Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movies. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Recently Released Books, Movies, and Videos about Afghanistan

Video - Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan. The United States Institute for Peace (USIP) held a panel discussion with Afghan National Security Advisor Mohammad Hanif Atmar on Thursday, March 22nd. The one-hour long video provides an Afghan perspective to the security challenges in Afghanistan and the path to peace. Very informative.

Video - On Standby: Preparing the U.S. Military in Afghanistan to respond to humanitarian operations, Resolute Support HQs, March 22, 2018. A short 1-min video about USAID's Joint Humanitarian Assistance Course (JHOP) taught to U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan.

Video - Lethal Advantage: Afghan Air Force is ready to strike, Resolute Support, March 22, 2018. This two-minute long video showcases aircraft of the AAF and the munitions personnel that keep the MD-530 and A-29 armed.

Video - Great Teamwork in the First EAP in Northern Afghanistan, Resolute Support, March 24, 2018. TAAC-North provides an Expeditionary Advisory Package (EAP) to a brigade of the 209th ANA Corps located in Faryab province in northern Afghanistan.

Video - Increasing the lethality of the ANDSF from above with support from below, Resolute Support, March 22, 2018. One-minute video highlighting aircraft maintenance workers in AAF.

Video - 205th Cdr Visits A-10 Unit. MG Eman Nazar, the commander of the 205th Corps (based in Kandahar), recognized eight airmen from the 303rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron.

Video - Happy Naw Roz 1397. Resolute Support Commander General John Nicholson wishes the Afghan people a happy Naw Roz. (RS HQs, Mar 20, 2018, 1 min).

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Books, Movies, and Videos on Afghanistan

Book Review - Blindsided by the Taliban. Steve Leonard, a former senior military strategist and now a writer on national security, has reviewed Carmen Gentile's book Blindsided by the  Taliban: a Journalist's Story of War, Trauma, Love, and Loss. This non-fiction book is the story of a war journalist hit in the head with an RPG in Kunar province and of his subsequent recovery from physical and emotional injuries. Read the review in "The Moments That Make a War", Modern War Institute, March 6, 2018.

TAAC-W Visited by SACEUR and US Rep to NATO. A 3-min long video features two high-level U.S. officials that visit Herat. (DVIDS, Feb 24, 2018).

Book - Caravan of Martyrs: Sacrifice and  Suicide Bombing in Afghanistan. David B. Edwards, a Professor of Anthropology at Williams College in Massachusetts, has written a book about Afghanistan (University of California Press, 2017) based on his previous life experience in Afghanistan and his continual specialization in the country. Edwards states that we need to understand the rise of suicide bombing in relation to the cultural beliefs and ritual practises associated with sacrifice. Read more about the book (or order online).

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

New Books, Movies, and Videos about Afghanistan

Conversation on Afghanistan and Counterterrorism. General (ret) Stan McChrystal and former Secretary of State John Kerry discuss Afghanistan and counterterrorism in this 1 1/2 long video of a panel discussion held at Yale University on February 23, 2018. Kerry was instrumental in the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG) and McChrystal was the commander of the International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan (ISAF).

Hyena Road Reviewed. A blogger who reviews films, art, and literature about the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts has his way with Hyena Road - a movie about the Canadian Army building a road into the heart of Taliban country just outside of Kandahar. Read his review of the 2015 Canadian film in "Hyena Road: Bullets-and-Bodies or Hearts-and-Minds", Time Now, February 24, 2018.

NSA Professor's Latest Book Details the Power of Narratives in Afghanistan. Dr. Thomas H. Johnson, Associate Professor in the Naval Post Graduate School (NPS) Department of National Security Affairs, speaks about his latest book - Taliban Narratives. Johnson says ". . . we have lost the war of the narrative" in this 3-min long video published February 6, 2018 by NPS.

Blindsided by The Taliban. A new book is now out by a journalist, Carmen Gentile, who was hit in the head with an RPG fired by Afghan insurgents. He ended up with a severe head injury - losing one eye. Once he recovered from his physical injuries he found that a deep depression had set in. Read his story on how a return to Afghanistan helped him on the road to recovery in Blindsided by the Taliban: A Journalist's Story of War, Truama, Love, and Loss,, March 2018.

The Breadwinner. National Public Radio reviews an animated film produced by Angelina Jolie - a story about an 11-year-old girl and her family who are struggling to survive in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. (NPR, Mar 3,2018).

