Showing posts with label news-snippets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news-snippets. Show all posts

Sunday, March 11, 2018

News Snippets

More Signal Resources Needed for Increase in Troops. The South Asia Strategy outlined by the Department of Defense over the past several months means more troops, vehicles, equipment, and logistics is required in Afghanistan. Included in this variety of material is signal equipment for the new aviation units (ISR, A-10s, etc.) and ground units (like the 1st SFAB). Read how the 355th Signal Command (T) Provisional is getting that equipment into Afghanistan. "U.S. Army Signaleers Vital to New Strategy in Afghanistan", DVIDS, March 6, 2018.

Cooperation between China and US is Needed. A recent 12-page report by David Rank, a 27 year veteran of the U.S. Department of State contends that meaningful cooperation between the U.S. and China is urgently needed to repair the frayed regional consensus on Afghanistan and set the country on a path to reconciliation and stability. (United States Institute for Peace, March 6, 2018).

Report - Insecurity in Helmand Province. According to one academic there are three important drivers of the conflict in Helmand - the influence of warlords, the factor of agricultural land rights, and the drug trade. He also offers some policy recommendations in his 16-page paper entitled Local Drivers of War in Afghanistan's Helmand Province. (By Qayoom Suroush, OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Policy Brief #47, March 2018).

Assessment of Norway's Engagement in Afghanistan. In 2014 the government of Norway completed an intensive study on Norway's commitment to the country of Afghanistan during the years 2001 to 2014. The study highlights three areas: the PRT in Faryab province, the combined effort of the Norwegian special forces and intelligence service, and Norwegian peace diplomacy. Read "A Good Ally: Norway in Afghanistan 2001-2014", Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2014, 238 pages.

Camp Buehring - Theater Gateway. Are you in the U.S. military and heading to Afghanistan soon? Odds are your unit will pass through Kuwait. Camp Buehring exists to streamline the deployment of units into Afghanistan as well as into other areas in the CENTCOM AOR. Read more in "Theater Gateway Now Open at Camp Buehring", DVIDS, March 8, 2018.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

News Snippets about Afghanistan

The Panhandle of Afghanistan. The origins of the Wakhan Corridor located in the remote province of Badakhshan can be traced to "The Great Game". Read "How Afghanistan got its bizarre panhandle", We Are The Mighty, February 19, 2018.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Afghan War News Snippets

ISKP and Wood Smuggling.
The Islamic State Khorasan Province finances (in part) its operations in eastern Afghanistan by smuggling wood into Pakistan. (VOA, Feb 18, 2018).

The Panhandle of Afghanistan. The origins of the Wakhan Corridor located in the remote province of Badakhshan can be traced to "The Great Game". Read "How Afghanistan got its bizarre panhandle", We Are The Mighty, February 19, 2018.

The Ancient Afghan Silk Road. A researcher at the University of Chicago has uncovered 100 previously unrecorded caravanserais - giant, protected stopover points for merchants traveling by camel along the Silk Road. Many of the newly discovered sites were in use from the 1500s to about 1700. They are rectangular structures about the size of a football field with walls enclosing a courtyard merchants and camels could rest. Read "Following the Afghan Silk Road with satellites", Share, February 20, 2018.

Afghan Nomads Suffering. Pakistan has closed the border crossings traditionally used by Kuchi nomads each year. During the winter months they cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan to reach their historic grazing fields. Now they are trapped and facing starvation and economic ruin. Read more in "Afghan nomads trapped, hungry as Pakistan blocks access to grazing land", Reuters, February 19, 2018.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Afghan War News Snippets

Book Excerpt - Directorate S. An excerpt of Steven Coll's new book is provided by Barnes and Noble.

Annual UNAMA Report on Civilian Casualties. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan has released its annual on "The Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict", February 2018.

IO - The Taliban are Eating Our Lunch. Arnel David, a U.S. Army Civil Affairs officer with Afghan deployment time, writes about how the U.S. (and Resolute Support) needs to step up their game in the information operations environment. Read "Winning the War of Perceptions in Afghanistan & Beyond", Real Clear Defense, February 16, 2018.

Taliban's 'Peace Letter'. The Taliban have disseminated a letter to the "American people" urging them to press their government to engage in peace talks with the Taliban. The 3,000-word letter was released on Feb 14th. (Gandhara, Feb 14, 2018).

