Showing posts with label militias. Show all posts
Showing posts with label militias. Show all posts

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Afghan Territorial Army

Members of the 8th Special Operations Kandak provide
training to a contingent of the Afghan Local Police (ALP).

Another Militia? It appears that the U.S. and Afghan military may be considering the establishment of an Afghan Territorial Army. The proposed force of 20,000 would be under the control of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and would be an army version of the Afghan Local Police (ALP). The purpose of the force is to provide security to isolated communities that are threatened by insurgents.

Read more:

"More Militias? Deja vu double plus with the proposed 'Afghan Territorial Army'", by Kate Clark, Afghan Analysts Network, September 21, 2017.

"More Militias? Part 2: The Proposed Afghan Territorial Army in the Fight Against ISKP", by Kate Clark and Borhan Osman, September 23, 2017.

"U.S. Plan for New Afghan Force Revives Fears of Militia Abuses", by Mujib Mashal, The New York Times, September 15, 2017.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Afghan Security News

Kunduz CIVCAS Event. An airstrike took place during the recent attack on a Taliban position in Kunduz city where two American Special Forces Soldiers died. The airstrike hit a building(s) where senior Taliban leaders were in - and also some civilians (many children). Some estimates say over 30 civilians were killed. Read more in "U.S. general pledges investigation on Afghan air strike casualties", Reuters, November 5, 2016. See also "NATO and government forces are increasingly responsible for Afghan civilian deaths", The Washington Post, November 3, 2016.

Australian Woman Kidnapped. According to some initial reports (Tolo News) an Australian woman employed by an NGO was kidnapped at gunpoint on Saturday night (5 Nov 2016) in Kabul.

Hand-Holding at FOB Gamberi. Learn a little bit about what it is like to be an advisor to the Afghan National Army's 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan. See "Texas troops aiding effort to advise Afghan military", My San Antonio, October 31, 2016.

Senior al-Qaida Ldr Killed by Airstrike. The US says that Farouq al-Qahtani, who had long-standing ties with Osama bin Laden, was killed in a precision air strike in October. (The Guardian, November 4, 2016).

ALP, Uprisings, and Militias. In the northern province of Takhar there is a mix of armed groups that exist in addition to the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. Read more in "Afghanistan tries to clean up its militias, both legal and illegal",  LA Times, October 31, 2016.

Green-On-Green Attacks are Up. The occurrence of attacks by members of the Afghan security forces against other members of the Afghan army or police is rising. Read "Wave of Afghan-on-Afghan Insider Attacks Hits Afghan Army",,  October 31, 2016.

Army NCO Considered for MoH. An Army non-commissioned officer is being considered for the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in eastern Afghanistan in 2012. Read "We weren't out there looking for awards", Stars and Stripes, November 4, 2016.

Former Serviceman Dies in Afghanistan. A former Navy SEAL - Brian Hoke - died in Afghanistan. Hoke was from the Leesburg, Virginia ara and a 1996 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. He left the military in 2002 and worked for the U.S. State Department with many deployments overseas. He is survived by his wife and three children. Info from "Virginia Serviceman Dies in Afghanistan", NBC, October 31, 2016.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Rise of ALP and Anti-Taliban Militias?

The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have not quite been up to the task of finding, fixing, and finishing the Taliban and other insurgent groups across the country. The ANDSF has taken significant losses, suffered from high desertion rates, and seen many regions across the country fall under the control of the Taliban, ISIS, and other groups. The Afghan government has resorted to funding various local militia groups in Kunduz, Faryab, and other locations where the ANDSF has fallen short in providing security. In addition, GIRoA has indicated that it wants to increase the size of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) from 30,000 to 45,000. Read more in a report by Anuj Chopra in "Rise of Afghan anti-Taliban militias stokes instability fears"Yahoo! News, December 1, 2015.

Intelligence News

Khost Protection Force & the CIA - Part 1. A regional counterterrorism pursuit team set up in Khost province by the CIA has been problematic due to human rights concerns and a lack of accountability. The CIA transferred the CPT to the National Directorate of Security (NDS) a few years back but still has some involvement. Western security officials maintain that the Khost pursuit team is one of the most effective elements fighting insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan. David Jolly tells us more in "Civilian Deaths Raise Questions About C.I.A.-Trained Forces in Afghanistan", The New York Times, December 3, 2015.

