Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Afghan War News Snippets

More Visas for Interpreters. A U.S. Senate committee has approved 4,000 more Visas for Afghans who worked for the U.S. military as interpreters or support staff. The Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program is designed to help Afghans who assisted the U.S. in the Afghan conflict to immigrate to the United States. See "U.S. Senate Committee Approves 4,000 More Special Visas for Afghans", Gandhara, June 29, 2017.

Key Leader Training for RS HQs Advisors. The Resolute Support Headquarters conducts a 4-day training course for those military personnel who are assigned to be advisors to the MoD or MoI. One day the 'newcomer's briefing day' - learning the aspects of living and working in Afghanistan on Camp RS in Kabul. A second day is Guardian Angel training - ensuring that you are aware of and know how to respond to an insider threat or green-on-blue incident. Two days is spent on learning how RS HQs conducts its Security Force Assistance (SFA) mission and how the RS HQs staff works within the 8 Essential Functions framework. Read more in "Resolute Support trains its people, improving advisor training", U.S. Central Command, June 26, 2017.

Logistics Advising in Afghanistan. The current coalition mission in Afghanistan is to train, advise, and assist (TAA) the Afghan police and military. From a logistics standpoint, creating a self-sustaining afghan military is an important step forward to ensure the Afghans can independently secure their borders and provide for internal security. A logistics advisor, to be effective, must understand that the Western military logistics framework and culture is not a good fit for Afghanistan's military or culture. Read more in "Moving forward with logistics advising in Afghanistan",, May 1, 2017.

Report: Islamic State in Afghanistan. Abdul Basit has penned a 21-page article entitled "IS Penetration in Afghanistan-Pakistan: Assessment, Impact and Implications", Perspectives on Terrorism, Volume 11, No 3, June 2017. IS is now competing with al-Qaeda and the Taliban over recruitment, resources, and the loyalties of local militant groups. This has complicated the militant landscape, contributed to the Sunni-Shia conflict, and adds complexity to the effort of the Afghan government and its coalition partners.

Air Force Cross Awarded. An airman was awarded the Air Force Cross for heroism during the 2002 Operation Anaconda that took place in the Takur Gar area of Afghanistan. TSgt Keary Miller provided critical medical care to 10 wounded U.S. service members under dangerous conditions. Read more in "Survival on Takur Gar", Air Force Magazine, August 2017.

Bowe Bergdahl Trial Update. Bergdahl's long, drawn-out trial is proceeding ahead. A military judge made a key ruling saying that prosecutors can try the soldier on the charge of endangering his comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. See "Bowe Bergdahl case: Judge lets rare misbehavior charge proceed", Army Times, June 30, 2107.

BBC Podcast on Silk Road. This 40-minute long podcast is entitled "Silk Routes: Two Thousand Years of Trading". The economic highway from China, across Central Asia and Afghanistan, to Iran.

China's Silk Road in Afghanistan is a Bumpy Ride. The Chinese have made some important steps forward in providing investments in some key sectors of the Afghan - most notable is the mining sector. However, the return on investment is disappointing due to the deteriorating security situation. Read more in "Difficult Trek on Silk Road in Afghanistan", Asia Sentinel, June 29, 2017.

Afghans Fighting for Assad in Syria. Iran, over the past several years, has pressed into service citizens of Afghanistan to fight for the Assad regime in Syria. There are an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 Afghans fighting in the Syrian conflict. Read "How Iran Recruited Afghan Refugees to Fight Assad's War", The New York Times, June 30, 2017.

General Dunford Visits Afghanistan. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs (and former ISAF commander) visited Kabul and Helmand province to gain ground truth on the Afghan conflict. See "Dunford arrives in Afghanistan as Marines work to rekindle relations in Helmand", Military Times, June 26,2017.

