy of Andar district", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), by Fazal Muzhary, December 2, 2015.

'Russian Taliban' Gets Life. A former military tank commander has been sentenced to life in prison for leading a Taliban attack on U.S. forces in Khost province, Afghanistan in 2009. He was a veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who stayed and joined the Haqqani Network. (Gandara Blog, Dec 4, 2015).

Plight of Deported Afghan Minors. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is reporting on the plight of Afghan teenagers who are smuggled across the border into Iran to seek employment. While making that journey they are often victimized and end up in unfavorable situations during their employment. Read more in "IOM Highlights Needs of Deported Afghan Minors", IOM, December 4, 2015.

More Female Afghan Lawyers Needed. Women held in detention face a troubling future. Their ability to seek justice is hampered by a lack of female lawyers. (RefWorld, Dec 3, 2015).

MEC Losing International Funding? USAID and other donors are threatening to stop funding the operations of the Independent Joint Anti-Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) due to corrupt activities such as illegal salary increases, travel payment abuses, and other shady goings-on. Hmmm.

UN Address by Afg Ambassador. H.E. Mahmoud Saikal, the Afghan ambassador to the United Nations, made a presentation on November 30th about the situation in Afghanistan. (YouTube, UNAfghanistan, 20 minutes).

Marine Forced Out - Had Warned of Insider Attack. A Marine officer is being forced out of the service because he disseminated classified information about the possibility of an insider attack in Afghanistan. He tried to warn other Marines about an insider attack that could occur because a corrupt Afghan police chief who was sexually abusing children. One of the child victims subsequently took possession of an AK-47 and killed three U.S. Marines. Read more in "Decision to force out Marine who sent warning ahead of insider attack upheld", The Washington Post, November 30, 2015.

Video - U.S. Army's Human Dimension Strategy. The Army needs a concerted effort in the implementation of a comprehensive human dimension strategy - to include development of agile and adaptive leaders, realistic training, and institutional agility. U.S. Army Center for Combat Arms, November 30, 2015. (YouTube, 5 mins).

Former Detainee Now DGov in Nangarhar. A detainee held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay is now back in the fight; but working for the Afghan government. Read "Once in Guantanamo, Afghan Now Leads War Against Taliban and ISIS", The New York Times, November 27, 2015.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paper - Russia, COIN, and Lessons (Not) Learned

A paper recently published (Dec 2014) entitled "Russian Organizational Learning in the Context of Afghanistan and Chechnya Counterinsurgencies" provides us with an examination of the Soviet Unions approach to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan (violently offensive mindset that alienated the populace they needed to succeed). The paper compares this approach in Afghanistan to the Russian counterinsurgency approach in Chechnya (essentially the same). The 47 page long paper seeks to understand why the lessons learned (or perhaps not learned) in the Afghan COIN environment were not implemented in the later counterinsurgency situation found in Chechnya. In addition, the author notes that the United States did not learn its counterinsurgency lessons in Vietnam and when presented with the counterinsurgent struggle in Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. had to relearn those lessons. The author of this paper, MAJ Anthony M. Roh, wrote the paper as a student in the School of Advanced Military Studies at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The paper can be read online or downloaded at the link below on the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Russia Returns to Afghanistan

Over the past two years Russia has been investing heavily in Afghanistan - restoring once-abandoned factories and funding new infrastructure ventures. This is not surprising as Russia has been eating its Wheaties lately and has adopted an expansionist policy diplomatically, militarily, and economically. View a 5 minute video on this topic by Radio Free Europe (Dec 11, 2014).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Taliban Free Russian Pilot

The Afghan Taliban has freed a Russian contract helicopter pilot who was captured in eastern Logar province in April 2013. The pilot had fallen seriously ill. Eight Turkish engineers, and one Afghan citizen were captured when their helicopter made an emergency landing in a part of Logar province that has been controlled by the Taliban for a number of years. Read more in "Taliban free Russian pilot after 18 months in captivity", Reuters, October 31, 2014.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Russian Prisoner at BAF to Be Tried in U.S.

There are 13 non-Afghans still residing in the Parwan detention center adjacent to Bagram Air Field (BAF). One of them is a Russian who will soon be brought to the United States for trial on several charges relating to a 2009 incident. The prisoner is a Russian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who deserted to the resistance. He stayed in the country and was captured in 2009 after an attack on Afghan Border Police and U.S. soldiers in Khost province. Read more in "Prisoner in Afghanistan to be tried in US", Star-Telegram, October 23, 2014.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Russia Concerned about Afghanistan's Future

Russia has a high stake in how the Afghanistan war turns out. There is a large Muslim population in the Central Asian nations (the 'stans) and within Russia's own borders. If Afghanistan falls to the Taliban after the 2014 withdrawal of ISAF then this Muslim population in Russia and adjacent Central Asian countries could possibly come under the influence of Taliban-supported radical groups.

In many ways, although Russia has been at odds with the United States on a number of issues, Russia has supported the United States occupation of Afghanistan. This includes use of its ports for shipping equipment and supplies, assisting the U.S. in basing rights in Central Asian states like Uzbekistan, and allowing the transit of cargo overland through the Volga region. This relieves the pressure of having to deal exclusively with Pakistan for the movement of supplies and equipment in and out of Afghanistan.

Read more about Russia's concern on the outcome of the Afghan conflict in "The Russian Stake in Afghanistan - Analysis", Eurasia Review, March 9, 2013.