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

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Afghan Security News

TAAC West advisors discuss operations with ANDSF
TAAC West Advisors discuss operations with ANDSF
(photo RS HQs Feb, 21, 2018).

Gen Dunford Visits Afghanistan. General Joe Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Afghanistan to conduct an assessment of how the war is going. Of particular interest is the advisory effort - the general indicated that he wanted to personally talk with advisors on the ground. (Military Times, Mar 20, 2018).

South Asian Strategy has Improved Afghan Security Prospects. General Nicholson believes that the military parts of of President Trump's strategy are now in place and they are making a difference. The strategy calls for more military advisors working with lower-echelon Afghan units. It also calls for more enablers - including air support and ISR. Read more in "Nicholson Says Situation in Afghanistan Has Fundamentally Changed", Defense Media Activity, March 22, 2018.

Bombing in Kabul. A suicide bomber killed at least 26 people near a shrine in the Afghan capital on Wednesday, March 21st. At least 18 were wounded as the Afghan capital celebrated the Nawruz holiday marking the start of the Persian new year. (Reuters, Mar 21, 2018).

Estonia Troops for Afghanistan. Members of the Estonian Defence Force's professional Scouts Battalion will soon begin a deployment for the Resolute Support mission. 35 members of the EDF will deploy for six months to the Kabul region. ( News, Mar 20, 2018).

AAF's Black Hawks Need to Get Ready. New sanctions against Russia will likely affect the availability of spare parts for the Afghan Air Force's (AAF) Mi-17 helicopters. This will put pressure on the program to field UH-60 Black Hawks to the AAF - to include, not only helicopters, but the training of its pilots and maintainers. (Stars and Stripes, Mar 24, 2018).

AAF's Blawk Hawks Mission Ready by Summer 2018. The AAF is expected to start flying missions with its new fleet of UH-60s within months. As of now the fleet numbers eleven. Learn more about the training program for its pilots in "Afghan UH-60 Black Hawks will be mission ready this summer", RS HQs DVIDS, March 14, 2018.

Czechs Increasing Numbers. The Czech Republic's defense ministry is planning to deploy more soldiers to Afghanistan. (ABC News, Mar 21, 2018).

Afghanistan's Female General. Khatol Mohammadzai has served in the Afghan army for more than three decades, served as a commando, and did nearly 600 parachute jumps. She is a role model for many of the 1,700 women who serve in the Afghan National Army. Read "Afghan Women Work to Increase Military Presence", Voice of America, March 23, 2018.

Women in the SMW. Read an article about female members of the Afghan Special Mission Unit. The SMW is the Afghan SOF aviation unit that supports the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF). See "Women of the SMW - Afghan Special Mission Wing", SOF News, March 24, 2018.

APPF to be Part of MoD. The Afghan Public Protection Force will fall under the Ministry of Defense (MoD) - moving from the control of the Ministry of Interior (MoI). In all, about 13,500 APPF personnel will make the move. See "PPF Officially Handed Over to the Defense Ministry", Tolo News, March 21, 2018.

ASSF Increases in Strength. The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) recently graduated 828 Commandos from its 14-week long course. Additionally, over 300 special police officers graduated from the 26-week Special Police Qualification Course. The Afghan Special Security Forces continue to grow. (RS HQs, Mar 20, 2018).

19th SFGA Members Honored for Valor. Members of a Utah National Guard Special Forces unit were awarded medals for their valor during a 2017 deployment to Afghanistan. Four Green Berets received Silver Stars. (The Seattle Times, Mar 17, 2018).

CA Guard Trains in France for Afghan Deployment. Some units go to NTC, JRTC, Fort Bliss or other prime locations to train up for a rotation in Afghanistan. The 200 members of California Guard's 40th Division is training in France - drinking French coffee eating eating multicolored, pillowy macarons. Hmmm. How do you get that gig? (Stars and Stripes, March 22, 2018.) See also a news report about members of the 40th Div heading to Kandahar (Stars and Stripes, Mar 23, 2018).

1st BCT 82nd Ends Deployment. Members of the 1st Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division have returned home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina after a nine-month long deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan. (The Fayetteville Observer, Mar 19, 2018).

ASSF to Double Size. The Afghan Special Security Forces (SOF units) will be doubling its size over the few years. Read more in a Resolute Support news release. (Mar 20, 2018).

Non-Pursuit into Pakistan. A U.S. military spokesman said it is U.S. policy not to pursue Taliban fighters that flee from Afghanistan into sanctuaries located in Pakistan. (FDD's Long War Journal, Mar 20, 2018).

Pressuring the Taliban. General Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support in Afghanistan, says a combination of religious, diplomatic, military, and social pressure on the Taliban will result in the insurgents coming to the negotiating table in the near future. (Voice of America, Mar 19, 2018).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Afghan Security News

Member of 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron
attends to patient during mission in Feb 2018 in Afghanistan.
(Photo by SSgt Divine Cox, USAF)

455th EAES - Saving Lives in Afghanistan. Based at Bagram Airfield, the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron is tasked with transporting injured, sick, and wounded personnel to a medical facility.  The unit will transport (and provide medical care to) patients from medical treatment facilities within Afghanistan to specialty treatment facilities. Read "AE team cares for patients in the air", DVIDS, March 12, 2018.

SEC DEF in Afghanistan. While enroute to Afghanistan Secretary of Defense Mattis held a 'press gaggle' with reporters traveling with him. His forecast for Afghanistan? (DoD News Transcript, March 12, 2018).

"We do look towards a victory in Afghanistan. Now, what does that victory look like? It's a country with its own people, and with their security forces, and won law enforcement. Any threats, using their own security forces; certainly, with international support for years to come. As they get better, obviously, the international support will be moderated, as the Afghan forces are able to do more. We see that already, when you compare the number that we have there today to the number we had there years ago."

TIP and Taliban Working Together. The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), a largely Uighur jihadist group affiliated with al Qaeda, seems to be working alongside the Taliban in northern Afghanistan. The group recently released a video highlighting its activities. TIP is also known as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). The group has been known to operate in Pakistan, China, Central Asia, Pakistan, and Syria. The TIP has utilized Taliban training camps in Pakistan to train their fighters. See "Turkistan Islamic Party highlights joint raids with the Afghan Taliban", LWJ, March 12, 2018.

"Not a Forever War". The U.S. Ambassador to the United States has a very optimistic view on the current situation in Afghanistan. "Afghanistan Is Not A Forever War, Its Ambassador Tells T&P", by Jeff Schogol, Task and Purpose, March 14, 2018.

