News Update on the Afghan War 20161228 – Celebrated Afghan female Air Force pilot chooses to seek asylum in the United States, regional powers ‘threatened’ by Afghan insecurity, disposition of junk Afghan military vehicles, Taliban peace talks sabotaged by Pakistan, and more.
Regional Powers to Meet in Moscow. Russia is hosting a meeting with China and Pakistan on the ‘gradually growing threat’ posed to their borders by Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan. ISIS has established a foothold in the eastern regions of Afghanistan – principally in the provinces of Nangarhar, Kunar, and perhaps Nuristan as well. The status of the Taliban will also be discussed as well. Read more in “China, Pakistan, Russia to Meet on Afghanistan, Angering Kabul Leaders”, Voice of America, December 26, 2016.
(MY THOUGHTS) – Not much of a constructive nature is going to be coming out of this series of meetings. Russia seeks to continue the U.S. quagmire in Afghanistan, China is not opposed to the U.S. continuing difficulties (although from an economic perspective it probably would like more secure trade routes), and we all know that Pakistan likes the current situation exactly as it is.
Peace Talks Sabotaged by Pakistan. Mujib Mashal of the NYT has a piece describing the history of peaces talks with the Taliban. A senior Norwegian diplomat was at the center of the peace talks and he provides some behind the scenes details of the years-long effort. “. . . Pakistan, in particular, has been a central obstacle to any negotiated peace with the Taliban”. See “How Peace Between Afghanistan and the Taliban Foundered”, The New York Times, December 26, 2016.
Disposing of Junk Military Vehicles of MoI / MoD. One huge problem that has yet to be fixed within the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) is the problem of junk, scrap, disabled, or destroyed vehicles. Many of these vehicles are still on the books sitting in the back of motor pools at the various echelons of the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan National Police (ANP). Fuel at one time (probably still is) was allocated based on the number of vehicles that are ‘operational’ on the books. If a vehicle is listed as non-FMC (not fully mission capable) or is turned in for repairs or disposal then the fuel allocation for the unit is reduced. If a unit declares 50% of its vehicles non-FMC then it loses 50% of its fuel allocation. One would argue that this impacts the units operational readiness. Yes, it does. But it also, more importantly from the Afghan commander’s point of view, impacts on how much of the fuel he can sell on the black market to pad his pockets with money. One program may help put a stop to the fuel corruption. Read “Demilitarization program re-quips Afghan Forces”, DVIDS, December 26, 2016.