Showing posts with label bacha-bazi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bacha-bazi. Show all posts

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Afghan War News Snippets

USAF PJ's in Afghanistan. A pararescueman or "PJ" is interviewed about his job in Afghanistan in "How this elite Air Force rescue squadron's mission has evolved in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes, October 29, 2015.

Spain Withdraws. Because things are going so well in Afghanistan, the NATO presence in Herat province has been downsized. Read more in "Spain Completes withdrawal from Afghanistan", Defense News, October 29, 2015.

China and Afghanistan. "A series of Chinese-financed infrastructure, energy, and transport projects has now raised hopes that the investments will help in establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan." Read more about some ambitious projects taking place in Central Asia that will indirectly help Afghanistan in "New Chinese Grand Strategy to Help Afghanistan", Gandhara Blog, October 31, 2015.

Leading Producer of Opium? Afghanistan. Despite $8.4 billion spent on counter-drug efforts in Afghanistan the country remains the leading producer of opium. (Ottawa Citizen, Oct 30, 2015).

Kabul's Drug Users. The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) provides us with a report on the tough living conditions that Kabul drug users endure. (AAN, Oct 29, 2015).

Flying Above Kabul. A news correspondent, Dan Lamothe, shares his experience of flying in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter over Afghanistan in "An Army Chinook crew's mission over Afghanistan", The Washington Post, October 29, 2015.

Storied F-16 Based at Bagram. A fighter jet at BAF is credited with shooting down three aircraft in a single mission - making it one of the military's most decorated. (The Washington Post, Oct 29, 2015).

ATP 3-07.6, Protection of Civilians. This manual, dated October 2015, is published by the Department of the Army and outlines the responsibilities to protect civilians during military operations.

MSF Hospitals Hit - Afghanistan & Yemen. The outcry from the medical humanitarian group differs in two instances - the Saudi strike against a hospital in Yemen and a U.S. strike against a hospital in Kunduz. One analyst - Joshua Foust - examines the background in "How Can America Respond to a Double Standard in War?", Foreign Policy Research Institute Blog, October 28, 2015.

Taliban Fighter Costumes Popular. The Military Police on Bagram Airfield report that the most commonly scene Halloween costume is the "Taliban Fighter". Read more in a news report by Duffel Blog, October 31, 2015.

Afghanistan Lacking Revenue. Domestic revenues have accounted for 39 percent of the total budget expenditures in Afghanistan so far in 2015. Donor contributions make up the rest. Read more in a news report by The Washington Post, October 31, 2015.

Counterterrorism - Comparing Bush and Obama. "When It Comes to Counterterrorism, Why Bush and Obama Aren't So Far Apart", National Public Radio, October 30, 2015.

Army Artillery Open to Women. The United States Army has officially opened more than 19,000 field artillery jobs to women. (Army Times, Oct 29, 2015).

Attack Piece Upon Gen John Allen. General Allen (now retired) is a former commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) - the predecessor to Resolute Support. One author provides biting commentary on the distinguished and highly respected general - trashing him for his lack of ethics. Sometimes you got to wonder where these guys are coming from. Read "The Eroding Ethics of Senior Military Officers: John R. Allen", by James W. Weirick,, October 15, 2015.

Ridding Combat Arms of the "Macho" Male. A dissenting voice explains to us how the Defense Department is forcing culture change within the U.S. military to ensure the integration of women into combat arms units. Read "Changing the 'Macho' Male Culture of the US Military"Small Wars Journal, October 29, 2015.

Bacha Bazi - Legal Obligations? The recent coverage by The New York Times and other news media on the U.S. military's relationship with Afghan commander's who partake in Bacha Bazi is the topic of a recent report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Read a legal sidebar entitled "Legal Obligation of U.S. Armed Forces to Intervene in Acts of Bacha Bazi in Afghanista", CRS, posted on Homeland Security Digital Library, October 22, 2015.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

SOF News

Behind the Scenes. Barbara Star, CNN Pentagon Correspondent, interviews General Votel (cdr of USSOCOM). Votel chats about SOF successes, failures, SOCOM creation, covert operations, and more. Read (and watch the video) "Behind the scenes with the commander of Special Ops",, October 5, 2015.

Spetsnaz in Syria. Russia's special forces has now deployed to Syria according to some news reports. Read "Putin has sent the feared Spetsnaz special forces nto Syria to bail out Assad", Mirror UK, October 6, 2015.

JSOC in the Shadows. "One of the least publicized organizations active in counter-terror operations is the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Formed in 1980 in the aftermath of a failed mission into Iran to rescue American embassy personnel being held captive there, JSOC was meant to eliminate the coordination problems between the services that were found to be the main reason the Iran rescue mission failed." Read more in "Special Operations: JSOC in the Shadows", Strategy Page, October 3, 2015.

History of Special Operations Executive (SOE). This famous organization was created by British prime minister Winston Churchill to carry out top-secret missions against Germany. Read more in "The Top Secret WWII Warriors Who Inspired James Bond and Birthed Modern Black Ops", Maxim Magazine, October 8, 2015.