Guardian Angel Team for Afghan PR Mission. The Army and the Air Force are working together in a joint venture to provide the capability to conduct personnel recovery (PR) missions in Afghanistan. (DoD, Mar 9, 2018).

Organizational Change. The U.S. Forces - Afghanistan's (USFOR-A) National Support Element (NSE) based at Bagram Airfield has transitioned to the Deputy Chief of Staff - Operations headquarters. (DVIDS, Mar 9, 2018).

A-29 Crash Investigation. The U.S. is providing A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan Air Force. In addition, pilot training is taking place in the U.S. A year ago one of the A-29s crashed in the vicinity of Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. The Afghan student and U.S. instructor pilot were able to eject safely (at 300 feet). Read "A-29 Crash at Moody Was Result of Abrupt Engine Malfunction: Report", March 8, 2018.

Airstrikes in Helmand - Mixed Results. Despite a huge increase in the number of Coalition and Afghan use of air power in this southwestern province of Afghanistan the Taliban still control, contest, or dominate 12 of the 14 districts. While the bombing attacks will help defeat the insurgents in a battle with the ANDSF the insurgents will rebound and occupy the areas cleared. Read "Airstrikes Deliver Mixed Results in Frontline Afghan Province", Gandhara, March 16, 2018.

Building up the AAF. An informative article about how the U.S. plans to increase the size of the Afghan Air Force. "CENTCOM Aiming to Build Afghan Air Force Into a Key Offensive Capability", Air Force Magazine, March 13, 2018.

U.S. Miliary Increases Kabul Presence. The Afghan capital has seen a significant increase in urban attacks over the past few years. The ANDSF seem to have problems coping with the terrorist bombings that kill scores of people each time. General Nicholson, Cdr of RS, says that the ". . . leadership element is key because what we found is many failures at the local level in terms of local security." Some members of the 1st SFAB are being assigned to the Kabul area to mentor Afghan police. Read "US focusing anti-Taliban effort inside Kabul", Military Times, March 14, 2018.

NATO's Annual Report for 2017. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization released its annual report that provides an overview of how NATO has become more agile and innovative in the face of a complex and evolving security environment. Part of that environment is Afghanistan. The report is 120 pages long; the Afghanistan annex is found on page 102.

Anar Dara District Falls to Taliban. On Monday, March 12th, insurgents attacked a district center in Farah province and took control of the district headquarters. Some press reports says that remnants of the ANDSF were holding out in some district government and military buildings awaiting relief from the Afghan security forces. Farah province has seen a steady decline in security over the past two years. In January the governor of Farah province resigned citing deteriorating security; blaming the problems on political interference and corruption. See "Taliban Overruns Afghan District Near Iranian Border", Voice of America, March 12, 2018.

Battle for Faryab Province. The Taliban control the majority of the 15 districts in this northern Afghan province. The provincial capital is also being threatened by the insurgents. Government and international troops (SOF) are currently in operations to push the insurgents away from the capital city and to clear the major roadways. The capture of the provincial capital - even for a short time - would be a propaganda victory for the Taliban. Read a detailed report on the security situation in Faryab province by Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), March 12, 2018.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Afghan Security News

Afghan Soldiers at the Artillery School Working on D-30
(photo DVIDS, December 2010)

German National Captured with Taliban 'Red Unit'. On February 27th Afghan special operations forces captured a German national who was acting as an advisor to the Taliban's 'special forces'. (Long War Journal, March 6, 2018).

Afghan Commandos Suffer Casualties. Initial news reports in Afghan media say that Afghan SOF endured some heavy losses in Farah province (western Afghanistan). The province has seen a rapid deterioration in security over the past two years and a growth of the insurgency's strength. According to one news report a Commando element was in an engagement where it suffered 35 KIA and 17 WIA on / about March 10th. Over the past several days ASSF have conducted a number of offensive operations against the Taliban, Tehrik-I Taliban, ISIS-K, and Haqqani. Read a recent new release by Maj Anthony Mayne of NATO Special Operations Component  Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) in "Afghan SOF raids and U.S. airstrikes target weapons facilitators", DVIDS, March 9, 2018.

Afghan SOF Aviation Host Conference. The Afghan Special Mission Wing (SMW) recently held a two-day ISR conference in Kabul to improve ISR procedures within the ANDSF. (RS HQs, Mar 9, 2018)

Female Police Officers. Read the story of a women who works as a police officer in southern Afghanistan. When her husband, a police officer, was killed by the Taliban she needed a way to support her family (four small children). Read "Female police officers help security on Afghan front line", Reuters, March 8, 2018.

"Great Northern Council". Local Afghan leaders in and around the Bagram Air Field area have joined together with Resolute Support representatives to enhance cooperation and security. (DVIDS, Mar 1, 2018).

Afghan Women in ASSF. The Afghan SOF are recruiting and training women to join the Afghan elite units of the MoI and MoD. Read "Afghan Special Security Forces Women: Pushing boundaries, Breaking barriers", by Martha Schaeffer, NSOCC-A Gender Advisor, March 8, 2018.

USAF Guardian Angel Team. The 93rd Expeditionary Rescue Squadron stages Guardian Angel teams - consisting of pararescuemen and combat rescue officers - to conduct personnel recovery in Afghanistan. Read how they work with U.S. Army Chinook helicopters to accomplish their mission. "Joint Air Force, Army team enhances Afghanistan rescue mission", DVIDS, March 9, 2018.

Germany's Long Hard Slog. A new government report on military and civilian engagement in Afghanistan makes no mention of progress. The worsening security situation is severely hampering German efforts to assist the ANDSF and provide for reconstruction aid. (Deutsche Welle, Mar 6, 2018).

Germany to Raise Troop Level. The German cabinet approved plans to expand Germany's mission in Afghanistan - bringing the total number of troops to 1,300. Germany is the lead nation for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North (TAAC North). (Reuters, Mar 7, 2018).

US Granted Access to Kazakhstan Ports. Government officials of Kazakhstan say that the U.S. can ship material and equipment across the Caspian Sea to ports in their country. From there the goods can be shipped by rail or truck through Uzbekistan and then into northern Afghanistan. This will partially relieve the pressure of dealing with either the Russians, Pakistanis, or Iranians to ship material and equipment to support the war effort in Afghanistan. Using this route will provide relief from the problematic northern distribution network used in the past. (Tolo News, Mar 8, 2018).

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Afghan Security News

German advisor from TAAC-North conducting JTAC training.
(Photo RS HQs, July 2017)

UN: More ATACs. The United Nations recently said in a report that the Afghan Ministry of Defense needs to deploy more Afghan Tactical Air Controllers to lower the rate of civilian deaths during close air support missions. Read "UN Report: Afghan JTACs needed to curb civilian deaths", Military Times, February 23, 2018.