Video of Guardian Angel Training. Australian troops in Afghanistan are conducting the train, advise, and assist mission. This entails advisors and trainers visiting Afghan police and Army installations and garrisons. With the constant threat of insurgent attacks as well as the insider threat the need exists for a force protection element to accompany the advisors on their missions. Watch a short video about Australian soldiers assigned the "Guardian Angel" task of keeping their fellow Aussie soldiers safe in Guardian Angels Protecting Australian Soldiers in Afghanistan, Perth Now, June 27, 2017.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Afghanistan - HeForShe Campaign - Video

The gender equality solidarity campaign, HeForShe, was launched in Afghanistan in June 2015 under the slogan "A Brave Man Stands for Women". This documentary brings together the voices of men and women supporting the campaign; sharing their personal experiences of standing up and speaking out for gender equality in Afghanistan.

MAAS - Helping F-16 Pilots Stop on the Bagram Runway in Emergencies

If you are an F-16 Falcon pilot experiencing an emergency during a take off or landing at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan - how do you stop from careening down the runway (i.e. brake failure)? You can get help from the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron! The 544th ECES sets up the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System (MAAS) on the runway at Bagram Airfield for exactly this type of event. The MAAS is a barrier used to catch the arresting hook of fighter aircraft in case of malfunction upon landing or take off. Watch a video on this topic by the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Afghan Snippets

World Bank Approves Grants. The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved $120 million in grants for Afghanistan. The grant will improve infrastructure and social services, strengthen Afghanistan's financial sector. This includes improving the capacity of the central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank. (Khaama Press, Oct 29, 2016). See also a report by the World Bank entitled "World Bank Group Outlines Afghanistan Support to Cut Poverty", The World Bank, October 27, 2016.

Green Beret Describes 7-Hour Battle in Afghanistan. A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier was critically wounded during a long firefight in Shok Valley, Afghanistan in 2008. He describes being shot during an operation with about 100 Afghan Commandos. A bullet went through the side of his pelvis severely damaging the ball and socket of his hip. A second bullet hit him in the bicep and thigh. Read about the firefight and his MEDEVAC in this story (Scout, October 28, 2016).

Civilian Outreach? Conducting a counterinsurgency campaign is more than just military action against insurgents. COIN is a comprehensive approach that requires engagement with the civilian sector (economic, development, political, governance, etc.). This in turn requires the deployment of civilians with specific areas of expertise. One such discipline is that of civil engineering. Read the story on a civilian getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan in "Corps of Engineers Project Management Chief deploying to Afghanistan", DVIDS, October 28, 2016.

Video - Sling Load Opn in Afghanistan. How do you move big equipment containers to remote areas that have dangerous roads and rough terrain? Use a big U.S. Army Chinook helicopter and sling load the equipment container from below. Watch a 7-min video on a chopper sling load operation. (U.S. Forces Afghanistan, October 27, 2016)

ICRC Update on Afghanistan. The International Committee of the Red Cross helps displaced persons and impoverished communities in Afghanistan. Read an update of their activities over the past several months in "Afghanistan: Facts and figures, July-September 2016", ICRC, October 27, 2016.

Brick Kilns Along Bagram / Kabul Road. I used to drive the road connecting Kabul to the huge U.S. base north of Kabul quite often. I always wondered about the many brick kilns along the road. Now I now more after reading this article "At Afghanistan's Brick Kilns, Debt Can Last Generations", ABC News, October 28, 2016.

SIGAR Report - Road Infrastructure. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has issued SIGAR 17-11 Audit entitled "Afghanistan's Road Infrastructure: Sustainment Challenges and Lack of Repairs Put U.S. Investment at Risk", SIGAR, October 2016.

Podcast - Afghan Ambassador to U.S. The Afghanistan ambassador to the United States was recently interviewed by the Hudson Institute. Listen to the conversation here. (Iowa Public Radio, Oct 27, 2016)

Peace Talks and Women? Supposedly Afghanistan has a plan to include women in the peace talks with the Taliban and other insurgent groups. It was supposed to have been wrote and disseminated in 2015 but nobody has seen it. Read more in "Afghanistan's Mysterious Vanishing Plan on Women and Peace Talks", Human Rights Watch, October 27, 2016.