Book Review. Niamatullah Ibrahimi's new book "The Hazaras and the Afghan State" is reviewed by John Waterbury. (Foreign Affairs, March/April 2018).

Return of the Fatemiyoun Fighters. For the past few years Iran has sent (either through incentives or coercion) Afghans to fight in the Syrian conflict. The Afghans were part of the Fatemiyoun brigade. Now that the conflict with ISIS has subsided the Afghans are returning to Iran or, in some cases, Afghanistan. Ahmad Shuja Jamal, a Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University, explores the future of the Fatemiyoun in "Mission Accomplished? What's next for Iran's Afghan Fighters in Syria?", War on the Rocks, February 13, 2018.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Afghan News Snippets

Paper - Conflict between Settlers and Nomads in Afghanistan. James A. Michener's book Caravans: A Novel of Afghanistan (published in 1963) captured the imagination of a generation of Americans who wanted to know much more about this remote country in the mountains of Central / South Asia. The merchants and nomads who traveled along Afghanistan's roads have diminished in numbers. Trucks have replaced camels and a modern society is slowly eroding the nomadic life of Afghanistan. The nomadic people of Afghanistan still exist but in state of conflict with the ever-growing settled areas. Read a detailed paper by Dr. Antonio Giustozzi entitled Typologies of Nomad-Settler Conflict in Afghanistan, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU), January 2018 (40 pages).

Paper - ISIS and South Asia. Kabir Taneja has wrote a 12-page paper entitled The Fall of ISIS and its Implications for South Asia, January 2018. IT is posted on the web site of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

U.S. Senators Question War Effort. In a hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee State Department and Defense officials attempted to explain the administrations goals in Afghanistan. Many of the committee members expressed concern that the new strategy will not achieve its goal of forcing the Taliban into peace talks. They noted that the Taliban control more Afghan territory now than they have since the October 2001 U.S. invasion. Read "U.S. senators concerned Trump's Afghanistan strategy will not succeed", Reuters, February 6, 2018.

$45B Pricetag / Year for War. The Afghan conflict is costing the United States about $45 billion a year and that cost is likely to continue for years to come. (Military Times, Feb 6, 2018).

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Afghan News Snippets

ICRC 'Facts and Figures Report - 2017'.
 The International Committee of the Red Cross has released a four-page report of its activities in Afghanistan for the past year.

Afghanistan in Presidential Speeches Before Congress. Krishnadev  Calamur, a foreign policy writer, examines how presidential speeches before Congress (SOTU) have described the situation in Afghanistan. "16 Years of Presidents Talking About the War in  Afghanistan", The Atlantic, January 30, 2018.

OCHA Weekly Report 22-29 Jan 2018. The Weekly Humanitarian Field Report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for Afghanistan is now online.

Afghan Fatemiyoun Division - Fighting in Syria. Read about the Shia foreign fighters fighting on behalf of Iran in Syria. Since August 2013 The Afghan Fatemiyoun Division has suffered the second-largest number of losses in Syria among Tehran's Shia foreign legions. Tehran's Shia Foreign Legions, by Ali Alfoneh, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 30, 2018.

Afghan Spy Chief Visits Pakistan. Oh . . . to be a fly on the wall. The Afghan intelligence chief and Interior Minister paid a visit to Islamabad to discuss 'security concerns'. (Radio Free Europe, Jan 31, 2018).

Chinese Military Base in Afghanistan? There have been several new reports over the past few months about the  Chinese establishing a military base in the remote province of Badakhshan. (,  Feb 3, 2018).

Uncertainty of Afghan Refugees. Jelena Bjelica and Ali Mohammad Sabawoon of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) write about Afghans in Pakistan in "Still Caught in Regional Tensions? The uncertain destiny of Afghan refugees in Pakistan", AAN, January 31, 2018.

UNAMA Works with Afghan Media. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan helps Afghan media organizations to build support for Afghan-led peace and reconciliation. (UNAMA, Feb 1, 2018).

ICRC - Leaving 2017 and Looking at 2018. The International Committee of the Red Cross examines 2017 and looks forward to 2018. Read Afghanistan: A difficult year in 2017, a new footprint on 2018, February 1, 2018.

