Russia donates 10,000 AK-47s to Afghanistan
Russia has donated 10,000 AK-47 assault rifles and about one million rounds of ammunition to Afghanistan as part of its military aid to the country. The arms and ammunition arrived on 24 February in a Russian aircraft at the military airport in Kabul. As IHS Jane's reported earlier, the donation was announced back in November 2015.
In a small ceremony the arms and ammunition were received by Alexander Mantytskiy, the Russian ambassador in Afghanistan, and Mohammad Anif Atmar, Afghanistan's national security advisor.
Mantytskiy put the donation of the AK-47s in the context of Russia's longstanding support of the Afghan government, while Atmar described the donation as "an important aid, from an important friend of Afghanistan at an important time" as part of an earlier signed co-operation agreement between Moscow and Kabul.
While the Afghan government is currently working to start negotiations for a political settlement with armed opposition groups such as the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hezb-i Islami, Atmar said that, despite hopes for peace, the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) nonetheless need to ready themselves to defend the country.
In this regard, he said that Afghanistan is seeking further military assistance from the international community and explicitly mentioned not only light and heavy weapons such as artillery, but also aircraft, in particular attack helicopters. Negotiations with Russia for additional military equipment are already under way, but there are no details available yet, he added.
Meanwhile In Afghanistan
Posted 01 March 2016 - 1358 PM
Posted 18 March 2016 - 0838 AM
More than a dozen U.S. military personnel have been disciplined but face no criminal charges for mistakes that led to the bombing of a Doctors Without Borders hospital that killed 42 people in Afghanistan last year, U.S. defense officials say.
The punishments, which have not been publicly announced, are largely administrative. But in some cases the actions, such as letters of reprimand, are tough enough to effectively end chances for further promotion. ()
The disciplined include both officers and enlisted personnel, but officials said none are generals.
Médecins Sans Frontières demands an independent international investigation:
general overview of the risks for hospitals
Posted 19 March 2016 - 1210 PM
U.S. Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS After It Gains Territory in Afghanistan
By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
MARCH 18, 2016
WASHINGTON The United States has significantly intensified its bombing campaign in Afghanistan in the past two months as part of President Obamas widening war against the Islamic State militants who have seized territory outside of Iraq and Syria, according to senior military commanders.
American drones and fighter jets dropped 251 bombs and missiles in January and February in Afghanistan, more than three times the strikes in the same period last year, according to data compiled by the Air Force.
The strikes came in response to a decision by Mr. Obama around the beginning of the year that gave the military more leeway to launch attacks on Islamic State militants who had gained control over territory in several provinces, including areas in the Tora Bora region, where Osama bin Laden once took refuge.
Afghan and American commanders said that while the strikes have dealt a blow to the Islamic State, they have broader concerns about the security situation in Afghanistan because the Taliban appear stronger than at any point since 2001, and its 20,000 to 40,000 fighters are estimated to be at least 20 times the number of militants aligned with the Islamic State.
The widening nature of the air campaign and the fact that the United States is increasing its strikes in Afghanistan a little more than a year after Mr. Obama declared an end to combat missions there has set off a debate inside the administration and among national security experts. Some have questioned whether the administration should treat each emerging Islamic State affiliate as a legitimate threat to the United States that requires a military response, and whether the focus should be more on the Taliban than the Islamic State.
Under the current rules of engagement ordered by Mr. Obama, American forces can attack the Taliban if they pose a direct threat to those forces. The military has far more latitude to engage fighters from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Gen. John F. Campbell, the departing American commander in Afghanistan, said that broader authority granted to him by Mr. Obama to attack Islamic State fighters had enabled him to take more aggressive measures against the terrorist group.
Weve significantly increased our ability to go after ISIL, particularly inbNangarhar, General Campbell said, referring to the province in eastern Afghanistan that includes part of the Tora Bora mountain region.
General Campbell had asked the administration to give the military more authority to strike the Taliban.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. , the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , and Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter are in the process of making recommendations to Mr. Obama that would expand the militarys authority in Afghanistan.
The potential changes would make us more effective in supporting Afghan forces in 2016, General Dunford said Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a private organization that tracks airstrikes, said that between 332 and 359 people have been killed in American air attacks in January and February, five times the number from the first two months of 2015.