New Cdr for NSOCC-A / SOJTF-A. It appears that an Air Force two-star will be the next commander for the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A). Major General Albert Elton has been selected to command NSOCC-A/SOJTF-A - the organization that all U.S., NATO, and Coalition SOF falls under. Read his biography here.

German National Captured with Taliban. A German national is suspected of advising the Taliban - he was arrested by Afghan commandos in Helmand province on February 27, 2018. (VOA, Mar 1, 2018).

Two Australians Wounded. A car bomb detonated close to a convoy of vehicles in PD9 on Friday, March 2nd that injured two Australians. The incident occurred near the Australian Embassy. (Tolo News, Mar 3, 2018).

Operation Anaconda - March 2002. Quite a few years ago, one of the biggest battles of the early Afghan conflict took place. During this period the U.S. airlifted some 1,700 troops and accompanied over 1,000 pro-government Afghan militia forces to take on al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan in Operation Anaconda. (Special, March 2, 2018).

RS HQs Denying ISIS in Afghanistan? Russia has accused the United States and Resolute Support of denying that the Islamic State has a presence in Afghanistan. Well, an examination of the public statements by RS HQs, DoD 1225 reports, SIGAR reports, and other documents say otherwise. Although the numbers game is often subject to questioning there is no doubt that there is an acknowledged threat from ISIS-K. (, Feb 26, 2018).

How the Taliban Survive & What to Do About It. The security situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, the insurgency is increasing, and the international community and Afghan government lacks clear direction. So says an editorial entitled "How to Tackle the Taliban", Daily Outlook Afghanistan, March 4, 2018.

District Control in Jawzjan Province. It is always interesting to contrast the statements of the Government of Afghanistan and Resolute Support Headquarters about who 'controls' and 'contests' district across Afghanistan. For instance, there are a couple of districts in Jawzjan province in northern Afghanistan where the district center flies the Afghan flag and a handful of Afghan National Police guard the district center walls; but where insurgents (and militias) freely roam the entirety of the district outside of those walls. For a peak at what 'district control' looks like on the ground check out "Precarious Consolidation: Qari Hekmat's IS-affiliated 'island' survives another Taleban onslaught", Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), March 4, 2018.

An Insurgent's Perspective. The story of Hajji Amanullah is one of a long-time insurgent based in eastern Afghanistan. "US Drone Strike, Political Betrayal Drove Aging Afghan Militant Closer to Islamic State", Eurasia Review, March 2, 2018.

Khakrez District - Controlled by Taliban. The FDD's Long War Journal has assessed a northern district of Kandahar province as controlled by the Taliban. The district of Khakrez is a rural agrarian community of about 20,000 people. Read "Taliban flaunts apparent control in Kandahar district", LWJ, February 28, 2018.

NY ANG Unit Heading to Afghanistan. Members of the New York Army National Guard's 501st Ordnance Battalion is mobilizing, will head to Fort Bliss, Texas for pre-deployment training, and then will spend 9 months in Afghanistan. (Times Union, February 25, 2018).

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Afghan Security News

ANP conduct training in Bamyan province (March 2012).

Origins of the AAF. The Afghan Air Force has been around for a long time. Read how the Afghan Air Force bought 16 Italian Ro. 37 Bis airplanes in 1937 in "The Airplane", Ambasciata d'Italia, February 2018.

Afghan Society Contributes to Insecurity. Nafay Choudhury, a research fellow at the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies in Kabul, says that structural conditions in Afghan society contribute to insecurity. Read more in "The Kabul Hotel Attack: Moving Beyond the Blame Game", The Diplomat, February 23, 2018.

SOJTF-A Cdr visits 7th SFGA. The commander of the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan, Major General James Linder, visited 7th Special Forces Group to present medals of valor. The 7th SFGA has lost 45 soldiers in Afghanistan since 2001. Read "U.S. still faces 'long, hard fight' in Afghanistan", NWF Daily News, February 23, 2018.

New Militia Force. The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) has announced the formation of a 36,000 man militia force. (VOA, Feb 22, 2018).

Lithuanian SOF Deploying to Afghanistan. Lithuania is increasing its contribution to NATO's Resolute Support Mission with the deployment of elements of its special operations forces.

20 ANA Killed Feb 23rd. The Taliban conducted a nighttime raid on an Afghan military base in Bala Baluk district in the western province of Farah killing more than 20 soldiers. The insurgents overran the base capturing weapons, vehicles, and equipment. Security in Farah province has deteriorated in the past two years. (FDD's Long War Journal, Feb 24, 2018).

NMU's Female Foundation Course. The Afghan General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) has established a special police course designed specifically for female police officers who will serve with the MoI's National Mission Units (NMU). Read more about this in "Female Foundation Course a milestone for Afghan Special Police", NSOCC-A, February 22, 2018.

New GCPSU Officers. There are now 35 newly qualified Afghan police officers who recently graduated from the 8-wk GCPSU Special Operators Course at the Special Police Training Center in Logar province, Afghanistan. Graduates heading to CRU 222, CF 333, & ATF 444 of ASSF.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Afghan Security News

Member of National Mission Brigade trains at KMTC
(Photo by SPC Austin Boucher, NSOCC-A, Feb 12, 2018)

New Head of Afghan Border Force. General Juma Gul Himat has been appointed as the new Afghan border security forces commander. Many parts of the Afghan Border Police (ABP) has been transferred from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to the Ministry of Defense (MoD).

Insider Attack - Helmand Province. Sixteen members of a National Directorate of Security (NDS) unit were killed by four of their colleagues in an 'insider attack' on Feb 11th, Sunday. (VOA, Feb 11, 2018).

Sangorian. A secret unit established by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) is causing some angst within the Taliban movement in Helmand province. (Gandhara, Feb 15, 2018).

Terrorism Conference Hosted by Kabul. The Afghan capital hosted a regional conference on ways to defeat terrorism on Tuesday, February 13th. Military chiefs from several neighboring countries attended - including Pakistan. Hmmm. (RFE/RL, Feb 13, 2018). See also "Central Asian defense leaders meet in Kabul for security talks", Resolute Support, February 14, 2018.

777th SMW on Display. Senior officials of Central and South Asian countries visited the Special Mission Wing on Feb 13th for a static display of its men and equipment staged at Kabul's international airport. The static exhibit was held at the end of a two-day CASA Chiefs of Defence conference. (Resolute Support, Feb 15, 2018).

More U.S. Airpower. The U.S. has increased its air assets in Afghanistan which will provide a decisive edge in the fight to destroy Taliban networks and enable air support to U.S. personnel embedded with the ANDSF. (455th Air Expeditionary Wing, Feb 16, 2018, DVIDS).