ANDSF in the Lead. Resolute Support HQs media center has been quite busy the last several months - pumping out on average 2 to 3 short (1-3 minutes long) videos each week about how well things are going in Afghanistan. (Not that things are going well . . . but what are they supposed to say - "Things really are not so good"?). At any rate, one of the newer videos implies that the Afghan security forces are in the lead - so things must be better, right? Ummm. The Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) have been in the lead since 2014 if not earlier. "Afghans in the lead" has been a phrase in the headlines by ISAF and now RS for quite some time. But just in case you forgot . . .

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Videos and Movies about Afghanistan

Preparing for the Future: First Afghans Graduate NATO Course, Resolute Support, February 20, 2018. Members of the ANDSF graduate from the first class of the "Introduction to Operational Planning Course".

The Best Way Forward in Afghanistan, Middle East Institute, February 16, 2018. A 1 1/2 hour long panel discussion with expert participants discuss Afghanistan and its future. Panel members include Vanda Felbab-Brown (Senior Fellow of The Brookings Institution), Christopher Kolenda (Fellow of the New American Security), Ahmad Majidyar (MEI Fellow), Ambassador (Ret) Ronald Neumann (former ambassador to Afghanistan), and Marvin Weinbaum (MEI Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies).

Apache Helicopter Afghanistan Refuel, 59th Aviation Troop Command, February 15, 2018. One-minute long video showing two AH-64 Apache helicopters with Task Force Marauder stop to refuel at FOB SHORAB. The TF provides medevac, air transportation, over-watch support, and FARP operations for TAAC-West.

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Movies and Videos about the Afghan War

Camp Commando, Afghanistan. A Slovakian Special Forces soldier talks about his job training Afghan SOF in Afghanistan. (2-min, Resolute Support, Feb 15, 2018).

RS Cdr Visits TAAC-East, Resolute Support, February 12, 2018. General John Nicholson visited Train, Advise, and Assist Command East where he discussed (in this 1-min long video) the recent attacks by the Taliban in Kabul.

Can Economic Interventions Reduce Violence? New Evidence from Kandahar, New America Foundation, February 16, 2018. A new report from Mercy Corps and the Political  Violence FieldLab at Yale University is discussed. (video is 1 1/2 hours long).

Afghan Special Mission Wing: Wings of the Commandos, NSOCC-A, February 11, 2018. This short (30 sec) video features the 777 Squadron of the Afghan Air Force.

ANASOC's Cobra Strike Kandaks, NSOCC-A, February 10, 2018. This short video (30-secs) provides information of a newly established unit that belongs to the Afghanistan National Army Special Operations Command.

Task Force-3 Geronimo Leads the Charge in Force Protection, USFOR-A, February 1, 2018. Short video describes the job of a U.S. Army unit that provides protection to Bagram Air Field (BAF).

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Movies and Videos about Afghanistan

Afghan Police Women Driving School, Resolute Support,, February 6, 2018. An Afghan policewoman talks about attending a driving course sponsored by Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North.

Afghan Star, Tolo TV, February 9, 2018. Watch some music performed by Afghan singers.

Trauma, The Colony Media, January 18, 2018. The two-minute trailer of a Black Hawk MEDEVAC crew saving lives in eastern Afghanistan.

A Force to Reckon With, U.S. Forces Afghanistan, February 2, 2018. This 2-minute video highlights the mission of the Czech Republic 9th Force Protection Company providing security to the Bagram Ground Defense Area (BGDA).

IP of SMW is Interviewed. An instructor pilot with the Afghan Air Force's Special Mission Wing talks about his job. Posted on DVIDS by Resolute Support HQs, January 8, 2018.

Directorate S: America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Part I, New America, February 9, 2018. Author Steve Coll presents topics related to his new book. (video starts at 13 min mark).

Directorate S: America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan: Part II.

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Movies and Videos about Afghanistan

Operation Afghanistan: The Role of JBER's Spartan Brigade, KTUU 2, February 1, 2018. A 4-minute long video that explains the role of Train, Advise, Assist Command - East (TAAC East) at Tactical Base Gamberi in Laghman province, Afghanistan.

The Special Mission Wing: Afghanistan's Special Aviation Unit, Resolute Support,, January 31, 2018. Listen to some tough words from a member of the Afghan SMW in this 30-sec video.