Khost Protection Force & the CIA - Part II. More info on the CIA-run and supported (still?) Khost Protection Force. See "CIA runs shadow war with Afghan militia implicated in civilian killings", The Washington Post, December 3, 2015.

John Brennan Presentation. The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recently (Nov 16) spoke at the Global Security Forum 2015 held by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). Topics include ISIS and global security. You can listen to his 48-minute address (video or audio) or download his transcript.

Movie - "Central Intelligence". A new comedy about a U.S. intelligence agent is to be released in 2016 starring "The Rock". Watch the movie trailer (USA Today, Nov 20, 2015).

More Spies Against ISIS? It appears that the Defense Department is ready to beef up the intelligence gathering against the Islamic State. Read "U.S. Spies May be Back in Action Against ISIS", Newsweek, December 1, 2015.

CENTCOM's Intel Credibility. The changing of intelligence analysts reports at the highest level to satisfy political beliefs is still a problem even though the story has all but disappeared from the headlines. Read "Obama's Intel Scandal", The Weekly Standard, December 7, 2015.

Taliban Holding Secret U.S. Hostage? A news report suggests that the Taliban are holding an American in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. See "Secret U.S. Hostage Held by Taliban Allies", The Daily Beast, December 1, 2015.

Afghan Security News

Foreign Troops Deploy to Kunar. Provincial security officials say that over 150 foreign troops have been deployed to the city of Assadabad in Kunar province in a bid to strengthen security in the province. If true this would be the first time that ISAF . .  oops . . . RS forces have been in the province for a long period of time in over two years. See "Over 100 Foreign Troops Deployed to Kunar"Tolo News, November 28, 2015.

Mass Defections in Nuristan Province. According to some news reports (and Taliban statements) hundreds of security personnel and government officials have defected to the Taliban over the past few weeks in Nuristan province. (The Long War Journal, Dec 1, 2015).

40% of Released Prisoners Resume Fight. The Afghan Chief of Army Staff says that 40% of the Afghan insurgents detained and subsequently released from prison are back on the battlefield. (Tolo News, Dec 2, 2015).

Another U.S. Embassy Warning. The U.S. State Department has issued an updated warning to its citizens about possible attacks in Kabul. (Gandhara Blog, Nov 30, 2015).

U.S. Reaffirms Support to Afghanistan. The U.S.-led NATO coalition and the United States has reaffirmed its commitment to Afghanistan's security forces and said it will not leave the Afghan forces alone on the battlefield. Hmmmm. (Tolo News, Nov 29, 2015).

Pakistan Shelling Afghanistan. The Afghan ambassador to the United Nations detailed the attacks that Pakistan has conducted with its heavy artillery shelling from across the border into Afghanistan. He also noted that external support to the Taliban and other terrorist groups was primarily motivated by regional rivalry. Read more in "Pakistan accused of violating Afghanistan's sovereignty"Pajhwok Afghan News, December 1, 2015.

What of the IMU? Keeping track of the various groups of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) can be difficult but several observers recently gathered to provide their thoughts. Read "The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan Comes Unraveled", Qishloq Ovozi Blog - Radio Free Europe, November 28, 2015.

Insecurity in Afghanistan and Militias. The Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) have had a difficult fighting season in 2015. The Taliban inflicted many casualties and solidified their hold on several districts throughout the country. In addition, some Taliban groups have rebranded themselves as ISIS - especially in Nangarhar and Zabul provinces.The country has also seen an increase in private militias - some funded by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and others funded by local or regional strongmen (powerbrokers or warlords). Read more in "Afghanistan's precarious security has officials pointing fingers", by Ali M. Latifi and Mohammaed Aharun Arsalai, Los Angeles Times, November 30, 2015.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Confusing ALP with Illegal Militias

A recent news article by Carlo Munoz in Stars and Stripes (August 8, 2015) informs us about militias in northern Afghanistan.
 "The re-emergence of government-backed local militias in northern Afghanistan outweighs the benefits for the fight against the Taliban because those armed groups could turn into "hired guns" for warlords and bandits once the insurgent threat subsides, coalition military officers say."