Book Review - Directorate S. Steve Coll has another book out about Pakistan (Afghanistan) about the CIA and it's work in South Asia. (Evening Standard, Feb 1, 2018).

"Aid Worker Security Database". The AWSD records major incidents of violence against aid workers from 1997 to present.

Oxfam Report. A new report provides information on the situation awaiting Afghan returnees within Afghanistan. Returning to Fragility: Exploring the link between conflict and returnees in Afghanistan, January 31, 2018.

OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin. The December 2017 Humanitarian Bulletin is now available.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Afghan News Snippets

OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin.
 The December 2017 Humanitarian Bulletin is now available.

UN SC and Gridlock. The United Nations Security Council visited Kabul recently and managed to screw up traffic in Kabul (security concerns, you know). Read more about the UN SC's 'firsthand look' at the security situation in Afghanistan. (Gandhara, Jan 15, 2018).

River Problems in Northern Afghanistan. Countries upstream of the Amu River intervene to stabilize the river banks; but this seems to pose problems to Afghan landowners along the banks of the river in northern Afghanistan. "Afghan Land Endangered by Amu River", IWPR, January 23, 2018.

CIA's Khost Protection Force. The KPT is an Afghan militia backed by the CIA. It provide some security to the province yet is a source of problems for many local residents. (Think Progress, Dec 13, 2017).

U.S. Security Assistance to Pakistan - "Not so much". Read a background briefing on security assistance to a trouble-some neighbor of Afghanistan. (U.S. State Department, Jan 4, 2018).

Report on USAID in Afghanistan. For 16 years the U.S. Agency for International Development sought to deliver effective development results in a war zone. Read up on this topic in "USAID in Afghanistan: Challenges and Successes", United States Institute for Peace (USIP), December 21, 2017.

SIGAR and TFBSO - What's the Deal? The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has a reputation for calling out the U.S. military and USAID on failed projects in Afghanistan - of which there are hundreds. One SIGAR report heavily criticizes the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations (TFBSO). One accusation is that it spent $43 million on a gas station. But Jeff Goodson, a career Foreign Service Officer, throws the red BS flag. Read his article posted in The Hill  on January 17, 2018.

German Withdrawal "Too Soon". German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said that the withdrawal of international troops from Afghanistan in recent years had been too rapid. (Reuters, Dec 18, 2017).

IDP Protection in Afghanistan. A new study reveals major gaps in access to key humanitarian services for internally displaced persons in Afghanistan. "Escaping War: Where to next? The Challenges of IDP Protection in Afghanistan", Norwegian Refugee Council, January 24, 2018.

Corruption and the Salang Pass. Much of the commerce between Kabul and the Central Asian States run along a road that traverses the Salang Pass. The road is in poor shape and corruption has much to do with the inability to repair the road. Read more in "Corruption at 13,000 feet: Afghanistan struggles to maintain a treacherous mountain trade route", The Washington Post, January 22, 2018.

Glossary of Humanitarian Security Terms. The Humanitarian Security Forum has published an online reference point for terminology in conflict zones.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Gender-Based Violence. In Afghanistan gender-based violence is pervasive but activists see a change in the wind. Read more by Tadamichi Yamamoto - "In Afghanistan, a Struggle to Leave No Woman or Child Behind", The Diplomat, December 4, 2017.

Glossary of Humanitarian Security Terms. The Humanitarian Security Forum has published an online reference point for terminology in conflict zones.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets - Dec 3, 2017

MUDH and Corruption. The Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MUDH) appears to be making some gains in decreasing corruption within the ministry at the national and provincial level. Aziz Amin Ahmadzai, a Chevening Scholar, writes on this topic in "Targeting Systematic Corruption through Urban Planning and Administrative Reform: Minister Naderi's Story", Eurasia Review, November 25, 2017.

Humanitarian Needs Summary for Afghanistan. Humanitarian Response - a specialized digital service of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has provided a report on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. Read "Humanitarian Needs Summary", December 1, 2017.

SIGAR Report - Unused NII at Border Crossings. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has published a report (Nov 2017) about millions of dollars of unused non-intrusive inspection equipment sitting at Afghan border crossings.

Solar Power Plant to be Built. Afghanistan's first 20-megawatt solar power plant will be built in Kabul with funds provided by the Asian Development Bank. See "Afghan Solar Plant Wins Development Bank Backing", Bloomberg News, November 26, 2017.