The Afghan Commandos Trying to Beat Back The Taliban, HBO, posted on Vice News, January 29, 2018. (5 mins).

Croatian Military Medical Advisor, Resolute Support,, January 28, 2018. This one-minute video features a doctor assigned to Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North who advises at the 100-bed Regional Military Hospital at Camp Shaheen, Mazar-e-Sharif.

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Movies and Videos about Afghanistan

Afghan Air Force A-29 Take-off and Landing, DVIDS, December 4, 2017, (3 mins).

Airstrikes on Taliban Narcotics Facilities, CENTCOM, Dec 7, 2017. . . .

Doubling the Afghan Commando Force, Resolute Support HQs, December 6, 2017.

View a list of videos about Afghanistan.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Videos and Movies about Afghanistan

Mentoring at the Afghan Officers Academy, Resolute Support, November 24, 2017. A British Army officer describes his job ANA Officer Academy.

Ghani at Heart of Asia Conference, ARG1880,, December 1, 2017. President Ghani presented remarks at the 7th Conference of the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process.

A Letter to the President. Mujib Mashal reviews a new movie that has been submitted to the Oscars as Afghanistan's candidate for best foreign language film. Read his review: "In Her Film About Afghan Life, the Woman Slaps Back", The New York Times, November 26, 2017.

Commando Force 333: Undefeated, Resolute Support, December 1, 2017. General Nicholson, commander of RS, speaks to members of Commando Force 333 after seeing them demonstrate their capabilities.

Herat Mountain Warfare Graduation, Resolute Support, November 27, 2017. This short video highlights the establishment of a Mountain Warfare Training Center in Herat province with assistance from the Italian Alpini - considered some of the best mountain troops in the world. The advanced training center was developed to help Afghan security forces practice advanced mountain warfare techniques and urban combat skills.

The Breadwinner. An article about a movie now released about a young Afghan girl who disguises herself as a boy to make money for her family. (The Chronicle Herald, November 23, 2017).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Movies and Videos about Afghanistan

First Afghan Black Hawk Pilots soon to Graduate, Resolute Support Hqs, posted on, on November 16, 2017. (2-min video explains the training program for AAF pilots).

NATO Ambassador to Afghanistan on Future Elections. Ambassador Zimmermann, NATO's Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, talks about future elections. He says the international community will assist in conducting credible elections.  (Resolute Support, November 21, 2017).

TAAC-West Camp Zafar security force assistance. Camp Zafar, Afghanistan, November 13, 2017. A short video recording of a meeting between Italian advisors and the ANA at Train, Advise, Assist Command - West in Herat province.

Master Sgt. Broadnax SFAB Testimonial, 50th Public Affairs Detachment, November 2, 2017. The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan. MSG Alfredo Broadnax, signals NCO, describes his experience with the unit.

The Breadwinner. An animated film produced by Angelina Jolie is based on a children's novel by Deborah Ellis. The film tells the story of an 11 year old girl named Parvana who lives in Kabul. (The Mary Sue, Nov 21, 2017).

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Videos and Movies about Afghanistan

"A Game Changer". In this 30-second video posted by Resolute Support on their account General Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support, says 2018 will be different. He states that the ANA Commandos, Special Police Units, and the Afghan Air Force will be taking the fight to the Taliban. Published on November 11, 2017.

"No Greater Love". A documentary directed by an Army chaplain who served in Afghanistan provides a look at the members of a U.S. Army battalion and their experiences during a 2010-2011 deployment to Afghanistan. (Variety, Nov 9, 2017).

NATO JTACs. A French Joint Terminal Air Controller describes how she calls in fire support for ground troops in "She Has the Firepower", NATO, November 6, 2107.

"Special Operations Soldiers". The U.S. Army has posted a video (Nov 6, 2017) about U.S. Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF) on its site. A 1 1/2 minute long video with some great shots of ARSOF conducting training events.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Videos & Movies about Afghanistan

"The Breadwinner". US movie star Angelina Jolie is the producer of "The Breadwinner" - which premiered at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatre in Hollywood on Friday, October 20th. The film is about a young girl in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family. (Variety, Oct 21, 2017).