Retiring the Old Generals. The Afghan military has more general officers than the U.S. Army. Many of them don't have a real job . . . and if they do . . . well that's another story. Read more in "Afghan army shake-up to push out old guard in fight against Taliban", Reuters, February 14, 2018.

Badakhshan Province Threatened. A recent news report provides information on how the Taliban and other foreign fighters are increasing their control of some of the districts in Badakhshan province. Read "Taliban Increasing Presence in Remote Afghan Region Bordering China", Gandhara, February 12, 2018.

Three Kunduz Districts Controlled by Taliban. The Afghan government has failed to establish security and government control of three districts in northern Kunduz. (Pajhwok Press, Feb 11, 2018).

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Afghan Security News

Afghan Commandos prepare for operations in Mohmand Valley,
Nangarhar province against ISKP militants
(Photo by SPC Jacob Krone, NSOCC-A, Feb 2, 2018)

Retiring the Old Guard. President Ghani signed documents that 'gracefully' retired 164 general officers. The Afghan security forces have an excessive number of generals and it is time to see some of them go home and collect their pension. Many of the generals were too old, inept, useless, corrupt, and . . . in many instances . . . did not have a real job. I am sure there was a fair degree of politics involved but still a good step forward!

U.S. Moving Troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Jeff Schogol of Task & Purpose reports that the U.S. is moving units from Iraq to Afghanistan. (Task & Purpose, Feb 5, 2018).

Northern Afghanistan - Refuge for Regional Terrorists? Russia is concerned that former fighters for ISIS will take up camp in northern Afghanistan. (Voice of America, Feb 8, 2018).

Afghan Women Serving with SOF Units. Martha Schaeffer, of the NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A), shares with us information on how Afghan women are serving with Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) and about the Afghan Female Tactical Platoons (FTPs). Read "Afghan Special Security Forces Women: Pushing boundaries; breaking barriers", DVIDS, February 1, 2018.

Quantity over Quality? There are over 2,500 trainees currently enrolled in the 14-week long Afghan Commando qualification course at Camp Commando (Morehead). The intent is to double the size of the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF). Hopefully ANASOC is not sacrificing quality to obtain quantity (SOF Truth #2). (NSOCC-A, Feb 7, 2018).

Examining Recent Terrorist Attacks. The past few months have seen an increase in terrorist attacks in Afghan cities. Thomas Ruttig, of the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), takes a close look in Five Questions to Make Sense of the New Peak in Urban Attacks and a Violent Week in Kabul, AAN, February 5, 2018.

District Policemen Working in Provincial Capital. One of the many reasons that Helmand province suffers from insecurity is that many of the policemen who are assigned to districts are in the provincial capital guarding officials and politicians. For instance, 94 policemen and officers from Kajaki district are currently serving in Lashkar Gah. Read more in "Afghan Police Protect Officials, Not Public, In Frontline Province", Gandhara, February 8, 2018.

Intel Officer Shipping Out. Read Admiral (lower half) Kelly Aeschbach, currently deputy director of intelligence at USFOR-A, is heading to Offutt Air Force Base.

NSOCC-A General Taking Off. BG Kirk Smith, currently DCG of NATO's SOF in Afghanistan, is heading to Europe to take command of SOCEUR.

Kabul Security Plan. The Afghan government has approved in principle a security plan for Kabul city in light of recent terrorist attacks. (Khaama Press, Feb 5, 2018).

China as a CT Partner in Afghanistan? Hmmm. The recent bombin in Badakhshan province of training camps run by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) could be the forerunner to an increased degree of cooperation with China. See "Pentagon thinks China could be a partner in Afghanistan", Military Times, Feb 8, 2018.

Afghan Officers Fired Over Kabul Attack. Afghan President Ghani says that seven Afghan army officers - including two generals - have been dismissed for "professional negligence" during a recent deadly attack on a Kabul military base by the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP). (Gandhara, Feb 6, 2018).

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Afghan Security News

News about Afghan SOF

"Clear, Hold, and Build?" The Afghan army - using its Commandos - has the "Clear" part of counterinsurgency down pretty good. It is the "Hold" and "Build" part that historically the ANDSF do not do well. Read an example of this weak area in "Northern offensives conducted by Afghan Army achieve impermanent gains"FDD's Long War Journal, January 31, 2018.

Afghan Commandos. Marty Skovlund Jr, a writer for Task & Purpose, recently visited Camp Commando (just outside of Kabul) where the Afghan Commandos are trained. He provides us with an excellent article describing the Commandos training, mission, and motivation. Read "With The Taliban On The Offensive, The Future Of Afghanistan May Depend On This Homegrown Commando Force", January 29, 2018.

New Afghan SOF Unit - Cobra Strike Kandak. In the effort to increase the size of Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) has established a new school and unit. Learn more about the Cobra Strike Maneuver Course and the Cobra Strike Kandaks in "Afghan Special Operations build momentum with Cobra Strike Maneuver Course"DVIDS, February, 3, 2018.

Security Events and Incidents

"A Bloody Start to 2018". Why has there been an uptick in violence in Afghanistan - especially in Kabul? Some observers believe that it is the Taliban's response to President Trumps new strategy in South Asia, Trump's statements and actions against Pakistan, and the winter offensive conducted by the ANDSF (along with U.S. bombing). Read "Taliban attacks cast doubt on US' Afghan Strategy"Deutsche Welle, January 29, 2018.

Military University Attacked. On Sunday, January 28th two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at the gate of the Marshal Fahim Military University in Kabul. Two other attackers were killed in the fight and one attacker was captured by the ANDSF. The attack was the fourth major assault in a surge of violence in just over a week . . . and the fighting season has yet to begin. both the Taliban and the Islamic State - Khorsan Province appear to be increasing their attacks in Kabul.  "Eleven Afghan soldiers killed in latest attack in Kabul"Reuters, January 28, 2018.

More on Kabul Bombing. The recent bombing on Saturday, January 27th by the Taliban using an ambulance has resulted in 103 deaths and 235 wounded. It appears the emergency vehicle was waved through one checkpoint but then was stopped at a second checkpoint - when it detonated.