The Birth of a Nation. Three hundred years ago an Afghan tribal leader took on two of the most powerful empires in the world and won the independence for Afghanistan. Mir Wais Hotak, a chief of the Pashtun Ghilji tribe based in Kandahar, helped resist Persian pressure to convert the Sunni population to Shia Islam. In the process of this revolt he helped to found a nation called Afghanistan. Read more in an article by Akhilesh Pillalamarri in "300 Years Ago, Afghanistan's 'George Washington' Died", The Diplomat, October 28, 2015.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Video - "Political and Human Rights of Women" by EU

Afghan Women Playing Football (Photo EU Oct 2016)

A video has been published by the European Union in Afghanistan entitled Political and Human Rights of Women (October 2, 2016). The video focuses on Afghan women's basic rights as well as their political involvement. It highlights the past achievements, persisting challenges, and future plans.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Video - "Afghanistan's Proudest Achievement"

ANA Soldiers Exiting AAF Chopper (photo from GoIRA video)
An inspirational video pushed out by the Afghan government on September 21, 2016 provides a 3 1/2 minute look at the progress the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have made over the past 15 years. While the video states that the ANDSF have attained many of their objectives the reality is that they are not quite there. Not by a long shot! If you need to be inspired by how much progress the Afghans have made in the security arena and don't mind a lot of embellishment and wishful thinking then the video is worth watching.

RS Cdr's News Conference - Some Facts and Some Spin

General John Nicholson recently conducted a press conference with reporters in Washington, D.C. Nicholson is the current commander of Resolute Support in Afghanistan. He had a few interesting comments to make. While his comments have a certain amount of spin it is also a very informative news conference.

GoIRA Controls 70%. According to Nicholson, the Afghan government forces controls 65% to 70% of the population, the Taliban controls 10% of the population, and the remainder is 'contested'. Hmmm. Lots of analysis could be done with those 'facts'. First of all control of the population is much different than control of terrain. If much of the population lives in the large cities then the percentage of terrain controlled by the Taliban is likely much more than 10% (which of course it is). Read more on this in "US commander in Afghanistan downplays Taliban control of 10 percent of population", The Long War Journal, September 23, 2016.

DoD News Release. For more DoD spin read "Afghan Security Forces Growing to Take Over Mission, General Says", Defense Media Activity, September 23, 2016. Nicholson emphasizes that the mission has changed from counterinsurgency to 'train, advise, and assist'. He stated that the Afghan security forces executed 'Operatin Shafaq' (or Dawn) in three successful phases - the defense of Kunduz (April and May), expansion of the security zone in Helmand, western Kandahar and Uruzgan (June and July), and then in Nangarhar later in the summer. The problem with his analysis is that the situation in Kunduz is still critical, Helmand's provincial capital (Lashkar Gah) is threatened (with 90% of the province controlled by the Taliban), and Uruzgan's provincial capital (Tarin Kowt) now under attack. So . . . . .

Checkpoints, SOF, and more. He points out the problem of too many checkpoints, how it dilutes offensive power, and leaves police units isolated and vulnerable. Nicholson also speaks about the effectiveness of Afghan SOF units but also about the misuse of these units (using them for conventional force units). A lot of topics (ISIS, ISK, TTP, IMU, troop levels, array of forces, expansion of advisory effort, framework nations, enablers, etc.) covered in this news conference.

DoD Video of News Conference- "Resolute Support Commander Briefs Reporters". Watch a 42-minute video of General Nicholson's news conference held on September 23, 2016 at the Pentagon.

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Airpower and COIN. Much of the focus on combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been the heavy use of airpower by the United States and its coalition partners. Some critics believe that air strikes are not enough and 'boots on the ground' are required. Others see a need for more special operations forces to train and advise the moderate Syrian rebels and the Iraqi military forces along with targeted strikes against ISIS leaders. Certainly what has become apparent is that ISIS will not be degraded or defeated by just airpower. One observer is Christoper A. Lawrence - the Executive Director and President of the Dupuy Institute. He has penned an article entitled "Airpower: Just Part of the Counterinsurgency Equation"Small Wars Journal, January 18, 2016.