Banking in Afghanistan. An interesting article (very short) on banking in Afghanistan. Bank pays no interest on deposits, lends very little, but is a popular way to safeguard money. Read "How to survive as a bank in Afghanistan", The Economist, November 23, 2017.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Afghan News Snippets

The UK Experience in the Afghan Counter Narcotics Mission. In a very informative article, David Mansfield - a Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics, provides a history of the United Kingdom's involvement in the counter narcotics campaign in Afghanistan. Read "The Rise of Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan: When will too much be enough?", Hurst Publishers, November 15, 2017.

ICC, War Crimes, U.S. Military, and CIA. The International Criminal Court is going ahead with plans to launch a full investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan that may involve U.S. military members and operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency. One aspect of the investigation will involve the 'secret detention centers in Afghanistan'. The US is not a member of the ICC but U.S. citizens can still be charged with crimes by the court. A big problem with the investigation is that the reporting on the very small number of war crimes that might have been done by U.S. personnel will likely overshadow the huge and significant war crimes conducted by the Taliban over the past several years.  (Deusche Welle, Nov 20, 2017).

Vacationing in Afghanistan Soon? Are you considering a holiday trip to South Asia? The folks at NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) have a superb retreat in the countryside just outside of Kabul. Read "Vacation Rental: Private Room in Cozy Camp, Experience Authentic Afghanistan", Task and Purpose, November 21, 2017.

Bootlegging Alcohol. The European Union is investigating reports that wine and spirits were smuggled out of the EU compound and sold on Kabul's black market. Hmmmm. (Tolo News, Nov 20, 2017).

"The Lost Troop". The author of a short story about a U.S. unit in Afghanistan is interviewed by The New Yorker, November 20, 2017.

Peace Conference in Bamyan. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) organized an event that brought religious leaders together in support of efforts to build a culture of tolerance and non-violence in Afghanistan. (Eurasia Review, Nov 21, 2017).

Afghan Economy Growing. The World Bank says that Afghanistan's economy will likely see a 2.6 percent growth this year. (Reuters, Nov 21, 2017).

Sunday, November 19, 2017

News Snippets on Afghanistan

Book Review. Melissa Kerr Chiovenda reviews Losing and Winning in Afghanistan: An Obituary for the Intervention Noah Coburn. The author of the book is an anthropologist who spent some time in Afghanistan. The book provides key insights into how the western world's foray into Afghanistan took place - from the standpoint of various actors. The key informants used by the author include a former U.S. ambassador, a former Navy SEAL, an development worker, and an Afghan businessman. Read Melissa Chiovenda's take on the book in "Book Review: Losing and Winning In Afghanistan", Gandhara RFE, November 13, 2017.

Drone Warfare. An article tells the story about the men and women behind the remote-controlled fighting that employs Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs). Here is an article that details the costs to the operators and the conditions that increase the risks to their well-being. The two authors of the article, the widow of a Special Forces Soldier and a former AC-130U pilot, offer important recommendations for how to make drone warfare more suitable for the operators. Read "Avengers in Wrath: Moral Agency and Trauma Prevention for Remote Warriors"Lawfare Blog, November 12, 2017.

Trade and Afghanistan's Growth. The World Bank has published a report entitled Trade as a Vehicle for Growth in Afghanistan: Challenges and Opportunities, November 16, 2017. This 94-page report presents four key findings and provides three recommendations.

Gas Turbines to Increase Afghanistan's Power Supply. The Siemens SGT-A45 aeroderivative gas turbine is designed to be set up in two weeks and can supply immediate power to the electrical grid. The turbine is ideal for developing regions or in areas where power is needed after a natural disaster. Siemens has signed a MOU with the Afghan government to provide the turbines for a three-phase energy project in Afghanistan. (Power Engineering, Nov 14, 2017).

SIGAR Report on Waste in Afghanistan. The DoD and State Department - along with the U.S. Agency for International Development - have failed to develop comprehensive sustainment plans for expensive development projects. (Stars and Stripes, Nov 15, 2017).

A Restrained SIGAR? A provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could potentially put some restraints on the reporting activities of SIGAR. See "Defense bill leashes Afghanistan watchdog" Politico,  November 17, 2017.