Some Good News? Evidently all is not all 'doom and gloom' in Afghanistan. Not if you read one of Resolute Support's recent press releases - "Afghan forces apply pressure to insurgents with renewed resolve"RS HQ, February 1, 2018. While RS HQs acknowledges that there have been some significant attacks in Kabul; it provides examples of how the ANDSF (especially SOF) are making headway. And there is this statement by Gen Nicholson (RS Cdr):
Our mission is boosting troop numbers, which really means that our Train, Advise and Assist Mission will go even deeper inside the schooling and education system, and with the forces on the battlefield.
 Analysis and Commentary on Security Situation in Afghanistan

Trends in Afghan Security. The folks at the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) have provided us with a detailed analysis of how security is trending in Afghanistan over the past several years. The news is not good. The writer, Thomas Ruttig - a man with extensive time in Afghanistan, looks at five major indicators of security in 2017 and compares it to data from earlier years. He finds that the Afghan War has become more violent and widespread in 2017. Read his very detailed analysis in "More Violent, More Widespread: Trends in Afghan Security in 2017", AAN, January 29, 2018.

Options for Success Limited. According to Bennett Seftel, director of analysis at The Cipher Brief, options for the Afghan conflict are not good. See "Afghanistan Quagmire Leaves U.S. With No Good Options", February 1, 2018.

Battle for Kabul and Beyond? The recent spate of terrorist attacks in Kabul highlight what may be a coming bloody year in Afghanistan. Read an analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan by Nafisa Hoodbhoy in "Analysts: Battle for Kabul Has Begun"Voice of America, January 28, 2018.

Info Withheld in SIGAR Report. The Pentagon and Resolute Support HQs has removed information previously published in the unclassified Quarterly Report to Congress. The January 2018 has little information about the Taliban's ability to 'control or contest' districts in Afghanistan. Previous reports always contained this info. Read "Watchdog: Pentagon blocks information on insurgent dominance in Afghanistan"Stars and Stripes, January 30, 2018.

Taliban Gaining Strength? Recent DoD and SIGAR reports along with analysis from outside media outlets and think tanks indicate that the Taliban certainly are not using . . . and depending on the metrics used . . . could possibly be tilting the 'stalemate' to the insurgency's favor. Read "The Taliban is gaining strength and territory in Afghanistan", NBC News, January 30, 2018.

Afghan Security Institutions (ASI) and ANDSF

Retiring the 'Old Generals'. There are a lot of Afghan generals on the payroll; many of whom don't have a real job. Even worse is that some of those that do show up for work are corrupt and inept. One of the key elements of professionalizing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces that Resolute Support has encouraged the Afghans to adopt is changing out the senior leadership. But there are those who oppose this approach (of course). (Tolo News, Jan 29, 2018).

Spies Within ANDSF? Are there informers who report to insurgents currently working within the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense? MININT Wais Ahmad Barmak believes that is the case. Read "Insurgents Have Spies Among Security Forces, Barmak Says"Tolo News, January 28, 2018.

Peace Talks?

Talking to the Taliban? Not so Much. One of the aims of the U.S. government is to use all means available (military, diplomacy, etc.) to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for a political settlement. On Monday, January 29th this was all put aside by President Trump when he said "I don't see any talking taking place . . ." during a televised meeting at the White House. The remarks were 'off the cuff' and probably reflected his thoughts after several recent bombings by insurgents in Kabul that killed a lot of innocent people.


Drone Contract. AAI Corporation has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide UAV support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Read "AAI Corp. to provide intelligence services in Afghanistan",, January 29, 2018.

Facts and Figures. Statistics can be shaped into many different forms to help convey a message or sway the conversation. The Afghan conflict is certainly a war with many different points of view - many that use data points to present their respective perspectives. Scott Peterson writes on this in "Afghanistan by the numbers: inside the fight over facts", February 2, 2018.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Afghan Security News

The AAF and Helicopters. An Afghan and U.S. aviator have combined forces to write an article in an attempt to convince us that the replacement of the Russian-made Mi-17 with the U.S.-made UH-60 Black Hawk is a good idea. Hmmm. Read "A New Platform and New Plan for the Afghan Air Force", Small Wars Journal, January 17, 2018.

How Badly is the War Going? Over the past year (2017) about 10,000 Afghan security force personnel have been killed with more than 16,000 wounded. An average of 10 civilians are killed every day. (UN data for 2017).

Mi-17 Replacement - "True Costs". James Durso enlightens us on the 'true costs' of replacing the Mi-17 with the UH-60 in "Overpriced Afghanistan helicopter upgrades amount to a subsidy for contractors", The Hill, January 21, 2018.

U.S. Aircraft Increased in Afghanistan. Central Command has re-positioned aircraft to Afghanistan to beef up the number of strike aircraft. Read a press release from Resolute Support, January 24, 2018. It appears that the additional aircraft are A-10 Warthogs and MQ-9 Reaper drones.

ATF 444. The Afghan Territorial Force (ATF 444) rescued eight Afghan government and military prisoners from a Taliban compound in Helmand province on January 23rd. The ATF 444 is one of three elite National Mission Units of the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

SIGAR Report on Child Sexual Assault in Afghanistan. A classified report published in June 2017 by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) has been cleared for public viewing and has been available as of January 18, 2018. A damaging report on how the U.S. military ignored incidents of sexual exploitation of young boys by members of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Read Child Sexual Assault in Afghanistan, SIGAR, January 18, 2018.

Digging Deeper into Afghanistan. The Soufan Center has provided a 'security update' on the situation in Afghanistan in "TSC INTELBRIEF: The U.S. Digs Deeper in Afghanistan", January 24, 2018.

UN Security Council Statements. The United Nations Security  Council expressed its continued support to the UN Secretary-General's call to action to avert threats in Afghanistan. (United Nations, 19 January 2018).

Prisoners Freed in Night Raid. Afghan and U.S. special operations units freed a number of prisoners held by the Taliban in Helmand province on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Bomb Attack Against Hospital. There was a massive bomb explosion in the vicinity of Kabul's Jamhoriat hospital on Sunday, January 27th. A number of people were killed and wounded. Early estimates have almost 100 deaths and many more injured. The Taliban have claimed responsibility. An ambulance loaded with explosives caused the many deaths.

Taliban and Islamic State. Dr. Antonio Giustozzi examines the relationship between the IS-KP and the larger insurgent group in Afghanistan - the Taliban. Read "Taliban and Islamic State: Enemies or Brothers in Jihad?", Center for Research & Policy Analysis, December 14, 2017.

Spain Sending Troops. According to a recent news report Spain will be sending more troops to Afghanistan. (Tolo News, Jan 19, 2018).

Militia Members Killed. Balkh province officials say that 18 people were killed in Sholgara district on Saturday, January 20th. Most of the dead were members of a Public Uprising Force. (Tolo News, Jan 21, 2018).