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Angelina Jolie to Star in Afghanistan War Drama

One of America's favorite movie stars may be featured in a war drama about Afghanistan called Shoot Like a Girl. The film is based on a memoir by Major Mary Jennings Hegar. The film chronicles Hegar's accomplishments on the battlefield where she served three tours of duty as a rescue pilot (earning a Purple Heart on one tour) and also documents her role in helping to end the Pentagon ban on women serving in direct combat jobs in the military. The book - a memoir- is due out in the spring of 2018 with the movie to follow. Read more in a news report by Entertainment Weekly, September 30, 2016.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Paper - The Afghan National Army After ISAF. The Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) has published an 18-page paper (March 2016) about the state of the ANA and the current security situation in Afghanistan.

Worries on Afghanistan. Manoj Joshi writes about the current situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban's recent refusal to participate in peace talks has serious implications for the security and stability of Afghanistan. The Taliban clearly feel that time is on its side - and given its recent gains on the battlefield - that there is little point in engaging in peace negotiations with the Kabul regime. Read more in "Worrying signals from Afghanistan", ORF Online, March 8, 2016.

Developing Emotional Calluses. Nathan K. Finney has wrote a short essay on how military members, as a result of their exposure to years of direct and indirect trauma, develop emotional calluses to the world around them. Read "Consequences of Fear: Callousness", Consequence Magazine, March 6, 2016.

Too Much Mandatory Training. While senior leaders of the military recognized that there are too many mandated training activities it would seem that little is done to lighten the load. Read more in "No Time, Literally, For All Requirements", by Maj. Crispin J. Burke, Army Magazine, March 8, 2016.

Mandatory Training - Part II. There is no doubt that the training requirements for the U.S. Army far exceed the time available to train. Many Soldiers would cut much of the training they receive. For instance, do Soldiers really need to endure a class presentation where they learn that American society attaches privilege to being white, male, and heterosexual. Yep, it happened. Read more in "U.S. Army Lectured Soldiers on Dangers of "White Privilege"Fox News,  March 10, 2016.

Do We Need Better Generals? Michael Vickers, the former under secretary of Defense for Intelligence seems to think so. Read "Vickers: Fastest way to improve strategy is to prepare and pick better generals", Foreign Policy, March 9, 2016. See Mike Vickers testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee entitled Improving the Pentagon's Development of Policy, Strategy and Plans, December 8, 2015.

"Silk Road" and Afghanistan. China is pushing the integration of China economic interests into the Central and South Asian regions. Expanding China's direct interests in Afghanistan would open new avenues for U.S.-China cooperation. Hmmmm. Okay, but I say "Advantage China". Read what Andi Zhou has to say in "Can China's 'One Belt, One Road' Save the US in Afghanistan?", The Diplomat, March 11, 2016.

Australian Documentary. "In their own words and their own extraordinary, never-before-seen helmet-cam battle footage, Australia's fighting men and women lay bare their hearts in an epic series - not just how they waged a war, but why and to what end." If you live in Australia then you can watch "Afghanistan: Inside Australia's War",, March 8, 2016. Unfortunately, unless posted on, the rest of us can't.

Movie Review - A War. Several weeks back I reviewed the newly released Danish movie A War. Since then numerous reviews have come out. The latest that I have read is by David Franke - who manages to input a bit of commentary at the end of his review. Read "The Danes in Afghanistan", The American Conservative, March 11, 2016.

Recalibrating ROE. In past decade the Rules of Engagement at theater level have seen some changes. Some believe the rules are too tight; sacrificing safety of military members in order to avoid civilian casualties and unfortunate situations that will explode in the world's media. Others see the tightening of ROE necessary in a counterinsurgency environment. Not my favorite topic, but if you are a lawyer you might be interested in a 57-page paper on SROE /SRUF by Colonel Gary P. Corn and published in the Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, Vol. 49:1, 2016.

Panel - "What to Do About Afghanistan". The Council on Foreign Relations hosted a panel discussion on the security situation of Afghanistan. Former ISAF commander General (Ret) John Allen, Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James B. Cunningham, and Mary Beth Long - a former Assistant Secretary of Defense and President of Metis Solutions were on the panel. You can watch the one hour long video at the link below.

Hybrid Warriors. The military community (uniformed, academic, think tanks, included) has been struggling with defining the new era of warfare since 2011. The crux of the matter is how to attach a term to the space between peace and war. Lots of terms are out there: unconventional warfare, Gray Zone, Hybrid Warfare, political warfare, etc. One security observer and commentator - Douglas A. Ollivant - has penned a paper that sees past the terminology and concentrates on the participants of this new type of conflict. Read "The Rise of the Hybrid Warriors: From Ukraine to the Middle East", War on the Rocks,  March 9, 2016.