AWOL Afghan Soldiers. More Afghan troops have disappeared in the United States while attending training from the Joint Base San Antonio. (My San Antonio, Nov 18, 2017).

Agricultural Sector - Good News, Bad News. The good news is that crop cultivation for a significant part of the agricultural sector is at a record high. The bad news is that more opium was grown in Afghanistan in 2017 than in any year since the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) began monitoring in 1994. (Afghanistan Analysts Network, Nov 15, 2017). See more about the UN report in a story by the UN News Centre (Nov 15, 2017).

Good News Report on Corruption. Is it possible? Some good news about the reduction of corruption in Afghanistan? According to an article posted on the website of the World Bank there appears to be some progress in reducing the stealing of money by Afghan elites. Although the country remains among the top 10 most corrupt countries in the world and reforms are fleeting some steps in the right direction are taking place. Read more in "Afghanistan's Public Procurement Racks Up Victories Against Corruption", The World Bank, October 31, 2017.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Afghans Wary of Trump Plan. While the Afghan elite in Kabul applauded the roll-out of Trump's strategy for Afghanistan and his tough stance on Pakistan - others are not so keen on Trump's plan. Read "Afghans Wary of Trump's Pledge to Challenge Terrorists & Islamabad", The Cipher Brief, November 5, 2017.

Farsi or Dari? There is a language dispute going on in Afghanistan. An interesting article on how the BBC changed the name on its website from Farsi to Dari and how it ignited a political storm. (Radio Free Europe, November 7, 2016.

Regional Security Conference. At a conference held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan the main topic was Afghanistan. The conference ended up with speeches and discussions about who is the main cause for instability in Afghanistan with fingers pointed in almost every direction. Read Catherine Putz's description of the event in "At the Samarkand Conference, Bilateral Bad Blood and Mistrust Loom Large", The Diplomat, November 11, 2017.

Friendly Fire Incident of June 2014. A few years back five U.S. Soldiers and an Afghan soldier were killed when a B-1 bomber dropped ordnance on their position. An Air Force investigation blamed the Special Forces team on the ground but members of the SF community say that the B-1 was the wrong aircraft for the close air support mission. Read more in "The Afghan War's Deadliest Friendly Fire Incident for U.S. Soldiers", CBS News, November 9, 2017.

Rochester, NY Army NG Aviation Unit Completes Deployment. Members of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation has returned from an 8 month long deployment to Afghanistan. The aviators flew the CH-47 transport helicopter - a workhorse for the Afghan conflict. (DVIDS, Nov 8, 2017).

Climate Change and Afghanistan. The agriculture sector in Afghanistan is deeply affected by weather and climate. Afghan farmers, for the most part, do not have a good understanding of how climate change is affecting their livelihood. Read "For Afghan farmers, climate change is 'god's will'", Deutsche Welle, November 11, 2017.

Afghanistan NOT Banning WhatsApp and Telegram. The popular messaging services will not be banned by the Afghan government. The two mobile apps are popular among smartphone users in Afghanistan. Of course, the Taliban also use the service as well. Some say a temporary ban was implemented because the Taliban militants use the encryption service with the apps. (Radio Free Europe, Nov 7, 2017).

Privatizing the Afghan War. Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, believes that eventually the Trump administration will move to privatized elements of the Afghanistan war. (Washington Examiner, Nov 6, 2017).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Afghan War Blog News Snippets

Refined Opium and the Taliban. The insurgents revenue stream has become more robust as the Taliban have developed the capability to refine opium into morphine and heroin. Read an article by Mujib Mashal entitled "Afghan Taliban Awash in Heroin Cash, a Troubling Turn for War", The New York Times, October 29, 2017.

WhatsApp and Telegram Banned? There are some reports that the government of Afghanistan has banned popular messaging applications. The move may have been a government attempt to prevent terrorists and insurgents from using the messaging service with its encrypted application. (BBC, Nov 3, 2017).

