Afghan War News Update 20171123

Italian Special Operations Forces (SOF) mentor Afghan security forces while conducting an EAP mission to Farah province (RS HQs photo August 11, 2017).
Italian Special Operations Forces (SOF) mentor Afghan security forces while conducting an EAP mission to Farah province (RS HQs photo August 11, 2017).

Afghan War News Update 20171123 – UK’s role in the Afghan counter narcotics campaign, proposed formation of ANATF, new ANDSF (and RS) offensive against opium production in Helmand, RS Cdr’s weekly presser, gender equality in ANDSF, ICC and war crimes, ALP in Achin district, and more.

UK’s Experience in Afghan Counter Narcotics Campaign. David Mansfield provides a detailed look at the history of the United Kingdom’s experience as first the ‘lead nation’ and then as a ‘partner nation’ in the counter narcotics campaign in Afghanistan. Mansfield has a PhD in development studies, is the author of “A State Built on Sand: How opium undermined Afghanistan”. He has also worked for the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit since 2005. Read his article in “The Rise of Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan: When will too much be enough?“, Hurst Publications, November 15, 2017.

New Offensive Against Opium Refineries. The narcotics trade in Afghanistan has grown significantly over the past few years. In addition to exporting raw opium, drug traffickers are now running opium processing plants. Much of the opium is grown in Helmand province. The Afghan security forces – with a little help from the U.S. is trying to stem the narcotics trade in Helmand province. A recent offensive that kicked off in the later part of November will hopefully go a long way to that end. Read “Afghan, US forces launch new campaign to destroy Taliban funding networks”Resolute Support, November 20, 2017.

RS HQs Push for Gender Equality. The United Nations and European countries have been pushing hard for gender equality in Afghan society and in the countries security forces. Glowing reports from Resolute Support Headquarters citing increased female members in the security forces would lead one to believe all is well. But . . . the reality is much different. In fact, the big push for gender equality in the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) may be counterproductive and a waste of scarce resources (time, money, advisors, staff actions, etc.). Read one reporters opinion on the topic in “The Dangers of Forcing Gender Equality in Afghanistan”The New York Times, November 21, 2017.

RS Cdr’s Weekly Press Conference. General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, presented an update on the security situation in Afghanistan during a press conference on Afghanistan on Monday, November 20th. You can watch a video of the press conference.

Formation of ANATF. The Ministry of Defense (and U.S.) have been looking at a proposal to establish a new local, defense force. The units would come under the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and be locally based – along the lines of the U.S. Army Reserve or National Guard units found across the United States. This proposed plan has caused many to speak out on the topic. Read more in “UN concerned by controversial US plan to revive Afghan militias”The Guardian, November 19, 2017.

ICC and War Crimes. The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor is requesting that a full investigation take place on war crimes committed in Afghanistan. This could include an investigation into members of the U.S. military as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. (Deutsche Welle, Nov 20, 2017).

ALP is 1st Line of Defense in Achin District. The Afghan Local Police or ALP was established by the Combined Joint Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) in 2010. Since then units have been formed in 31 of 34 provinces across Afghanistan in remote or unsecured districts. Today they continue to be an effective local-community defense force – although some have been co-opted by regional strong-men and other nefarious leaders. Read how the ALP in Achin district, Nangarhar province has become the first line of defense against the Taliban and the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (IS-KP) in “Afghan Local Police, Controversial Force That Fills Security Gap” Voice of America, November 20, 2017.

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