The author of this article, manages to insert a comment about the Afghan Local Police or ALP in his writing - which lumps the ALP in a grouping with illegal or informally government-supported militia's - a common mistake that leads to confusion about militias and the ALP.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Good and Bad about Militia Forces

ALP Graduation in Shah Joy District
Militia forces have had a mixed performance in Afghanistan. Many of the attempts to establish local militia forces by the United States and its coalition partners have failed while some have succeeded. The outcomes have been mixed. Some militia programs have helped secure local communities from the Taliban while a few of them have degenerated into armed criminal bands that terrorize the local population. Vanda Felbab-Brown, a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, explores the security and political effects of militia forces in Afghanistan. In her paper she provides a good historical background on the Afghan Local Police as well as mentioning earlier militia programs such as ANUP, APPP, LDI, and CDI. She compares and contrasts the militias of Afghanistan with the popular local uprisings in Mexico and draws some conclusion and provides some recommendations for future support of prosecuting security policy through proxies. Read her article The dubious joy of standing up militias and building partner capacity: Lessons from Afghanistan and Mexico for prosecuting security policy through proxiesJuly 21, 2015.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Margh Militia - Driven by Fear of IS

A new militia group formed in Mazar-e-Sharif has Afghan government officials worried. The members say they have formed up their group to fight off any possible attempt by the Islamic State (IS) to establish a foothold in the Mazar-e-Sharif area in northern Afghanistan. It appears that the group is non-sectarian as it has members who at Tajiks, Uzbeks, Pashtuns, and Hazaras. There are Sunni and Shiite Muslims among their fighters. Not much is known about who is funding or organizing the group (I am sure someone knows but just isn't saying). Read more in "Fear of the Islamic State spawns a renegade Afghan militia", The Washington Post, February 25, 2015.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Paper - "Risky Business"

Afghanistan has a long history of the use of locally-based militias to keep areas secure and loyal to the Afghan central government. The period of post-2001 is no exception. At the very beginning of the period following the fall of the Taliban regime Special Forces teams recruited, trained and led local militias called Afghan Militia Force (AMF). A few years after the Afghan National Army was established the AMF units were disbanded (well, almost all of them). In addition to the AMF there were a number of local defense force initiatives attempted by the United States Special Forces (and others) in Afghanistan (ANAP, AP3, LDI, CDI, CBSS, ISCI, and CIP). The latest and most successful has been the Afghan Local Police or ALP. The Center for Naval Analysis has published a paper about community-based security solutions utilizing pro-government civil defense forces in an attempt to achieve U.S. counter-terrorism and stability objectives. In the near future the United States will be working with a reduced defense budget and a public reluctance to engage in large-scale, population-centric counterinsurgency operations. Civil defense forces - used alongside air strikes, drones, special operations forces, and intelligence operatives - could provide a low-cost, small-footprint strategy to combat terrorist, insurgent, or transnational groups. Read more in the paper, entitled "Risky Business: The Future of Civil Defense Forces and Counterterrorism in an Era of Persistent Conflict", October 2014 available at the link below:

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Militias Stand Ready for Taliban Threat in Panjshir Valley

The Panjshir Valley, just north of Kabul, is renowned for being just one of two provinces that never fell to Taliban rule. As Afghanistan moves into the next stage of nationhood the residents of this fiercely independent valley stand ready to put up a fight if the current Afghan government falls to the Taliban. Read more about the stockpiling of weapons and future militia activities in "Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley awaits the next fight with the Taliban", Los Angeles Times, December 22, 2013.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interim Security Critical Infrastructure (ISCI) Program - Is it Working?

The Marines are pushing a program in Afghanistan called the Interim Security Critical Infrastructure (ISCI).  The ISCI was started (as best as I can determine) in the fall of 2010 - see "Marines, Afghans come together for way forward in Marjah",, October 23, 2010.  It has had a rapid growth in Marjah and some are keeping a close eye on it. The Afghans recruited into the ISCI units are paid $150 a month; the leaders a little bit more.  The ISCI units are a "neighborhood watch" group.  It is similar to what U.S. Special Forces units are trying to accomplish with the Afghan Local Police (ALP) initiative; although the ALP has the backing of the Afghan government and is a more structured program.