Human Terrain System - How to Preserve Capability.  Dr. Brian R. Price, an Associate Professor of History in the Department of History and International Studies at Hawaii Pacific University, advocates the sustaining of a 'human terrain' capability within the DoD. He offers possible avenues for this to include an organic team within BCTs, posting in embassies, or within SOF organizational structure. The Human Terrain System played an important role within Brigade Combat Team (BCT) staffs in the later years of the Afghan conflict. Read more in "Human Terrain at the Crossroads", Joint Force Quarterly 87, National Defense University Press, October 2017.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Books, Reports, and Pubs

SIGAR Report. Phil Hegseth writes about a recent report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction on the number of Afghan trainees that go AWOL in the United States during training events and while attending military courses and schools. (FDD's Long War Journal, Oct 23, 2017).

Book on Extortion 17. A new book is out about a SOF mission in Afghanistan that cost 30 American lives. Extortion 17 was the call sign of a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter that was infiltrating U.S. Navy SEALs on a mission. A small element of Taliban fired a rocket propelled grenade at the chopper and hit the rear tail rotor causing a catastrophic crash. Read a review of the book in "New Book Tells Story of Fallen Navy SEALs from Shreveport", Shreveport News, October 26, 2017.


The U.S. and China's BRI. The 'Belt and Road Initiative' of China will have a great impact on the economy and development of Central Asia. To an extent, this will have implications for Afghanistan as well. Read more in an article by Luke Coffey of the Foreign Policy Center at the Heritage Foundation in the Huffington Post, October 23, 2017.

AAN Examines Ministry of Education . . .  and Corruption Within. The Monitoring and Evaluation Committee (MEC) recently released its 'vulnerability to corruption' assessment of the Ministry of Education. The Afghanistan Analyst Network summarizes the reports findings and recomendations and concludes that this is the first eye-opening report on corruption produced by an Afghan institution. (AAN, 29 Oct 2017).

Improving Healthcare in Afghanistan. The World Bank has published a story on a program for improving access to medical treatment. See "Partnering to Improve Healthcare in Afghanistan"The World Bank, October 23, 2017.

Red Cross Scaling Back. The International Committee of the Red Cross is closing down some of its clinics and reducing staff in Afghanistan due to security concerns. "Red Cross To Scale Back in Afghanistan"NPR, October 26, 2017.


Bowe Bergdahl - The Deserter. Bergdahl has decided to plead guilty to desertion. While he faces up to life in prison it is doubtful he will spend that much time behind bars. Sentencing to come. Read "Why the Army Can't Forgive Bowe Bergdahl and May Lock Him Up for Life"Daily Beast, October 22, 2017.

Erik Prince - and Afghanistan. Prince, the founder of Blackwater, is still giving voice to his belief that 2,000 Green Berets and 6,000 contractors could win the war in Afghanistan. See "A Private Military", The Ottawa Herald, October 26, 2017.

U.S - Pakistan Relations. The ties between the US and Pakistan have frayed over the past several years and they are unlikely to improve during the Trump administration. Pakistan's support of the Taliban insurgents that kill members of the Afghan security forces (as well as U.S. and NATO troops) have weakened the relationship. A recent news report provides a timeline of the ups and downs of the relations between the two countries. Read "Factbox: U.S.-Pakistan ties falter as Afghanistan war drags on", Reuters, October 23, 2017.

Family Held Hostage. More Details on the Released Family Held Hostage in Pakistan are recounted in an article in The Guardian, October 24, 2017.

Drones Fighting Drones. Over the past few years there have been reports of the Taliban using drones for various purposes. Conducting battlefield reconnaissance, filming there attacks, and more. ISIS has rapidly put small, commercially available drones into use in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has responded to the threat. Read how the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO) has picked up the anti-drone mission in an article by Caroline Houck - "The Pentagon's IED-Hunters Have a New Target: Drones", Defense One, October 26, 2017.

Afghan Youth in Syria. Iran has recruited thousands of Afghan youths to fight on its behalf in Syria. In an attempt to escape poverty and lack of jobs the Afghan Shiites have taken on jobs offered by Iran to join the Tehran-backed Fatemiyoun division fighters in Syria. The primary motivation is not religion - it is money and the promise of legal residency in Shiite-dominated Iran. Read "Just about money: Iran recruits Afghans for Syrian Fight", by Anne Chaon, Yahoo! News, October 24, 2017.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

U.S. / Canadian Family Freed. A family held captive in Pakistan for five years by the Haqqani Network were released and now is back in Canada. But there is some difference of opinion between Pakistani and U.S. officials on the circumstances of the captivity. (Reuters, Oct 19, 2017).