The strikes this year occurred at the highest rate since American aircraft launched 490 strikes in 2013, according to the Air Force. In the same period in 2014, there were 206 airstrikes. There were 70 in that time in 2015.
Three-quarters of the strikes this year were conducted by drones, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The organization said one civilian a child was killed in the attacks.
Afghanistan is at least the fourth country where Mr. Obama has struck fighters aligned with the Islamic State. Along with the daily bombings against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria, the United States has conducted strikes and operations in Libya in recent months.
Mr. Obama, who has been criticized for not acting forcefully enough to defeat the Islamic State, adopted a two-pronged strategy last year for defeating the group.
That approach focused on pushing the Islamic State out of the main cities it controlled in Iraq and Syria with the use of Arab forces on the ground and American airpower, and defeating the affiliates that had metastasized elsewhere in the Middle East, Africa and southwest Asia.
Some officials and experts contend that the affiliates merely represent the opportunistic rebranding by existing local militant groups seeking global notoriety and, possibly, financial or technical assistance.
But others argue that the affiliates which have governed some cities and towns under strict Islamic law, and have shown a penchant for brutal violence must be stopped before they grow.
There is no limit if one decides we should go after ISIS wherever it is, said Paul R. Pillar, a former C.I.A. analyst who teaches at Georgetown University.
Many of the Islamic State militants in Afghanistan are former members of the Pakistani Taliban, who were pushed over the border into Afghanistan after operations by the Pakistani military, according to military commanders. They are not nearly as capable of pulling off complex attacks as Daesh, as the Islamic State is also called, in Iraq and Syria, according to Brig. Gen. Wilson Shoffner, the military spokesman in Kabul.
They do not have the ability to orchestrate operations in more than one part of the country at a time, General Shoffner said this month in a briefing with reporters. Were also not seeing what we would consider command-and-control by Daesh elements in Iraq or Syria dictating or orchestrating operations here in Afghanistan.
Last summer, the group controlled land in at least six provinces across the country, according to the military commanders. But in recent weeks, Afghanistans president, Ashraf Ghani, and American military commanders said that the air campaign and ground operations by Afghan forces have confined the militants to one province.
We are proud that Afghanistan is the only country where Daesh is on the run,
Mr. Ghani said this month in an address to the Afghan Parliament. Today, they are fleeing from Nangarhar, and Afghanistan will be their graveyard.
Along with the airstrikes, American commanders said the Islamic State, which receives little money from outside Afghanistan, has been hurt by the Taliban, as the groups have fought over revenue streams.
Thats one of the reasons why Daesh has struggled here in Afghanistan, because they are attempting to fund themselves in large part by generating revenue streams within Afghanistan, General Shoffner said.
A Pentagon spokesman, Jeff Davis, said Friday, Although considerable challenges remain, the department is confident that the Afghan security forces are continuing to develop the capabilities and capacity to secure the country against a persistent insurgent threat.
Posted 19 March 2016 - 1305 PM
Just surprised to see IS in Afghanistan...
Edited by JasonJ, 19 March 2016 - 1312 PM.
Posted 20 March 2016 - 0608 AM
Just surprised to see IS in Afghanistan...
Al Qaeda is so nineties. daesh are the new cool kids.
Posted 21 March 2016 - 1218 PM
unfortunately you are very correct
Sometimes I hate it when I am right.
With recently sharply reduced wages and benefits within daesh held territory they seem to have serious financial troubles. And when they cannot wave around the big green dollar bills, they are going to be not as attractive to prospective derkaderkas. Which then probably join either the taleban or some druglord in afgahnistan.
Posted 21 March 2016 - 1222 PM
Konduz Hospital Attack: Where the Report Didnt Go
basically he argues, that it is a systemic problem and the soldiers had been not trained to handle the situation correctly including their leadership. And no one is going to.fix the protocols as similar past incidents show.
Posted 23 March 2016 - 1435 PM
NATO's Resolute Support Commander, U.S. Army General John W. Nicholson addressed the Kunduz
Provincial Governor and members of the community yesterday, apologizing for the accidental attack on the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in October last year. Nicholsons wife, Ms. Norine MacDonald accompanied him to Kunduz and also spoke of the profound sorrow experienced.
Families of those affected by the tragedy were also in attendance.