Understanding COIN. Dr. Geraint Hughes, a student of counterinsurgency and formerly of the London Regiment of the Territorial Army, writes that the terminological distinctions between COIN, PSO, 'stabilisation', and 'major combat operations' are potentially becoming increasingly less relevant. Read "Uncertain Coinage", Defense-in-Depth, King's College, London, March 7, 2016.

Sunday, February 28, 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 14, 2016

Movie Review - "A War"

I recently had the opportunity to watch the movie entitled - A War. This Danish film about the troops of Denmark deployed to the volatile Helmand province is realistic, emotional, and riveting. The movie presents the issues combat leaders face when charged with protecting the Afghan population, defeating the insurgents, and ensuring that their troops return safe from the battlefield. In addition, the movie shows the problems experienced by the parent left at the home front - caring for children missing their Dad, worries about their spouse in the war zone, and problems of adapting to life without the second parent in the home. The film explores the morality of war as well; providing us insight as about split-second decisions that combat leaders make in the heat of combat that have ramifications down the road. Read my review of this movie at the link below.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Afghan War News Snippets

CRS Report on Afghanistan. Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) writes a periodic report on the situation in Afghanistan entitled Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy,  dated December 22, 2015. 80 pages.

Danish War Film. A fictional war film starring Danish actors and military personnel fighting in Afghanistan will soon (hopefully) be hitting the theaters. Read more in "This is the fictional war film which features real life soldiers", BBC Newsbeat, January 4, 2016.

The Wakhan Front - Move Trailer. A new move about Afghanistan is out. Watch the trailer on

Embassy Employees & Dari. A short video posted on by the U.S. Embassy Kabul shows some of its staff demonstrating their language skills. (2 mins).

Internal Taliban Squabbling. It appears that Mullah Mansoor is cleaning house of the Taliban senior leadership. Two senior members (Razzaq and Rehmani) were expelled from the leadership council for refusing to accept Mansoor as the organizations leader. (Pajhwok Afghan News, Jan 7, 2016).

MSF Worker Chats on Helmand Province. An Australian pediatric nurse talks about his experience working in Helmand province from Dec 2014 to Sep 2015 for Doctors Without Borders. Seems we didn't bomb his hospital while he was there - so that's a good thing! Read "Afghanistan: Nine Months Fighting Malnutrition in Helmand Province", Medecins Sans Frontiers, January 7, 2016.

Upcoming Rotational Deployments to Afghanistan. The Department of the Army announced that 2nd BCT, 101st Abn Div will deploy in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Elements of the 10th Mountain will deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel. See "DA Announces Rotational Deployments",, January 8, 2016.

Afghan Astronomy in a War Zone. Looking through a telescope in the dead of night in a field can attract a lot of attention. Especially if your telescope looks a lot like a rocket launcher. Read more in "Amateur Afghan Astronomy is Risky Business", Newsweek, January 2016.

More HMMWVs and MSF Vehicles. The Afghan armed forces will be receiving over 100 HMMWVs (M1151 Enhanced Armament Carrier) and 55 Mobile Strike Force vehicles over the next several weeks. Now if we can only get the ANDSF to repair and maintain the vehicles they have we would be accomplishing something. (Khaama Press, Jan 7, 2016).

Warriors, Spartans, and Vikings. One commentator looks at the rise in popularity the fighters from Greece, Rome, and the Norse lands in "Our odd 'Valhalla' obsession", Carrying the Gun, January 7, 2016. Being of Swedish descent on both sides of my family I don't find it odd at all. Hmmm . . .

Russia Playing both Sides? Russia is reportedly going to provide 10,000 AKs to the Afghan military (along with ammo) and is currently in talks to provide attack helicopters to the Afghan Air Force. At the same time they are indicating that (through spokes-persons) that they may exchange intel with the Taliban about the presence of ISIS in Afghanistan. Hmmmm. Read more in "Russia Plays Both Sides in the Afghan Conflict", Gandhara Blog, January 5, 2016.

Sunday, December 13, 2015


Paper on NTM-A. Nick Barley has penned an informative history about the training of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). He traces the training programs implemented by the U.S. and NATO partners in "The NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan: A Game-Changer; Lest We Forget", Small Arms Journal, December 5, 2015.

