Afghanistan War Update 20170105

Plane taking off from Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in late 2016 (Photo from RS HQs video)
Plane taking off from Hamid Karzai International Airport (HKIA) in late 2016 (Photo from RS HQs video)

Afghan Conflict Update 20170105 – Obama’s ‘Good War’, Afghan women fighting the Taliban, Afghan economy, videos, Badakhshan’s Taliban, Asia Foundation survey, 203rd Corps Cd injured, Russia and the Taliban, unconventional logistics, civilian meteorologists, ‘four-year plan’, and more.

Obama’s ‘Good War’. President Obama came into office eight years ago intent on getting out of the ‘bad war’ – leaving the quagmire of Iraq behind. Thanks to the Iraqi Parliament not approving the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) the president was successful of  seeing Iraq fade in the rear view mirror – only to have it splatter on his windshield a few years later. Afghanistan – the ‘good war’ – was one conflict he felt necessary and one that could be ‘won’. That too has changed. Read on how the administration’s strategy went from finishing up a good war to keeping a lid on a volatile situation and maintaining a regional counterterrorism capability in “The Afghan War and the Evolution of Obama”The New York Times, January 1, 2017.

Afghan Women Taking Up Arms. Private militias and local security groups at the community level are not unusual in Afghanistan. But when they are made up of women then that is uncommon. Read more in “More women join fight against Taliban and ISIS in North of Afghanistan”Khaama Press, January 2, 2017.

203rd Corps Cdr Injured. The commander fo the 203rd Thunder Corps based in Gardez, Afghanistan was injured in an IED bomb attack while traveling by vehicle in Logar province. Read a news report by Khaama Press, January 1, 2017.

Afghan Economy and Security. Masuda Sultan writes about the importance of improving Afghanistan’s economy but acknowledges the security concerns that hinder economic growth in “Saving Private Enterprise in Afghanistan”The New York Times, January 2, 2017.

‘Four-Year Plan for ANDSF’. The Afghan government has approved a 4-year plan for the development of the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. Read more in a news report by Khaama Press, January 3, 2017.

Badakhshan’s Tajik Taliban. The most northeastern province of Afghanistan – mostly of the Tajik ethnic group – was long considered secure from Taliban encroachment. Not so much anymore. Read up in “The Non-Pashtun Taliban of the North: A case study from Badakhshan”Afghanistan Analysts Network, January 3, 2017.

Badakhshan – and Precious Minerals. There is money to be made in one of the most remote provinces in Afghanistan. The world-famous stones of Afghanistan – the lapis lazuli – has been extracted from the mines of the province for centuries.One would think that these mines would bring prosperity to the local communities but political intrigue, personal feuds, and insecurity stands in the way. For a detailed account of the situation read Franz J. Marty’s account in “The Personal Feud That’s Strangling Afghanistan’s Precious Mineral Trade”The National Interest, November 27, 2016.

Video – 451st AEG – 2016 in Review. The 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar  is one of five groups composing the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan. Watch a short video that describes just how busy the 451st was during 2016 in Kandahar Airfield: 2016 Year in Review, December 29, 2016.

Russia Courting the Taliban. Pakistan, China, and Russia – all good friends of the U.S. – recently convened a conference about establishing a peace process for Afghanistan. The Afghan government was not invited. In an attempt to undermine the NATO mission in Afghanistan – Resolute Support – and America’s objectives as well; Russia is urging cooperation with the Taliban. Read more in “Russia’s New Favorite Jihadis: The Taliban”The Daily Beast, January 3, 2017.

Video – Survey of Afghan People. Every year the Asian Foundation conducts a comprehensive survey of the Afghan people on a variety of topics. Watch a six-minute long video that describes how the survey is conducted.

Female Pilot Seeks Asylum. A female pilot for the Afghan Air Force is hoping to be able to stay in the United States. She just graduated from a 15-month long training program in the U.S. and has asked for asylum fearful of threats against her and her family by the Taliban. The Afghan government is incensed – of course. Read more in a news report by Voice of America, January 2, 2017.

Unconventional Logistics. The roads in Afghanistan are not secure. IEDs are plentiful and the Taliban set up roadblocks frequently. So supplies and equipment for U.S. forces don’t go by road most of the time. That means that unconventional methods need to be used to provide for the sustainment needs. Even if that means using a Russian IL-76 airframe to deliver the goods to U.S. forces in Helmand province. Read more in “Unconventional Logistics in Afghanistan”U.S. Army, December 28, 2016.

Afghanistan and Trump. Once the Trump Administration takes office it must consider its strategy in Afghanistan. Listen / watch a 2 1/2 hour long discussion on the topic presented by The Heritage Foundation on December 10, 2016 entitled Advancing the Afghanistan Mission Under a Trump AdministrationA number of distinguished speakers in the forum include Dr. Hamdullah Mohib (Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United States), James Cunningham (former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan), Luke Coffey, Soctt Smith, Peter Brookes, Clare Lockhart, Scott Worden, Abubakr Siddique, and Lisa Curtis.

Transition in Progress – Afghan Civilian Meteorologists. There is lots to be done if one is conducting ‘nation-building’ – which of course – is exactly what we are attempting in Afghanistan. The establishment of security, development, and governance reaches into all aspects of Afghan life and this includes the weather. Especially when it comes to managing aviation. Learn how Resolute Support is attempting to transition aviation meteorologist responsibilities to the Afghans in a short video released by RS HQs on January 3, 2017 entitled “Afghan Civilian Meteorologists integrated at KAIA”.

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