His viewpoint is that there is no concrete evidence that airpower has destroyed an insurgency. I agree with the author that airpower is limited in its ability to counter an insurgency; but am troubled with comparing the Islamic State to an insurgency; I think they past the stage of insurgency in Iraq and Syria - at the moment. ISIS controls territory and masses forces to both gain and defend territory. Once an insurgency moves to a more conventional phase they start to present targets. Of course, more than just airpower is needed to defeat ISIS - advisors and ground forces are needed; but not necessarily U.S. ground troops.

A-29s Arrive in Kabul. The U.S. Air Force delivered four A-29 Super Tucanos to the Afghan Air Force in January 2016. Read more in "Afghan Air Force receives first four A-29s", U.S. Air Force News, January 19, 2016.

India's Mi-35 Helicopters. The four helicopters recently provided by India to the Afghan Air Force (AAF) are almost operational and may soon see combat in Helmand province. Read "India's Mi-35 Helicopters Ready for First Battle in Afghanistan", NDTV, January 21, 2016.

More C-208B Aircraft? The U.S. DoD has approved a new contract for 18 additional C-208B aircraft for the Afghan Air Force. The contract is worth about $55 million. (, Jan 22, 2016).

A-10 Retirement Delayed. "After trying to retire the battle-tested A-10 Warthog for the past two years, Air Force officials concede that the plane is key to the war on ISIS", Read "Air Force to Delay A-10 Retirement, Thanks to ISIS"Defense One, January 13, 2016.

Video - 25 Years of Bombing. The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) has produced a 5-minute long video entitled 25 Years of Bombing Iraq published on on January 14, 2016. The narrator provides a brief history of airpower and analyzes the contributions and limitations of airpower.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sarah Chayes - Corruption in Afghanistan

Sarah Chayes discusses her new book "Thieves of State". She lived in Afghanistan for ten years and served as an advisor to ISAF. Watch a one hour plus video where she discusses corruption in Afghanistan and around the world. She believes that an underlying cause of conflict is the presence of corruption. Posted on by the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) on April 24, 2015.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Video - EU in Afghanistan

The European Union in Afghanistan has published a short video entitled "This is How Afghanistan Can Become Peaceful and Prosperous" (March 19, 2015, 2 minutes long). The narrator says that "When we think of Afghanistan, we think of war, conflict and its violent past. But what about the future?" The video sends the message that Afghanistan sits at the centre of a natural corridor for trade and transit but in order to take advantage of this geographic advantage cooperation with other regional countries like China, Pakistan, Iran, India, and the Central Asian states is crucial. This video explains how regional cooperation would benefit Afghanistan and what the EU Delegation in Kabul is doing to help.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Video - "Afghan Faces: The Photographer"

Take a look into the life of a Kabul-based photographer. Ahmad Sohrab Taki likes to gather scenic shots form all provinces of Afghanistan, though this is sometimes not possible because of the security situation. Video posted on by NATO TV Channel, published March 19, 2015 (3 mins long).

Monday, March 16, 2015

Broadcast: UN Report on Afghanistan (Mar 16, 2015)

The UN Security Council is scheduled to discuss a recently published report by the United Nations on Afghanistan. "The Situation in Afghanistan" is published every three months detailing the activities of the United Nations in Afghanistan and related news on security, and development, human rights. It also discusses related regional events that affect Afghanistan. The discussion, to be held on March 16, 2015 at 10:00 am, will be broadcast of United Nations Web TV at the first link below. The report, published on February 27, 2015, is available to read on the UN Website at the second link below.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Video - "Spotlight on Security in Kabul"