Syrian Training Program "Paused". After the disastrous testimony of CENTCOM commander General Austin before Congress and subsequent reports of failure coming out of the Middle East the Syrian training program has been halted. At least the military part of it. A program to train up 5,400 Syrians had produced only 60; and those were either killed or captured as soon as they entered Syria. The more successful (?) CIA training program is reportedly still ongoing. It appears that rather than start from scratch in recruiting and vetting "moderate" Syrians the Pentagon may provide aid to already established rebel groups (what a concept). Perhaps they should have armed up and trained the Kurds in a big way right from the beginning. Thus far the Kurds have proven themselves to be the most effective fighters on the ground in Syria (besides ISIS).

SF Failing at UW? One wonders just how well our Army is in conducting the Special Forces core mission of Unconventional Warfare - if we couldn't get the Syrian training program off the ground with a $500 million budget, a years worth of work, existing rebel organizations already established, training camps in countries adjacent to the area of operations, air superiority, and sanctuaries for the resistance movements. Does the CIA know how to do UW better than the Army? Read "Pentagon plans major shift in effort to counter Islamic State in Syria", The Washington Post, October 9, 2015. See also a DoD press release on the topic (Oct 9, 2015).

10th SFGA & 4th ID Aligned. The 10th Special Forces Group is regionally oriented with Europe and has a battalion forward deployed near Stuttgart, Germany. It's home base and group headquarters is at Fort Carson. 10th SFGA teams have worked for many years alongside European SOF training, advising, and assisting special mission units of the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in Afghanistan. The 4th Infantry Division is also located at Fort Carson. Both the 10th and the 4th are now going to be aligned and operating together in Europe. Read more in "Army looks to rotating and reserve forces for Europe mission", Army Times, October 8, 2015.

Report - Female Marines a NO for SOF. "A report conducted by the U.S. Marine Corps on integrating women into all military units concluded that even the top female troops likely cannot cut it in the special operations forces . . ." See "Report finds female Marines cannot meet some standards for special operations forces", Fox News, October 7, 2015.

Discharge of Green Beret for Assaulting ALP Officer Postponed. An SFC who was scheduled for discharge from the Army is getting a 60-day reprieve. The Army has agreed to postpone the discharge in order to review the case. The SF NCO received a letter of reprimand for assaulting an Afghan police officer in 2011 who continuously raped a young Afghan boy. The letter was instrumental in a personnel action that was removing the NCO from the Army. The case has received national attention and caused a certain amount of embarrassment for the Army. Read more in "Army agrees to postpone discharge of Green Beret", The Hill, October 6, 2015.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bacha Bazi, the ANDSF, and U.S. Advisors

SFC Martland Speaks Out. SFC Charles Martland is being involuntarily separated from the Army for beating up an Afghan Local Police (ALP) commander who was raping a young Afghan boy repeatedly. Unless SecDef gets involved and reverses the decision Martland is out of the Army come November 1st. This is an issue that is not going away. Read more in "Green Beret discharged for beating alleged child rapist speaks out"CNN,  September 28, 2015.

Letter of Reprimand. The then commanding general of Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) - which is now designated as SOTF-A - wrote a letter of reprimand accusing Martland and his team leader (CPT Quinn) of "flagrant departure from the integrity, professionalism and even-tempered leadership" expected of Special Forces soldiers. No double a letter artfully crafted by the CFSOCC-A lawyer(s). See "U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies", by Joseph Goldstein, The New York Times, September 20, 2015.

Kunduz - A Problem Area for ALP. The province of Kunduz has seen its share of problems from militias - whether those supported by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), local warlords, or the U.S. sponsored and advised Afghan Local Police or ALP. Part of the current security problems of Kunduz city and the province are attributed to these militia groups and ALP that have been above the law and victimizing the local population - thus providing more support to the insurgents. The 1st Special Forces Group was providing assistance to the Afghan Local Police in Kunduz (as part of their wider Village Stability Operations program). Attempts by SFC Martland and his SF team leader to rein in the ALP backfired on them and they were kicked out of the country. Read more in "One of the best" Defenders show support for ousted Green Beret", Army Times, September 30, 2015.

Due Process? Matthew Weybrecht provides his viewpoint on the legality of two U.S. Soldiers beating up a commander of the Afghan Local Police (ALP). He seems to believe that the Soldiers received due process and got off lightly with a reprimand and not a court marital for their alleged assault. Oh Matthew . . . really? I know you got combat time and served in the Rangers (read your bio); but based on your opinion piece it is readily apparent you will make a good lawyer. Good luck with your studies at Harvard Law School! Read the article in "The U.S. Military and Due Process in Afghanistan", Lawfare, September 29, 2015.

Gen Campbell Speaks Out. The current Resolute Support (RS) mission commander, General John Campbell, has come out strongly against allegations that U.S. forces ignore (or ignored) reports of sexual abuse of young Afghan boys by Afghan police or military members. Read his response in "Gen. Campbell: Any abuse is reprehensible", USA Today, September 28, 2015. Hmmm. While there was 'no such theater policy' there was certainly widespread knowledge of "Man Love Thursday" activities among the Afghan security forces. In addition, there were varying degrees of intervention by U.S. forces from turning a blind eye to trying to fire the offending ANDSF members. However, the leverage that U.S. commanders had at the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense in regards to firing bad Afghan commanders was dismal. So, there's that . . .

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bacha Bazi - Afghan Dancing Boys

Young boys are being groomed as entertainers, companions for older males, and sexual partners in Afghanistan. This is a practice common of wealthy and prominent Afghans. Read more, see some photos and watch a video in "Afghanistan sees rise in 'dancing boys' exploitation", The Washington Post, April 4, 2012.