Some Afghans are fearful that the ISCI program will turn a bunch of loosely organized and un-supervised militias on the local population.  There already is friction between some of the groups.  See "Afghans fear return of the warlords as anti-Taliban militias clash", Guardian UK, February 16, 2011.

Learn more about the Interim Security Critical Infrastructure.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Militias in Afghanistan - Part of the Problem and Part of the Solution

Militias are a mixed blessing in Afghanistan.  On one hand they can provide the security that the central Afghan government fails to provide due to its cronyism, corruption, and inept security forces.  On the other hand the militias diminish the authority of the Afghan security forces.  Read a news article that provides a sense of this dilemma in "Militia ties undercut security steps in Afghanistan", Stars and Stripes, December 28, 2010.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Story Behind Ban on Security Contractors in Afghanistan

Matthieu Aikins has wrote a piece on the background of the dispute between Karzai and the west concerning private contracting security firms.  While Karzai takes the public line that security contractors are in violation of Afghan law and counter to the interests of Afghan citizens he is maneuvering himself and his cronies for political control and monetary gain by allowing only those security firms he can control to work in Afghanistan.  Read more in "The Real Story Behind the Ban on Contractors", Foreign Policy, December 23, 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Armed Militias Threaten Stability of North Afghanistan

Armed militias have threatened the stability and peace of northern Afghanistan.  The turmoil of the militias preying on the population and the lack of a central government presence (if present it is corrupt or inept) have opened the door to the re-emergence of Taliban influence in the area.  Read more in "Taliban Extend Reach to North, Where Armed Groups Reign", The New York Times, December 15, 2010.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Anti-Taliban Militias in Pakistan - A Lesson for U.S. in Afghanistan

Militias or "laskhars", in the frontier regions of Pakistan are having some success in fighting off the Taliban.  Read more in "Pakistani anti-Taliban militias offer lessons for U.S in Afghanistan", The Washington Post, December 7, 2010.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oxfam Australia Comes Out Against Arming Local Militias in Afghanistan

Oxfam Australia has come out against community defense initiatives in Afghanistan citing the dangerous aspects of militias and lack of ISAF control over armed village bands. 
"The agencies argue ISAF should abandon dangerous schemes such as the so-called “community defense initiatives”, which involve supporting local militia groups to fight the Taliban. They say that the international forces must immediately stop arming these community militias. Recruits are barely vetted, receive little training and are often accountable only to the local commanders. Far from helping to stabilise the country, they are likely to contribute to the growing instability."
Read more at the link below:

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Village Forms a Militia to Oppose the Taliban - Tarbuz Guzar

A village in Konduz Province has formed a militia to oppose the spread of Taliban influence.  Read more in "Into Taliban Territory: The Beginnings of the Tarbuz Guzar Militia", Radio Free Europe, November 23, 2010.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Col Abdul Razzik - Special Forces Ally in Southern Afghanistan

American troops are partnering with many different types of Afghan units in an attempt to quell the Taliban insurgency.  One such "partner" is Col Abdul Razzik - a leader of a military unit that secures Spin Boldak and other parts of southern Afghanistan.  Read more about this successful insurgent fighter and his questionable background at "In Afghanistan, U.S. Turns 'Malignant Actor' Into Ally", The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2010.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Special Forces Sponsored Militias in Northern Afghanistan Under Question

A recent posting by the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) questions the support of militias in northern Afghanistan by U.S. Army Special Forces.  The AAN editors wonder if the program of supporting "local defense forces" are good for northern Afghanistan.  Read the online posting at "Another Militia Creation Gone Wrong", Afghanistan Analysts Network, October 18, 2010.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Militia Force in Shahabuddin, Northern Afghanistan Supported by Coalition

A militia force in Shahabuddin, northern Afghanistan has been supported by the coalition forces in an attempt to provide security to this geographic area.  The concept is that the force is supported by the Afghan government with weapons, ammunition and funding and supervised by Afghan police and coalition forces.  However, there are questions about the program given the past history of militias in Afghanistan.  Read more in "Plan to convert Taliban, create defense force has promise and peril", Stars and Stripes, September 29, 2010.