Personnel Rotation Policies for Afghanistan. A former enlisted Soldier writes on how he saw three units rotate through Afghanistan during his 12-month deployment. (Foreign Policy, Oct 20, 2017).

Book Review: "Our Latest Longest War". A book by Aaron O'Connell is reviewed. The book implies that the American and NATO efforts were doomed to failure due to massive cultural ignorance in Western forces. This " . . . is not a book for optimists." Sixteen years of "we are on the verge of winning . . ." are . . . . well, . . . read the book I guess. "Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan", Small Wars Journal,  October 19, 2017.

Training for Senior Military Advisors. The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) has seen a host of advisors come and go over the past decade and half. Some of these advisors have been effective while others have been found wanting. The effectiveness of an advisor at the MoD or MoI is determined by a host of factors - personality, education, experience, age, background, selection for the position, and advisor training. The Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute has published a tract that looks into the senior leader advisor attributes necessary to be successful. Read "Training for Senior Leaders Going into an Advisory Role - Is there a Training and Education Gap?"Peace Stability Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2, October 2017, pages 22-25.

Korengal Valley and Hip Straps. A Navy medic assigned to a scout sniper platoon wondered why no one used hip straps on their heavy packs. He later would explore the use of hip straps in the science world. See "The Surprising Science of Backpacking", Outside Online, October 16, 2017.

Bowe Bergdahl - The Deserter. Bergdahl has decided to plead guilty to desertion. While he faces up to life in prison it is doubtful he will spend that much time behind bars. Sentencing to come.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Training for Senior Military Advisors. The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) and Ministry of Interior (MoI) has seen a host of advisors come and go over the past decade and half. Some of these advisors have been effective while others have been found wanting. The effectiveness of an advisor at the MoD or MoI is determined by a host of factors - personality, education, experience, age, background, selection for the position, and advisor training. The Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute has published a tract that looks into the senior leader advisor attributes necessary to be successful. Read "Training for Senior Leaders Going into an Advisory Role - Is there a Training and Education Gap?", Peace Stability Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2, October 2017, pages 22-25.

40 Years of Photography. See some photos of Afghanistan by Steve McCurry in "See the Beauty and Brutality of Life in Afghanistan",, October 10, 2017.

Visual Anthology of War. More than a decade and a half of war in Afghanistan is reflected in a series of photographs. See "The War in Afghanistan: A Visual Anthology", Stratfor, October 8, 2017.

New Deputy Cdr for RS. Lieutenant General Richard Cripwell is the designated Deputy Commander of the NATO Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.

ICRC Cutting Back Opns. The International Committee of the Red Cross has cited security concerns as the reason to cut back on its personnel and activities in Afghanistan. (VOA, Oct 9, 2017).

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

Book Review - Our Latest Longest War. A collection of authors write on a range of topics about the Afghan conflict - training the ANDSF, Rule of Law, Village Stability Operations, cultural friction points with the Afghans, development, governance, and more. Read the book review by Will Selber (an Afghan Hand) about Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan, edited by Aaron B. O'Connell, 2017.

Beau Bergdahl to Plead Guilty. The long-running saga of the U.S. Soldier held captive by insurgents for over five years may be coming to a close. See "Bowe Bergdahl Expected to Plead Guilty in Desertion Case and Avoid Trial",, October 6, 2017.

Possible Release of Taliban Detainees in the Future? The Afghan government is working out a deal to exchange and release prisoners in an attempt to help out in future peace negotiations. See "To Cultivate Taliban's Trust, Afghanistan Working on Releasing Prisoners", Gandhara Blog, October 6, 2017.

Poverty Increase. Poverty and unemployment in Afghanistan rose in the three years following the start of international troops withdrawing in 2011 due to a sharp fall in growth and rise in insecurity. See a report by The World Bank, May 8, 2017.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

News Snippets

Book Review - Our Latest Longest War. A collection of authors write on a range of topics about the Afghan conflict - training the ANDSF, Rule of Law, Village Stability Operations, cultural friction points with the Afghans, development, governance, and more. Read the book review by Will Selber (an Afghan Hand) about Our Latest Longest War: Losing Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan, edited by Aaron B. O'Connell, 2017.

