Afghan war news update for 20161227 – Afghanistan has lots of generals, video of C-130J capabilities, Iran and Russia encircling U.S. in Afghanistan, video – “Bagram Airfield: 2016 Year in Review”, the downside of NDS funding “uprising militias”, and more.
First Female Afghan AAF Pilot Seeks Asylum. Captain Niloofar Rahmani has been celebrated as the first female fixed-wing Afghan Air Force pilot for the last few years. The U.S. government trotted her out on numerous photo opportunities as evidence that the Afghan government and military are making great strides on the treatment of women in Afghan society and inclusiveness within the security forces. Not so much. CPT Rahmani has been subjected to threats, shunned by her male colleagues, and the Afghan Air Force stopped paying her salary even while she was attending a 15-month long flight training program in the United States. On December 22nd she applied for asylum in the United States. Read more in “A Female Afghan Pilot Soars and Gives Up”, The New York Times, December 23, 2016.
How Many Generals Does an Army Need? If you are in Afghanistan . . . you need lots. Afghanistan has more generals than the United States even though the U.S military is three times as large. Many generals are extremely unqualified and have their position as a result of political patronage. Read more in “Being an Afghan General is Nice Work if you Can Get It. And Many Do”, The New York Times, December 19, 2016.
C-130J Capabilities Video. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan provides us with a quick peek at some of the capabilities of the USAF C-130J Hercules aircraft. DVIDS, December 6, 2016.
Downside of NDS Funding “Uprising Militias”. Afghanistan is burdened with warlords, strongmen, and regional power brokers. Many of these powerful men have their private militias – some of which are funded by the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The NDS is the equivalent of the U.S. CIA and FBI combined and is a very powerful and effective security institution. The Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP) has had difficulty in defeating the ongoing insurgency and the Afghan government is looking for help from private militia groups. Unfortunately the human rights record of some of these militia groups is spotty. Read more in “Afghanistan funds abusive militias as US military ‘ignores’ situation, officials say”, The Guardian, December 26, 2016. (Of course, this article is posted in The Guardian, so . . .)
Bagram Airfield – 2016 in Review. The 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan had a busy 2016. Watch a short (1-min) video listing its achievements in “Bagram Airfield: 2016 Year in Review”, DVIDS, December 22, 2016.
Iran and Russia Cooperating Against U.S.? There is concern about reports that Russia and Iran are cooperating with the Taliban. Both see an opportunity to hurt America’s influence in Afghanistan and the greater Central and South Asia region. See “Iran, Russia See Opportunity to Encircle the US in Afghanistan”, The Diplomat, December 24, 2016.
The Weathermen of Bagram. Watch a short video (1 min) of how an airman with the 455th OSS supports air operations at Bagram Airfield. See “Eye on the sky at Bagram Airfield”, DVIDS, December 4,2016.