Afghanistan News Update – SOF News

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Afghanistan news – Topics include SOF burning the candle at both ends, contractors in Afghanistan, National ID card, Afghan documentary on Helmand province, and Afghan mental health issues.

US SOF Burning Both Ends of Candle in Afghanistan. Phillip Lohaus, a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes on how things are not going so well in Afghanistan. Currently there is one Special Forces battalion (SOTF-A) advising ten Afghan National Army Special Operations Kandaks (SOKs). For the SOTF-A to ‘Train, Advise, and Assist’ more would be stretching its capabilities and diminishing its effectiveness. Read Lohaus’s article posted at The Cipher Brief, August 18, 2016.

A Lot of Contractors in Afghanistan. According to a new congressional report Defense Department contractors make up 77 percent of the total US presence in Afghanistan. As of March 2016 there are almost 29,000 in the country. Read the CRS report dated August 15, 2016 posted on the Federation of American Scientist (FAS) website.

“Afghan Women Are More Than Victims”. Marzia Nawrozi, a contributing writer for Afghan Women’s Writing Project and Free Women Writers, has wrote an article about how women have been “. . . portrayed as weak voiceless victims of violence.” She says that this is a “. . . one-dimensional portrayal  . . .” Read more in “Afghan Women are More Than Victims”Free Women Writers, August 12, 2016.

Staying for a While? Some analysis believe that the United States is going to be in Afghanistan for quite a long time. They see a Taliban insurgency that will continue to threaten the Afghan government’s hold on the countryside, the emergence of the Islamic State in Afghanistan, and the continued threat of terrorism finding a base in Afghanistan. Read more in “Why the U.S. Won’t Be Leaving Afghanistan Any Time Soon”Strator, August 16, 2016.

New Afghan Documentary. A documentary is forthcoming about the British in Musa Qala district, Helmand province, Afghanistan. Read a review of “Heroes of Helmand: The British Army’s Great Escape”, Task and Purpose, August 16, 2016.

COMRS Concerned about NUG Disagreements. General Nicholson, the commander of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, has some concerns about the current troubles between CEO Abdullah and President Ghani. Read more in “US Commander to Afghan Leaders: Don’t Let Political Process Undermine Security”Voice of America, August 18, 2016.

Mental Health Issues in Afghanistan. “After almost 40 years of conflict and crisis, experts say the vast majority of the Afghan population suffers from some form of post-traumatic stress disorder, . . .” Read more in “After Years of War, Afghans Wary to Talk of Mental Health”ABC News, August 18, 2016.

Afghan ID Cards. A good idea, poorly implemented. Read how “Afghan ID cards were meant to stop voter fraud but instead stoked ethnic division”The Washington Post, August 18, 2016.

Child Soldiers in Afghanistan. The Child Soldier Prevention Act of 2008 restricts the U.S. government from providing military assistance to a foreign nation if it employs child soldiers. A recent UN report from April 2016 found that Afghanistan employed child soldiers within the Afghan Local Police (ALP). Many human rights activists want to see Afghanistan added to this list. Greg Graff argues that we need to be careful on this issue – that much is at stake. Read more in his report posted on American Enterprise Institute (AEI), August 17, 2016.

Afghan Interpreters at Peril? The US Congress is having difficulty in assisting around 10,000 Afghans who served for years as interpreters for US military forces in Afghanistan. And now the Taliban are slowly getting back – targeting these out-of-work interpreters in killings. The Visa program to bring these loyal Afghans to the U.S. is getting shut down by Congress yet the Obama administration wants to bring in thousands of unvetted Syrian immigrants. Who do we blame here? Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Jeff Sessions of Alabama – playing politics in an election year; instead of doing what is right. Where’s the justice? Read more in “Dimming Hope for Afghan Translators”The New York Times, August 18, 2018.

Violence Against Women – Afghanistan. Amy Jo Davies has penned an article entitled “How Does Violence Against Women Manifest? The Case of Post-Conflict Afghanistan”E-International Relations, August 18, 2016.

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