"The Breadwinner". An Afghan film is receiving support from the American actress Angelina Jolie. (Khaama Press, Dec 6, 2015).

Moscow: From Kabul to Damascus. Ryan Evans reviews the history of the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and puts the Russian intervention in Syria today in perspective. He says not to worry but keep a careful eye on the big bad bear. See his (very long) analysis in "Moscow's Clients From Kabul to Damascus: Strength and Strategy in International Politics", War on the Rocks, December 9, 2015.

Countering Violent Extremism (CVE). The new catch-word for those fighting terrorism is CVE. Some are discrediting it as a flawed concept while others say that it gets to the root causes of terrorism. The term is also a factor in the political arena as well. Shannon N. Green, a senior fellow and director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. provides her perspective on CVE in Preventing Violent Extremism: Promise and Pitfalls, CSIS, December 2, 2015.

Divisions Within the Taliban? Recent reports of shooting of Taliban leader reveals serious divisions within the Taliban. See "The Implications of the Taliban Shootout", The Diplomat, December 9, 2015.

Afghan Health Gains? Questionable. Rod Nordland of the NYT writes that the reported gains in health care for women in Afghanistan are under scrutiny. Read "Reported Gains in Afghan Maternal Health Are Found to Be Implausible", The New York Times, December 4, 2015.

PTSD and War Contractors. "Despite increased rates of post-traumatic stress among private contractors, little has been discussed about prevention and treatment. More and more contractors entering into combat environments are experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress when they return home". See "Why We Should Be Talking About Military Contractors With PTSD", Task & Purpose, December 9, 2015.

Time to Leave Afghanistan? Tom Mockaitis, an international security analyst and military historian, thinks the time has arrived to adjust our strategy and objectives. (The Huffington Post, December 26, 2015).

Dismal Mood in Kabul. A writer compares his visit to Kabul in 2008 with a more recent visit. The situation for many of the city residents is not hopeful. Almost everyone knows someone who has fled to Europe. Read more in "Desperation Rules Afghanistan", by Sanjay Kumar, The Diplomat, December 10, 2015.

Looking at Afghanistan Conundrum. Dr. Manoj Kuma Mishra, the program coordinator of the School of International Studies at Ravenshaw University in India provides his thoughts on Afghanistan in "Evolving a Coordinated Response to the Afghan Conundrum", Eurasia Review, December 10, 2015.

SSR, Gender Equality, and Local Ownership. ". . . it is increasingly recognized that mainstreaming gender issues and promoting gender equality in SSR programming is essential to success and is a key factor in developing meaningful local ownership." Read more about gender issues and Security Sector Reform (SSR) in "Security Sector Reform and the Paradoxical Tension between Local Ownership and Gender Equality", Security Sector Reform Resource Centre, December 2015.

Research on Women and Terrorism. Laura Sjoberg has penned an essay entitled The Women of Daesh: Thinking about a Decade of Research on Women, Gender, and Terrorism, E-International Relations, December 6, 2015.

General Order No. 1. Time to Update this asinine regulation. Finally a dose of common sense from an observer! While all our allies in Afghanistan can have a brew or two daily members of the American military can only look on with envy. Read "Reevaluating General Order 1X"Small Wars Journal, December 5, 2015.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Movie - "Rock the Kasbah"

Hollywood's latest attempt to portray Afghanistan in the movies is called "Rock the Kasbah". A comedy starring Bill Murray, Bruce Willis, Zooey Deschanel, Leem Lubany, Danny McBride, and Scott Caan. The plot involves a washed up music manager who takes his last act to Afghanistan, falls into one bad situation after another, and then discovers an Afghan singing wonder. It will be released in October 2015. Hopefully the movie will be as funny as the trailer (see link below).

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Film Reviews - "Good Kill"

Reviews of "Good Kill". A newly released movie called "Good Kill" stars Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot who is troubled by his work. He (in the film) works at the Combined Joint Predator Task Force located at an airbase 50 miles north of Las Vegas but targets people thousands of miles away. Read "Armchair killers: life as a drone pilot"The Telegraph, April 11, 2015; "Good Kill: Tackling the ethics of drone warfare on film"BBC News, April 10, 2015; and "Good Kill review: more of a conversation piece than a fully formed film"The Irish Times, April 10, 2015. You can watch the movie trailer on at the following link.