Posted 31 March 2016 - 0041 AM
Posted 13 April 2016 - 0848 AM
The Taliban in Afghanistan declared the start of their fighting season on Tuesday, vowing to take control of more territory and launch large-scale attacks against the Kabul government and its foreign allies, including the U.S.
The proclamation has become an annual rite for the Islamist movement and usually heralds an increase in violence. The declaration coincides with the onset of spring, when snow melts and mountain passes open, enabling the groups fighters to move more freely in many parts of the country.
It will be the first offensive since last summers disclosure that Taliban founder and spiritual leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had died two years earlier. In their statement on Tuesday, the Islamist movement said it had named the current fighting season Operation Omari in their late leaders honor.
The ANSF is unprepared to counter the Taliban militants summer campaign. Northern warlords will take advantage of Taliban militants gains to establish themselves as security providers and gain leverage against the fragile National Unity Government.()
Northern warlords and political opposition groups are increasing pressure on the fragile National Unity Government in the face of these security challenges, hindering the administrations ability to respond to insurgent offensives.
Northern warlords are taking advantage of this pressure to extract concessions. General Atta Noor and General Abdul Rashid Dostum preemptively activated their competing personal militias in Balkh, Faryab, and Jowzjan Provinces in late February and early March in order to counter the Taliban militants summer campaign. Atta and Dostum seek to establish themselves as leading security providers, challenging national institutions and one another. Political opposition groups like the Afghanistan Protection and Stability Council (APSC) and the newly formed National Solidarity parliamentary bloc continue to criticize the National Unity Government for its inability to provide security or enact electoral reforms, pressuring the Ghani-Abdullah administration. President Ashraf Ghani has responded to this criticism by dismissing several significant government officials in late March in a struggle over cabinet composition and electoral reform with CEO and rival Abdullah Abdullah. Atta is Abdullah Abdullahs primary backer, and his saber rattling is aimed at President Ghani. Dostum, the sitting First Vice President, recently reconciled with Ashraf Ghani and returned to participating actively in government. He has mobilized to counter Atta, as well as the Taliban.
read the rest: http://post.understa...t-april-12-2016
also has a map of who controls what.
Posted 13 April 2016 - 0906 AM
They Cannot Remove Me by Force: A Strongman on Afghan Infighting
By JAWAD SUKHANYAR and ROD NORDLAND
APRIL 2, 2016
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, Afghanistan One of the most powerful players in Afghanistan , Atta Muhammad Noor, says he would be willing to step down from his post as a northern provincial governor as soon as the central government reappoints him to the spot.
He was actually dismissed as governor of Balkh Province, a vital commercial hub that includes the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, a year and a half ago by President Ashraf Ghani, as part of a mass firing of all 34 Afghan provincial governors. But he has refused to give up either the office or the powers of the job, which he has held since 2004, and so far Mr. Ghanis government has not publicly pushed the matter.
The standoff speaks volumes about the state of internal politics in Afghanistan, and about the infighting that continues between the factions that both claimed to have won the 2014 presidential election.
I should be given my approval letter from the president, Mr. Noor told The New York Times on Tuesday in a rare interview. Once he is formally governor again, he said, then we decide about it.
If it is necessary for me to step down, he continued, we decide what to do next and who should become governor here. They cannot remove me by force I am with my people.
The factional tension has roiled the Afghan political establishment for months.
And a week ago, it broke out into violence between supporters of Mr. Noor and supporters of the first vice president, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum , Mr. Noors longtime rival, after men said to be loyal to Mr. Noor pulled down a billboard picture of General Dostum. Although both men are on the governments side against the insurgency, Afghans recalled the civil war in the 1990s, when the two strongmen fought each other as bitterly as they opposed the Taliban.
Mr. Noor is the most powerful Tajik politician in northern Afghanistan, and he is a supporter of Abdullah Abdullah, the presidential candidate who now shares power with Mr. Ghani as chief executive of their National Unity Government. General Dostum, an Uzbek leader, supports President Ghani.
Mr. Ghanis camp has a powerful incentive to want Mr. Noor out: Balkh is a rich source of patronage jobs. Mr. Noor has been widely reported to have grown rich through his control of lucrative cross-border trade with northern neighbors, including Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, and a new governor could be expected to divert some of those spoils.
Mr. Noor sat down to discuss his future, and that of the National Unity Government, in his palatial personal residence here, under a massive chandelier, often speaking in harsh tones about his political opponents in government. He made scant reference to the war against the Taliban.