Government Revenue Increases. Afghan govt revenues grew by 13 % during the first 8 months of 2017 when compared to a similar period in 2016. That is good news for Afghanistan's economy. Read more in a report by Afghanistan Analysts Network, September 27, 2017.

India's Future Role in Afghanistan. SECDEF Mattis recently met with Indian officials. India states that it will continue to provide assistance for development projects in Afghanistan but will not put 'boots on the ground'.

Story on Afghan Captain Seeking Asylum. An Afghan Army Captain who was training in the United States tried to defect to Canada. He was apprehended and is now in detention facing deportation. However, his legal team has managed to keep him in the United States through a system of costly appeals (costly to the U.S. government and taxpayers) for the past three years. He is now seeking asylum. Read "The Fight of His Life", Esquire, August 16, 2017.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Afghan War Blog - News Snippets

Program of IDPs Legal ID. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in cooperation with the Afghan government is launching a program that helps displaced Afghans in the Herat region to gain a identity card or tazkera. Read more in "Providing legal identity to displaced Afghans", NRC, August 1, 2017.

Afghan Interpreter Now in Omaha. The inspiring story of how an Afghan 'terp' reaches America after several years of bureaucratic stumbles by the U.S. Department of State. (Omaha World-Herald, July 25, 2017).

Female Police and Ending Gender Violence. Afghan policewomen are challenging societal norms in the male-dominated Afghan National Police (ANP). Read "The Role of Policewomen in Ending Gender Violence in Afghanistan", E-International Relations, August 3, 2017.

Russia - Using 'Soft Power' in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union fought a disastrous counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan a few decades ago. Their armored columns limped back to the homeland in defeat. But the Russians are back; a little more savvy this time. They are using money, aid projects, and propaganda to polish up their image. Their info opns campaign is way ahead of ours. Read more in "While Americans Fight the Taliban, Putin is Making Headway in Afghanistan", The RAND Blog, July 31, 2017.

1186th MP Company Going to Afghanistan. An Oregon Army National Guard military police company has completed its pre-deployment training and is heading out for a 9 month long deployment. (DVIDS, August 2, 2017).

DCoS INT Promoted. BG Gary W. Johnston is now MG Gary W. Johnston. the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at RS HQs in Kabul oversees the military's daily intelligence operations. See "ATU Alumnus Promoted to Major General", Arkansas Tech University, July 31, 2017.

Guam Army Reservists Complete Tour. Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 368th Military Police Company returned home after a tour in Afghanistan. (Pacific Daily News, July 23, 2017).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

News Snippets on Afghanistan

Former TAAC-South Cdr Promoted. Maj. Gen. S. Lee Henry, the former commander of Train, Advise, and Assist - South, has been selected to command the 36th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army National Guard. He was recently promoted to MG. See "The 36th Division holds Change of Command at Texas State Capitol", DVIDS, July 15, 2017.

Human Rights Violations. An international organization finds that all sides to the Afghan conflict are violating the rules of war. Read "Afghanistan: All Sides Violating Human Rights", Institute for War & Peace Reporting, July 27, 2017.

Book Review - In the Warlords Shadow. Daniel R. Green's book about Navy SEALs working the Village Stability Operations (VSO) program in Afghanistan is reviewed by Patrick Hughes.

DynCorp Lands Contract. A $217 million contract modification has been extended to DynCorp International to provide support to the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. (GOVCONWire, July 26, 2017).

AJSC Six-Month Report. The Afghan Journalists Safety Committee has published its six-month report - and finds Afghanistan a dangerous country for journalists and media. (AJSC, July 24, 2017).

Natural Disasters and the ANDMA. Every year Afghanistan suffers a number of fatalities caused by natural disasters. The Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) exists to mitigate the human suffering from natural disasters. Learn more in "Climate in Crisis: How Risk Information Can Build Resilience in Afghanistan", ReliefWeb, July 24, 2017.

EU's Migration Policy and Afghanistan. The European Union is adjusting its migration policy towards Afghanistan. Read more in "Migration Enters the New EU Strategy on Afghanistan", EU Inside, July 26, 2017.

Young Elites Challenge Taliban. The young educated people of Afghanistan are questioning the old ways of Afghan society in hopes for peace. Read more in "Afghanistan's Young Liberal Elites Challenge the Taliban", Der Speigel, July 24, 2017.