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Afghan Security News - Dec 10, 2017

NATO's SEL Visits GCPSU. The Command Senior Enlisted Leader for Allied Command Operations at NATO visited the Afghan General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU) at Camp Lion. In addition, he attended the graduation of the 21st Commando Qualification Course at Camp Commando (Camp Morehead) just outside Kabul. (DVIDS, Dec 6, 2017).

Kandak Completes Operational Readiness Cycle (ORC) in Helmand. Afghan National Army soldiers with the 6th Kandak, 1st Brigade, 215th Corps graduated from an operational readiness cycle at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan in early December 2017. The 350 members spent eight weeks developing their infantry skills at both the individual and collective level at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). U.S. Marine advisors from Task Force Southwest assisted during the course - overseeing training events and providing guidance and recommendations. (DVIDS, Dec 3, 2017).

MCTF Investigator Killed. A member of the Major Crimes Task Force or MCTF was killed in October 2017. He was the fifth member of the 300-man MCTF to be killed in the last two years. Questions about the morale of the MCTF are being raised. (Los Angeles Times, Dec 6, 2017).

Erik Prince on Fixing Afghanistan. Former Navy SEAL and founder of Blackwater Erik Prince has a plan for Afghanistan. It involves a private military force and some minerals. (BuzzFeed,Dec 7, 2017).

Female Afghan Officers to Train in India. A group of 20 women army and air force officers will be trained at the Officer's Training Academy in Chennai, India. At any given time there are about 300 Afghan officers being trained in India. (The Times of India, Dec 6, 2017).

215th Corps Conducts Artillery Course. 1st Brigade, 215th Corp recently conducted (ending in December) an 8-week course on the D-30 122-mm Howitzer. The course provided formalized training on the ANA's primary ground fire support weapon. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest led the course - providing assistance in instruction to D-30 crewmen, forward observers, and fire direction center team members. (DVIDS, Dec 6, 2017).

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Afghan Security News - Dec 3, 2017

Photo Credit: Shoulder patch of the Mountain Warfare Training Center in Herat province, Afghanistan. The training center was established so Afghan forces could practice advanced mountain warfare techniques and urban combat skills. The advanced training was developed by the Italian Alpine Troop, or Alpini (considered some of the best mountain warfare troops in the world). Photo from Resolute Support video published on November 27, 2017.

'Path to Win' in Afghanistan. The commander of Resolute Support, General John Nicholson, says that the new South Asia strategy and relaxed rules of engagement are providing a "path to a win" in Afghanistan. He states that the conditions-based (not time-based) strategy is the right approach. Read more in "South Asia Strategy Provides 'Path to Win' in Afghanistan, Commander Says", Department of Defense, November 28, 2017.

Females Graduate from Defense University. Over 300 officers graduated from the Marshal Fahim Defense University recently. 26 of them were female officers. Read "Female Officers Vow to Serve The Country", Tolo News, November 24, 2017.

Operation Maiwand 8 Concludes. The Afghan security forces successfully conducted a resupply mission over the course of November 18-21 to provide food,water, blankets, mattresses, and winter uniforms to security forces based in Marjah district. The operation, spanning days, involved numerous units across the spectrum of the ANDSF that delivered needed supplies for the district center to remained provisioned through the coming winter months. Read a glowing report on the effort in "Winter no longer a barrier to ANDSF operations in Maiwand", Resolute Support, December 2, 2017.

ASSF Seize 1,000 lbs of Explosives. According to a NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) Afghan Special Security Forces seized over 1,000 pounds of homemade explosives during night raids in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in late November. (DVIDS, November 30, 2017).

ISIS Deputy Joins Taliban. The Afghan Taliban claims that the deputy head of the Islamic State - Khorsan Province has parted ways with IS-KP and is now with the Taliban. (VOA, Nov 30, 2017).

ISIS in Jawzjan Province. The Islamic State seems to be gaining a foothold in northern Afghanistan. Read "Islamic State seizes new Afghan foothold after luring Taliban defectors", Reuters, December 1, 2017.

Pakistan and the Haqqani Network. General Nicholson has once again spoken out about Pakistan's support for the terrorist group operating from within Pakistan's borders. He says there is no change to the help provided by the Pakistani spy agency. Read "Haqqani Network Remains Primary Source of Pakistan - US Tensions", Voice of America, November 27, 2017.

Three Georgian Soldiers Wounded. Members of a Georgian patrol were wounded when their vehicle was attacked by a motorcycle-borne IED outside of a military base in Kabul. (Bagram). (Reuters, Nov 23, 2017).

2018 a Pivotal Year. Paul D. Shinkman, a senior national security writer for U.S. News & World Report has provide us the reasons why 2018 is important to Afghanistan in "Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year", November 27, 2018.

'Eating Their Own'. Fifteen members of the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (IS-KP) lost their heads in a recent spate of infighting in the eastern province of Nangarhar. The killings took place in the Surkh Ab bazaar of Achin district. Read "Islamic State beheads 15 of its own fighters: Afghan official", Reuters, November 23, 2017.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Afghan Security News

Photo Credit. An instructor from the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF) provides instruction to a member of the Afghan Local Police (ALP). (DVIDS photo).

ALP 1st Line of Defense Against IS-KP. The Afghan Local Police (ALP) has been established in many districts in 31 of 34 Afghan provinces. The ALP in Achin district, Nangarhar province is the first line of defense against the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorasan Province (IS-KP). Read more in "Afghan Local Police, Controversial Force That Fill Security Gap"Voice of America, November 20, 2017.

ANA Territorial Force. Afghan warlords and strongmen are already beginning to try and influence the planned 'territorial force' that the U.S. and Afghan government are thinking to establish. The Afghan National Army Territorial Force, in some ways, will be similar to the Afghan Local Police. The Afghan National Army Territorial Force (ANATF) will likely be self-defense units of locally-recruited men serving in their own communities. Read more in "UN concerned by controversial US plan to revive Afghan militias", The Guardian, November 19, 2017.

Senior ANP Official Resignation. The head of the MoI's 119 police hotline system has resigned from his position citing lack of support from the Ministry of Interior. See also "MoI to Probe Accusations between 119 Chief and Ministry", Tolo News, November 21, 2017.

Afghan SOF Target Taliban in Herat Province. Afghan SOF units, including the 4th and 9th SOKs, Police Special Units, and Afghan Special Forces went after Taliban insurgents in a recent operation in Shindad district, Herat province during November. Read "Afghan Special Operations team up with 207th Corps to eradicate Taliban from Shindad", DVIDS, November 22, 2017.

Tide Could Turn? Optimistic Statements by RS HQs Cdr. U.S. General John Nicolson recently stated that the tide will soon turn against the Taliban. He believes the ANDSF is getting better, will take the fight to the enemy in 2018, and that the Taliban will be forced to the bargaining table. Nicholson is interviewed by Radio Free Europe, November 10, 2017.