Here are excerpts from the interview, translated from Dari:
On rumors of a deal to leave the governorship: I have not received any messages about that. I spoke with the president twice in detail. We talked about bringing changes, but I also told him this: that I did not inherit this province so that I should be its governor forever. I gave an example that if still water is left in one place too long, it will start to stink. But I also told him, I dont want to be a victim of your campaign slogans.
On the governments legitimacy and stability: A legitimate government is one that is formed as a result of free and fair elections, as the result of the blue-inked fingers of the people. You know that this presidential election was the worst, the longest and the most fraudulent election in the world. Instead, the government was created on a political agreement. It only has legitimacy because of that political agreement and by the signature of our team. That agreement is just for two years alone, until four months from now. Meanwhile, they have just made a mockery of the government and the peoples vote and will. ...
Although our team is in government, unfortunately they dont listen to us. The political agreement of the N.U.G. is not being implemented, unfortunately. Except for the formation of the cabinet, nothing else mentioned in the N.U.G. agreement is in effect yet. Dr. Abdullah is not involved in the big, strategic, national decision making. ...
I would never wish for the collapse of this government. No matter how weak it may be, it is still better than not having a government at all. That would be very dangerous. Our people would experience the past decades again. No one wants a repeat of those chaotic decades.
On the violence between Mr. Attas and General Dostums men: It was a conspiracy to disrupt peace in this city. I dont want to boast about my achievements, but this is the only province in the country that is doing great in terms of security, development, reconstruction and so on. They could not accept this and want to ruin it. ...
Supporters of General Dostum tried to come here from his strongholds. They were trying to come into this province with tanks, Humvees, and guns and ammunition from other provinces, but I turned them around at the border gates. It was my order to stop them. They repeatedly said that was undemocratic, but I told them it is not democratic to bring people from other provinces to cause violence. What has democracy to do with mortars or tanks? They got all these tanks from General Dostums palace in Sheberghan that is where they got them from. Obviously, some of the Afghan national security force units obey the vice presidents orders.
But we prevented this agitation from reaching Mazar-i-Sharif.
Posted 16 April 2016 - 0735 AM
Hundreds of Taliban insurgents have launched an offensive to seize the northern Afghan city of Kunduz, which they captured and held for several days last year, provincial officials said on Friday.
The offensive around Kunduz began only days after the Islamist group announced their annual spring offensive, vowing to launch large-scale attacks using suicide bombers and guerilla fighters to drive the Western-backed government from power.
Fighting broke out on Thursday in six districts in Kunduz
province, a crucial northern stronghold close to the Tajikistan border, as well as around the provincial capital, with Afghan security forces battling militants through the night.
further fighting in the north:
Five Key Taliban Commanders Killed in Northern Afghanistan
News - Afghanistan
Written by Aref Musavi
Thursday, 14 April 2016 18:45
At least five key Taliban commanders were killed in northern Jawzjan, Sar-e-Pul and Faryab provinces in the past two days, local officials said.
Security officials in the north of Afghanistan said that insurgents suffered major casualties in the clashes and that troops are trying to prevent the insurgents from fleeing the area.
"In Aqcha district [of Jawzjan], 27 Taliban insurgents were killed and 38 others were injured," Gen. Abdul Hamid Hamid, commander of 209 Shaheen Military Crops said.
Hamid assured the nation that the insurgents are not able to defeat the security forces, adding that "people should trust in their security forces."
He said security forces are currently in clashes with insurgents in Faryab, Sar-e-Pul, Baghlan and Kunduz provinces.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Zahir Wahdat, provincial governor of Sar-e-Pul, said that clashes still continue in Sozma Qala, Sayad and Sancharak districts of the province.
"At least 11 insurgents including their five key commanders were killed and 14 others were injured in the past two days of clashes," Wahdat said.
But officials from the provincial council of Sar-e-Pul warned that if government does not support the security forces, insurgents will take control of a number of areas in the province.
"Reinforcements should be sent to the province because there are clashes in the center of Sar-e-Pul," a member of the provincial council, Asadullah Khoram said.
He said that clashes also took place along the Jawzjan and Sar-e-Pul highway on Wednesday night, which resulted in the death of one civilian and three military soldiers. Three other civilians were injured.
