Sunday, March 25, 2018
Kabul's Mobile Library. A bus converted into a reading room for children is traveling the streets of the capital city. Read "Climb on Board: Afghan woman brings stories to Kabul's children", Reuters, March 21, 2018.
U.S. Role in Taliban Reconciliation. Lolita C. Baldor of he Associated Press reports that General John Nicholson (RS Cdr) says the U.S. has a role to play in setting the conditions for members of the Taliban to lay down their weapons and move back into Afghanistan's society. A lot of this 'reintegration' is taking place behind the scenes - with smaller groups of insurgents. ISAF and now RS has always attempted to reintegrate and reconcile insurgents as a method to reduce the conflict. The programs thus far have been largely unsuccessful. We shall see if the generals optimism is misplaced in time. Read "US will have role in Afghan reconciliation with Taliban", ABC News, March 22, 2018.
Afghan Interpreter Now in Air Force. An Afghan citizen worked for years as an interpreter at a U.S. military base in Shindand, Afghanistan. Read his story on life as an interpreter, his journey to the United States, citizenship, and now military service - "Face of Defense: Afghanistan Native Now Serves as U.S. Airman", DoD, March 22, 2018.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Every once in a while we take a look at the news reporting by the U.S. Department of Defense on Afghanistan by looking at their DoD News Release site. There were about 173 news articles in the month of November 2014 on this site (listed chronologically). Of the 173, 28 were on ISIL/Iraq, 13 on Ebola, 6 were about Native Americans in the military, 5 on a snow storm in upper New York, and 3 were about Afghanistan. Sort of puts things into perspective about what DoD is concentrating on.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
An Afghan newspaper is in hot water for publishing an article that offended religious leaders and government officials in Afghanistan. Evidently it was a little too liberal in its writing of religious affairs. Read more in "New Afghan government investigates newspaper for blasphemous article", The Washington Post, October 22, 2014.
Monday, October 27, 2014
If you think that the U.S. media has stopped covering Afghanistan then you are spot on. Every day when I compile my Afghan War News Newsletter I scour the news services for news snippets, reports, and documentaries on Afghanistan. Sometimes the news is just not there due to lack of coverage on the part of the media. One of the primary sources for news coverage is the Department of Defense's news service. If you look closely the Department of Defense news service is practically ignoring Afghanistan as a topic. For instance, if you go to the "Latest Stories in DoD News" (see www.defense.gov/news/articles.aspx) you will see news stories listed for the past month. An examination of the news stories from 1 to 26 October 2014 reveals about 164 news stories listed in chronological order. 40 news stories were about the conflict with ISIS, 22 news stories about Ebola, and ONE news story was about Afghanistan. Hmmmmm.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
More news snippets include: some members of Afghanistan's upper house (Meshrano Jirga) are demanding that election commission officials be tried for election fraud and some suspects in the Kabul Bank case have jumped bail and are now out of the country.
Friday, April 6, 2012
|ALP Member graduates from|
3-week training course.
(Photo PO 2CL Jon Rasmussen
CJSOTF-A Media Opns Center)
8 Afghan Local Police Killed. Gunmen killed 8-10 members of the Afghan Local Police (ALP) recently in in Farah Province in western Afghanistan. See "Attack on Afghan government outpost kills 10", CBS, April 5, 2012.
Development in Nimroz Province. Things are quiet in Nimroz province and progress is being made thanks to a handful of U.S. Marines working with their Afghan partners. See "Development in forgotten 'Marine-istan' province", Battle Rattle Military Times, April 5, 2012.
Task Force Breshna Barq. This TF's mission is to bring electric power to areas of Afghanistan. Learn more in "USACE teams with Afghan power utility to solve outages in southern Afghanistan", DVIDS, April 4, 2012.
Reintegration and Reconciliation - Not Going so Good. The results of the dual track of reintegrating low and mid-level Taliban fighters and negotiating with insurgent leaders has been disappointing at best. Read "There's no 'I' in Afghan endgame", by Candace Rondeaux, The AFPAK Channel, Foreign Policy, April 5, 2012.
India Plays a Role in Stabilizing Afghanistan. Much to Pakistan's dismay, India is becoming more involved in the affairs of Afghanistan. Learn more in "India Billions Secure Afghan Mines in Challenge to China Drive", Bloomberg.com, April 4, 2012.
Night Raids. The U.S. has a lot to lose if it gives away too much during its negotiations with Afghan officials on the topic of night raids. See "U.S. and Its Allies Still Wrangling Over Afghan Policies". BusinessWeek, April 5, 2012.
Governance. Stephen Biddle, a frequent commentator on Afghan topics, writes that governance reform is crucial to the future stability of Afghanistan. See "Salvaging Governance Reform in Afghanistan", ReliefWeb, April 2, 2012.
Afghan Dancing Boys. See a report on culture and entertainment in Afghanistan in "Afghanistan's dancing boys", By Ernesto Londono, The Washington Post, April 5, 2012.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
|Afghan National Army Special|
Forces (ANSF) preparing
to conduct weapons training.
(Photo by PO1 David Frech).
Afghan Leaders Ready to Kick U.S. Out? Afghan leaders and elite ponder their relationship with the United States. Karen Leigh explores the views that elite members of Afghan society and government have towards the U.S. and whether they feel Afghanistan should step away from their best ally. Karen also points out the role that corruption plays in all of this. See "Afghanistan Falls Apart", Foreign Policy, April 3, 2012.