Dozens Freed from Taliban Prison. Afghan officials said that up to 30 people were rescued from a Taliban prison in the southern province of Helmand on Sunday, November 19th. Among those rescued were two police officers and four children under the age of 12. See "Raid on Taliban Prison Reportedly Frees Dozens in Afghanistan", Radio Free Europe, November 19, 2017.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Afghan Security News

Photo: A U.S. F-16 Fighter Falcon is refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, above Afghanistan, November 5, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson).

Afghanistan's Elite Police - the GCPSU. The four-year plan for re-energizing the Afghan army and police includes the doubling of the Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF). This includes the units assigned to the General Command of Police Special Units (GCPSU). Currently the GCPSU is comprised of three operational units - CRU 222, CF 333, and ATF 444. The best known is the CRU 222 based in Kabul that responds to high-threat events. By 2020 the GCPSU will double in size with the creation of National Mission Units 555, 888, and 999. Read more in an article by Marty Skovlund entitled "This Elite Police Force is Afghanistan's Secret Weapon Against Violent Extremists", Task & Purpose, November 15, 2017.

14K the New Number. According to the Pentagon (Nov 14th) there are now 14 thousand U.S. military personnel deployed to Afghanistan.

Drop in Personnel in ANA. The Afghan National Army (ANA) has a significant turnover of personnel each year. Some soldiers opt not to re-enlist, some desert, many are wounded or killed. To replenish the force the ANA relies on a robust recruiting effort. But . . . now it must deal with another factor. The Taliban have refined their ability to intimidate the families that have sons serving in the Army - and forcing the families to call on their sons to desert the army. Read more in "Afghan Army Recruitment Dwindles as Taliban Threaten Families", The New York Times, November 18, 2017.

Senior Enlisted Forum held at RS HQs. Senior enlisted Afghan National Defense and Security Force members met in a forum with U.S. counterparts at Resolute Support HQs for a few days in November to discuss current challenges (and solutions) in their respective units. (DVIDS, Nov 17, 2017).

Taliban Using High Tech NVGs. There are some reports that Taliban fighters are using advanced night vision goggles in their fight against the Afghan government. (VOA, Nov 17, 2017).

Building the Afghan Air Force Inventory. The AAF is increasing its inventory of aircraft while  - at the same time - it grows the number of pilots and maintainers. See "Inside the US military's plans to double the Afghan air force's aircraft inventory", Defense News, November 10, 2017.

Retiring Old, Broke, and Useless Generals. President Ghani is approving the retirement of more Afghan senior officers. The Afghan Army is bloated with old generals who don't even show up for work and it is time to get rid of a few of them! A new plan has 70 % of the Afghan Army generals getting the boot in the next two years. (Ariana News, Nov 18, 2017).

Haqqani Network - Friends and Enemies. Tom Davis, a veteran of two deployments to Afghanistan writes on the international backers and supporters of the Haqqani Network in "The Haqqani Network: International Friends, Local Enemies", Small Wars Journal, November 12, 2017.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Afghan Security News

ANA Commandos receive training from ANA instructor.
(photo form RS HQs video posted Nov 11, 2017) 

U.S. Casualty. On Saturday, November 4, 2017 SFC Stephen Cribben died from wounds sustained during a combat operation in Logar province, Afghanistan. He was a member of the 10th Special Forces Group.

CRS Report. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) has published a report entitled "Afghanistan: Post Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy", dated November 7, 2017. This 78-page report provides a historical background to the conflict in Afghanistan as well as up to date reporting on the current security situation.


Pakistan Still Not Helpful. General Nicholson, the commander of NATO's Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan says there has been no change in Pakistan's support of the Taliban. (CNN, Nov 9, 2017).

Pakistan's Wire Fence. The erection of a wire fence along the Afghan - Pakistan border is really not going to stop terrorism. The Taliban will continue to cross the border at will. What the fence will do is increase the hostility between the two countries and separate the Pashtun people who live on each side of the border. Read more in a article by Gandhara Blog, November 8, 2017.


"Taliban Can't Win". General Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, says the Taliban can't win on the battlefield. The general sounds upbeat on the prospects of pressuring the Taliban into reconciliation. Of course, it is common knowledge to many counterinsurgency gurus that insurgents don't need to win on the battlefield . . . they just need to wear down the opposition over time. But, according to Nicholson, we are turning the corner in the long conflict.

October 2017 - a Wave of Violence. While the 2017 fighting season was not the Taliban's best effort in recent years the group still managed to attain a high level of violence and continues to grow its control over rural areas of Afghanistan. The month of October was especially active with several truck bomb incidents causing hundreds of casualties. Read more in "The Humvee Bomb Series: The October wave of Taleban attacks in 2017 context"Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 7, 2017.

Turmoil in Jawzjan Province? A Taliban commander has separated himself from the Taliban movement and declared allegiance to the Islamic State of Khorisan Province (ISKP). The Taliban are struggling to regain control. Read more in "Qari Hekmat's Island: A Daesh enclave in Jawzjan?", by Obaid Ali of Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), November 11, 2017.

Afghan Media Targeted. The attacks against the Afghan media by the Taliban and other insurgent and terrorist groups is on the rise. "In Afghanistan, Militant Groups Unite Against a Common Enemy: Journalists"Gandhara Blog, November 11, 2017.

Getting the Taliban to the Negotiating Table. NATO and U.S. officials are expressing hope that regional engagement, pressure on Pakistan, and battlefield reversed suffered by insurgents will get the Taliban to the negotiating table. Wishful thinking. Read more in "Afghan plan focuses on pushing Taliban to the bargaining table"Military Times, November 9, 2017.


SIGAR Report - Some Analysis. The Department of Defense classified much of the data used to measure the development and progress made by the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) that one usually finds in the quarterly report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. This quarter the SIGAR report dated 30 October was missing some key ingredients. Read more in "Secrecy shrouds US development of Afghan security forces", FDD's Long War Journal, November 4, 2017.

Finland Asked to Send More Troops. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis recently visited Finland and discussed the possibility of Finland sending more troops to Afghanistan. Currently there are 30 military Finns serving in Afghanistan. ( Helsinki Times, Nov 7, 2017).

Black Hawks to Save the Day? The U.S. is abandoning the Mi-17 helicopters that do the brunt of the air support for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) and going with a more expensive and complicated flying machine known as the UH-60 Black Hawk. Naturally it is a U.S. aircraft which satisfies the political objectives of many members of Congress. Read more in "US, Afghans hope new Black Hawk Squadron will help turn tide against insurgents", Stars and Stripes, November 5, 2017.