Posted 16 April 2016 - 0747 AM
recent paper from the Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit:
As casualties mounted to dramatic levels in 2015, even
according to official figures that are most likely underestimated, the Afghan National Army (ANA) has for the first time begun experiencing serious problems in recruitment.
The army also experienced a resurgence of ghost soldiering (soldiers who are listed as being on active duty, but who do not serve)a problem which had been largely contained by 2010. The units most exposed in the fighting were seriously depleted and under-strength by November. The withdrawal of the mentors/advisers from the ANA tactical units in 2014 exposed a range of weaknesses in logistical capabilities, planning, procurement, equipment maintenance and administration. The resulting paradox is an ANA less mobile then the insurgents, despite the fact that it remains more or less in control of the main highways of the country. Despite the huge amounts of military hardware it has received, the ANA still mostly deploys to battle in unarmoured Ford Rangers.
The tactical performance of the ANA in the midst of battle is more difficult to evaluate because reliable information is hard to come by, but sources within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the ANA themselves concur that there is a very serious leadership problem. Appointments to senior positions are still heavily influenced by political interference, often resulting in the appointment of incompetent commanders. The insurgents have gained the initiative and the ANA has not been able to put together any serious efforts to reclaim it. As a result of all these factors, morale within the ANA is in decline. Reforming the ANA in the middle of an ongoing and escalating conflict is clearly a very difficult task, not least because of the political vetoes of factions, parties and powerful individuals.
Posted 24 April 2016 - 0850 AM
Returned from Kabul on Friday
Visit was a bit more eventful than before - tremors from earthquake and of course the big bomb
did not here the blast but it blew my accommodation door open - my neighbour told me it was a bomb
other than some stray gunfire it was other normal - sleep work eat sleep
Kabul airport police as usual looking for money
Electricity supply as bad as ever
again camp internet had problem with site access after first week
Posted 30 April 2016 - 1247 PM
regarding the hospital in Kunduz:
Kunduz hospital attack: MSF's questions
remain as US military seeks no charges (the guardian)
The US military will seek no criminal charges against service members for a volley of airstrikes that killed 42 civilians in a hospital in northern Afghanistan in October.
While the military announced on Friday it has disciplined a dozen troops for one of the most infamous episodes of the longest-ever US war, the lack of criminal accountability defies a call from the nongovernmental group that ran the hospital in Kunduz, which has characterized the 3 October episode as a war crime.
At the Pentagon, the US commander in the Middle East and South Asia, Army General Joseph Votel, said it was not a war crime because striking the hospital was not an intentional act something John Sifton of Human Rights Watch called simply wrong as a matter of law
the official reports: https://www6.centcom...an - 3 Oct 2015 (pdf, 67147 KB, 6 files)
Médecins Sans Frontières is not amused of course:
Todays briefing amounts to an admission of an uncontrolled military operation in a densely
populated urban area, during which U.S. forces failed to follow the basic laws of war, said Meinie
Nicolai, MSF President. It is incomprehensible that, under the circumstances described by the U.S.,
the attack was not called off.
The hospital was fully functioning at the time of the airstrikes. The U.S. investigation acknowledges
that there were no armed combatants within and no fire from the hospital compound.
Edited by Panzermann, 30 April 2016 - 1254 PM.
Posted 30 April 2016 - 1255 PM
Good to be home
I knew the MSF place in Kunduz to see - maybe there was a mistake, maybe there was not. Would bad guys have fired from hospital - not a doubt. Security Forces got hung out to dry..unfortunatley as usual
Am amazed POTUS has not aplogised for the strike on the MSF compound in Yemen
Posted 30 April 2016 - 1259 PM
Am amazed POTUS has not aplogised for the strike on the MSF compound in Yemen
Nobody talks about Yemen. Why should he address it if it is not in the headlines. Syria overshadows Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen...
Posted 09 May 2016 - 0736 AM
The attack on the DWB Hospital clearly points to a targeting error caused by problems with the INS. The claims by some that it was targeted because the Taliban was using it as a command center doesn't jive with the report the target coordinates found to have been entered were for the correct target and not the hospital.
The ground FAC then had a hard time defining the target to the AC130. This begs the question if we have become too technology dependent. There does not to have been a backup low tech visual method in place using smoke or an IR strobe of some sort. If CAS was one of your primary means of support, as is the case for many SOF missions, you would think you would carry somthin like that for JIC situations.