Stay the Course. One observer believes that the Taliban operating in southern Afghanistan have been beaten but in the east the Haqqani Network remains a formidable threat. Frederick Kagan says we need to stay in Afghanistan to defeat the Haqqani Network, ensure the Taliban do not re-emerge in southern Afghanistan, and prevent al Qaeda from setting up camp in Afghanistan once again. See "Al Qaeda Allies Remain Strong", The New York Times, April 3, 2012.
APPF. A legal firm explores the pitfalls of relying on the APPF for security in Afghanistan. See "Afghanistan's Ban on Private Security Companies: What are the Risks for Private Investors?", JD Supra, April 3, 2012. SIGAR reports that the APPF is not ready to take over providing security for USAID projects in "Giving Karzai Aid and a 20 Percent Profit", PJ Media, March 30, 2012.
Elections to be Delayed? Some Afghans think that Karzai and his cronies have something up their sleeve to keep the "King of Kabul" in power longer than 2014. Read more in "Leading Afghans cast doubt on election schedule", The Guardian, April 3, 2012.
Resupply of remote outposts by parachute. Supporting remote outposts in Afghanistan with supplies and logistics is expensive. Many are not near airfields and the roads are plagued with IEDs or just not suitable for large vehicles. One quick and low-cost way to resupply the troops is using inexpensive parachutes. Read more in "Cheap, Low, Slow and Accurate", Strategy Page, April 3, 2012.
Hold Karzai Accountable. Support for the Afghan war has diminished in the U.S. Support for U.S. involvement has also diminished in Afghanistan. However, some in Afghan society believe Hamid Karzai is the problem and that the U.S. should hold him more accountable. Read more in "What Afghans Think About Declining U.S. Support", by Michael Rubin in Commentary Magazine, April 3, 2012.
After the German Withdrawal. So what happens in northern Afghanistan after the German withdrawal? Who fills the vacuum? Learn more in "German Military Fears for Afghanistan's Future", Spiegel Online, April 3, 2012.
Funding the Enemy. See "We're Funding Both Sides of the War", Mother Jones (beware!), April 2, 2012.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
|An ANASF instructor teaches tactics|
to a member of the Afghan Local
Police (ALP). (Photo MC1 Leistkow,
CJSOTF-A Media Opns Center)
Talking with the Taliban. Some see no alternative to an Afghanistan that survives 2014 than to negotiate with the Taliban. See "Talks with the Taliban: There is no other way", by Syed Moazzam Hashmi, The AFPAK Channel, April 4, 2012.
Kabul Bank Scandal. Threats of diminished aid to Afghanistan prompts Karzai to finally investigate the corruption associated with the Kabul Bank. Unfortunately nothing will come of this. See "Kabul Bank scandal: Hamid Karzai sets up special tribunal", The Guardian, April 4, 2012.
Are U.S. Goals in Afghanistan Attainable? The Atlantic asks several commentators if the U.S. can achieve its goals in Afghanistan. See "Will the U.S. Win in Afghanistan?", The Atlantic, April 4, 2012.
Nights Raids. How much did we give up? See "U.S. Afghanistan may be close to night raids deal", CNN, April 4, 2012.
Iran Agitating in Afghanistan. See "Iran's Efforts to Stir Afghan Violence Worry U.S.", The New York Times, April 4, 2012.
Construction Continues for Afghanistan's Security Forces. Despite the withdrawal from Afghanistan construction still continues for the Afghan National Security Forces. Read more in "Contracting officials award $137 million for Afghanistan Engineer District - North", DVIDS, April 4, 2012.
Thursday, February 9, 2012
During a Pentagon briefing on February 8, 2012 LTG Scarparrotti of ISAF explained his (DoD and ISAF's view) of the recent news article printed in the Armed Forces Journal by LTC Daniel Davis entitled "Truth, lies and Afghanistan". The article by Davis painted a poor picture of the progress of the war in Afghanistan. Read more on LTG Scarparrotti's response in "Pentagon Counters Dim Assessment of Afghan War", At War, The New York Times, February 8, 2012.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
General Petraeus released a statement saying that the past year yielded progress in Afghanistan but that the coming year will be a tough one. Read more in "Petraeus Sees Progress in Afghanistan, Next Year 'Tough'", Voice of America, January 25, 2011.
Monday, December 27, 2010
A coalition spokesman recently detailed the progress that military forces have made in Afghanistan against the Taliban. During the same time frame The Wall Street Journal reported that security has worsened in many areas of Afghanistan based on reports from the United Nations. Read more in "Coalition Reports Progress in Afghanistan, UN Data Paint Bleaker Picture", Voice of America, December 27, 2010.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
A recent news article in the Seattle PI states that the U.S. troop surge has bought some time in the Afghan War but that victory is still a distant goal. The article says that some short-term tactical victories have occurred on the ground in Helmand and Kandahar Province but other factors still loom large. These factors include the inability of the Afghan government to extend its reach beyond the district or provincial level, the effectiveness of the Afghan National Police (ANP), and the reluctance of Pakistan to disrupt the Taliban strongholds in the frontier provinces of Pakistan adjacent to Afghanistan. Read "US Afghan troop surge buys time but not victory" (December 18, 2010).
Friday, December 3, 2010
"ABC News announced the launch of a special series on the war in Afghanistan, "Afghanistan: Can We Win?" The series starts on Sunday, and will examine the toll the war has taken, whether the US should withdraw from the country and what a "victory" in Afghanistan would look like."Read the rest of the article in "ABC News Launching Special Series on Afghanistan", The Huffington Post, December 2, 2010.