CIVCAS in Kunduz. The United States military is investigating reports that as many as 13 civilians may have been killed in airstrikes in the northern region of Kunduz province. The U.S. confirmed that an operation did take place in the area but offered no further details. (Reuters, Nov 5, 2017). However, it subsequently released a statement saying that no civilian casualties took place. (Military Times, Nov 6, 2017).

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Afghan Security News

ANA outpost, Pekha Valley, Achin district, Nangarhar province
(Photo CPL Mattew DeVirgilio, NSOCC-A, 19 Oct 2017)
Taliban and IS-KP Clash. Scores of fighters from the Taliban and the Islamic State Khorsan Province have been killed in fighting in the north and east of Afghanistan. The clashes have occurred in Nangarhar and Jawzjan provinces. Many civilians have fled their homes to escape the violence. Read "Taliban, IS Face Off in Afghanistan", Gandhara Blog (Radio Free Europe), October 30, 2017.

Civilians Killed in U.S. Airstrike in Kuduz. Unconfirmed reports in Afghan media say that 55-65 civilians were killed in U.S airstrikes in an eastern Afghan province on Saturday. The incident reportedly took place in the Char Dara district. 

160th SOAR Pilot Dies in Logar Crash. Chief Warrant Officer Jacob Sims of the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment (SOAR) died in a helicopter crash in Logar province on Friday, October 27th. (SOF News, Oct 29, 2017).

"Cat-and-Mouse Games for Afghan Districts". The conflict in Afghanistan shows little sign of dissipating. The armed opposition's ability to capture territory - even if on a temporary basis - shows that the insurgents have a strong foothold in the rural areas. (Think Progress, Nov 3, 2017).

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Security News for Afghanistan

Afghan Commando instructor provides direction to
student at Camp Morehead, Afghanistan.
(Photo Senior Airman Xavier Navaro, NSOCC-A, Oct 4, 2017)

Security Incidents

Mosque Bombings. Ali M. Latifi writes on the recent bombings of Afghan mosques in "The Enemy is Everywhere: Afghans Mourn Dead as Attacks Mount"The Cipher Brief, October 22, 2017.

How the Taliban Have Evolved. The Taliban are reaching out beyond the Pashtun population, shifting and adjusting tactics, and advancing its political agenda. Part of this tactical shift is the increasing intimidation of government security forces (at the individual level) in the rural countryside. Read "How Taliban are evolving to compete in Afghanistan", by Scott Peterson (Istanbul Bureau Chief), The Christian Science Monitor, October 26, 2017.

ANA Killed in Farah. Nine ANA soldiers were killed by the Taliban on Wednesday, Oct 25th at a security post in the western province of Farah (Gandhara Blog, Oct 25, 2017).

Surge of IEDs in Afghanistan. According to a Pentagon report the use of roadside bomb attacks around the world are declining - except in Afghanistan. The report by the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO) credits the IED increase to the current military stalemate that favors the insurgents. See "Pentagon Report: IED Casualties Surge in Afghanistan"Foreign Policy, October 20, 2017.

201st Corps. An Insider Attack took place on Sunday, October 22, 2017 in northern Afghanistan.

Some Successes?

Nad'Ali District Liberated from Taliban. The ANDSF have destroyed the Taliban during the recent Operation Maiwand 7 held in October. The clearing mission resulted in huge gains for the Afghan security forces. At least that is what a news release by Resolute Support HQs would have us believe. (DVIDS, Oct 25, 2017).

Rival Militant Groups Fight in Herat. At least 40 Taliban have been killed in clashes between groups in Shindand district, Herat province. (Voice of America, Oct 22, 2017).

Remote Town Haven Against Insurgents. An area in Nuristan province, Afghanistan has managed to keep insurgents at bay. Read "Afghans Turn Remote Town Into Safe Haven Against Insurgents", Gandhara Blog, October 23, 2017.

Train, Advise, & Assist

Six More A-29s for AAF. The Afghan Air Force will receive more A-29 Super Tucanos for its growing fleet of aircraft. The A-29 Super Tucano is ideally suited for the counterinsurgency fight in Afghanistan. (DoD Buzz, Oct 25, 2017).

SMA Dailey Addresses 1st SFAB. The members of the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade will soon deploy to Afghanistan. The Sergeant Major of the Army - Daniel Daily - provided his thoughts about the new SFABs to an audience at Fort Benning. Seee "SMA Dailey pays a visit to Army's 1st SFAB"DVIDS, October 16, 2017. See also a related article in "Combat engineer turned combat advisor in Army's 1st SFAB"DVIDS, October 19, 2017.

Afghan Trainees go AWOL. A recent report by SIGAR says that a high percentage of Afghan military members who go to the United States for military training go AWOL. Over half are never caught and some could pose a security risk. See "Training Afghan soldiers exposes the US to a huge risk", New York Post, October 28, 2017.

Marine Advisors in Helmand Province. The Marines of Task Force Southwest have been sending out small advisor teams to the brigades of the 215th ANA Corps. See "Small teams of Marines advising Afghan brigades and battalions", Marine Corps Times, October 26, 2017.

India to Provide Assistance? President Ghani recently visited India. He probably presented a shopping list of military, economic, and developmental assistance projects. See "India mulls security-related assistance to Afghan forces", Khaama Press, October 25, 2017.

215th Corps Artillery Training. Some members of the ANA in Helmand province recently graduated from an artillery course at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan. U.S. Marine advisors with Task Force Southwest led the 8-week long course. Read "215th Corps soldiers building artillery skills during eight-week course"DVIDS, October 21, 2017.

RS Has New Deputy Commander. Lieutenant General Richard Cripwell is the new Dep Cdr of the Resolute Support Mission. Had conducted a change of responsibility with the out-going Dep Cdr on October 24th. Read a news release by RS HQs, Oct 24, 2017.

Afghan Commandos Graduate Course. Over 800 Afghan soldiers graduated from a 14-week long Afghan-led special operations course held at Camp Morehead (near Kabul). (DVIDS, Oct 25, 2017). 800 students is a lot of Joes to push through in 14-weeks. Is there a danger of producing quantity over quality? Hopefull SOF Truths numbers 2 and 3 were taken in consideration during the training course.

CIA and Pentagon's Omega Program. The Central Intelligence Agency will step up its use of paramilitary officers in Afghanistan in conjunction with US SOF operators from the Pentagon's Omega program. (NYT, Oct 22, 2017).

MI Unit Returns to FBNC. The 525th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina after a nine-month long deployment to Afghanistan. (Stars and Stripes, Oct 24, 2017).