A NATO Channel video about security in Kabul is posted on The video explains the security situation in Kabul and what the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) are doing to improve security. General Rahimi, the new Police Chief of Kabul, is interviewed about the security problems facing Kabul. In late 2014 there was a rise in violence by the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other insurgent groups. A number of ANSF casualties were inflicted as well as attacks against foreign Soldiers and members of the humanitarian community. The video is narrated by Lauren Muchan and published on March 3, 2015.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Video - Aftermath of the Endless War

The Miller Center of the University of Virginia presents a one-hour long video discussing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The panel consists of John Nagl and Daniel Bolger. Nagl, a retired Army LTC, was an early convert to the use of counterinsurgency to fight against the insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was a co-author of FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency, 2006. Bolger, a retired three-star general, served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Nagl is the author to two books and numerous articles published in various publications and Bolger is the author of a recent book entitled Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Nagl has an optimistic view of our accomplishments in both wars but Bolger has a more pessimistic view of the outcomes thus far. You can watch the panel discussion in the video found at the link below.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Video - "88 Days to Kandahar"

The former CIA station chief in Islamabad, Robert Grenier, discusses the time just after 9/11 when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. The video, hosted by Peter Bergen of New America, features Grenier - a long-time CIA operative. He discusses the few months when he found himself directing the "southern campaign", helping in the defeat of the Taliban, and assisting the rise to power of Hamid Karzai. Grenier also looks at the serious mistakes made by the United States in Afghanistan and offers some recommendations for the future. Grenier believes the U.S. should adopt a sustainable effort in Afghanistan. A phrase used in the video is "Go Long, Go Light". The video, entitled "88 Days to Kandahar", is 90 minutes long and posted on YouTube.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Video - "Afghan Faces: The Engineer"

NATO Channel has posted (Jan 3, 2015) a video on YouTube profiling the work and life of a young Afghan engineer who is working for the Afghan government. The video, 2 minutes long, is available for viewing at the link below.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Video - 789th EOD to Deploy to Afghanistan

The 789th Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company from Fort Benning, GA will deploy to Afghanistan to advise and assist the Afghan EOD units, and also to provide support for US military Soldiers active in the region. A news video depicting their departure is posted on YouTube by the Ledger Enquirer. (2 mins long).

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Lara Logan Interviews COMISAF

Lara Logan interviews General John Campbell and President Ghani for a "60 Minutes" segment. The interview (about 14 mins long) is entitled "Ending America's Longest War". During the interview several topics are presented and discussed: retrograde operations, the lights of Kabul at night, the ability of the ANSF to fight alone, the ANSF special operations forces, funding of the ANSF post-2014, operating on President Obama's timeline, frustration with Pakistan, worries about ISIS, concern about an Iraq situation in Afghanistan post-2014, President Ghani's outlook on Afghanistan, Ghani's expression of a flexible timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops, and the topic of sanctuaries in Pakistan for the Taliban comes up as well.

Video - COMISAF Interview

General John Campbell, ISAF Commander, was interviewed by ABC News. He addressed the purpose of the mission under Resolute Support - which is Train, Advise, and Assist (TAA) at the Corps and ministry level. In addition, special operators, in a TAA will accompany their Afghan counterparts at the lower unit level. He addressed whether the war was worth fighting - saying he was in the camp that says the war was worth it; dismissing a recent poll that reflected a contrary view by the U.S. public. He also answered questions on the high profile attacks in Kabul that have increased lately. No big news here - good to hear the General is staying on message!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Video - CNN clip on New ISAF Mission

A recently published news video explains ISAF's new mission in Afghanistan - Resolute Support. There is a massive change in the size of the international forces and its mission. There is a transition from combat operations to a Train, Advise, and Assist mission. The size of the international force is now down to about 13,000 of which 11,000 are U.S. personnel. Combat operations are restricted to force protection and self-defense. There will be operations that will continue to target remnants of al-Qaeda still in Afghanistan. In addition the Coalition will provide limited air support to the ANSF. Watch "U.S. mission is changing", CNN International, by Jim Sciutto, December 30, 2014.