Afghanistan – (SCF) – President Obama has decided to send 300 US Marines back into Afghanistan’s Helmand Province – the first time in three years that the US military has been sent into that conflict zone. Almost all of Helmand’s districts, Read More
Afghanistan (GV) – International media coverage of Afghanistan focuses overwhelmingly on war; the damage reaped by NATO/Resolute Support Mission airstrikes, the atrocities committed by militant groups on the ground, the abuses of the civilian population by government troops. But if the Read More
There was an angry reaction in Afghanistan to news that the first female fixed-wing pilot in the country’s air force was requesting asylum in the United States after completing an 18-month training course.
The Afghan defense ministry confirmed Sunday that Captain Niloofar Rahmani, 25, had sought asylum after the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying that she feared her life would be in danger if she returned home.
The country has its sights firmly placed on the spectacle occurring over the hack/leak of documents that may or may not have influenced the election. It’s irrelevant. The people of the United States cannot grant the Central Intelligence Agency (or any intelligence agency) the power to cast doubt on the results of elections via unconfirmed, unsourced, and politically biased findings. At the end of the day, the precedent set by allowing a secret agency to veto election results is the death of democracy.
So what did you miss while this was occupying the national narrative? Lots. Troops are deploying to Afghanistan, the Boko Haram is back in the headlines, a new pipeline fight, and much more.
In one of his final moves in office, president Obama has committed another 2,300 US troops to Afghanistan to help the government curb the resurgence of the Taliban.
After a year of territorial gains by the Taliban in their fight against the weakened Afghani government, the US is sending around 2,300 troops from armor and aviation brigades to assist in attempting to turn the tide. The troops are being sent as part of operation Freedom’s Sentinel to “advise and assist” the Afghan security services in their ongoing fight.
The Afghan forces are also combating the still-active al Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan as well as a new cell of the Islamic State that materialized in the country earlier this year. The US forces have have their work cut out for them judging by the failures of the Afghan government in the past few years as well as the rampant corruption within the security services.
Russia has promised a “large quantity” of military aircraft to Tajikistan over the next year. The aid is part of a deal that the two countries signed in 2012, but which has taken on more urgency since Moscow began worrying about China’s military/diplomatic advances in Tajikistan.
The deal was announced on November 30 at a meeting of defense ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Moscow.
“Next year the key phase of our military-technical cooperation will begin, the delivery of weaponry and military equipment,” said Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said after a meeting with his Tajikistan counterpart, Sherali Mirzo. “In particular, this is a large quantity of aviation equipment, airplanes and helicopters. I think this will be implemented according to plan and on schedule.”
It goes without saying that Afghanistan has a special geopolitical, geo-strategic and geo-economic importance, that is why its territory has become an arena of bitter rivalry between various external and internal forces. This country has gained particular importance in the regional and global game amid the background of its neighbors, namely Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, having largest uranium reserves in the world, while the Gulf and the Caspian Sea, adjacent to Afghan territory, holding an extensive amount of energy reserves within the region.
However, Washington’s think tanks have found themselves in a deadlock as a result of their strategy for Afghanistan and the region. Despite the fact that the US has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars on this region, it has achieved no strategic objectives, the most important of which were the so-called projects of the “Greater Middle East” and of “Great Central Asia”. If no fundamental adjustments are made to US strategy both at the global and regional levels, the situation will only get increasingly complicated. At that point, Washington would be unable to hide the utter and complete failure of its designs in Afghanistan, and in Central Asia as a whole.
A group of hackers has hacked the official website of Afghanistan’s National Security Council (NSC).
According to Tasnim dispatches, the hackers, dubbed Hazaristan Cyber Army, hacked and defaced the website of Afghanistan’s NSC on Friday.
They left a deface page along with photos of four senior Afghan officials and a brief message on the hacked website.
“We want justice and equality for all ethnic groups of Afghanistan. Security is either only deception or illusion… we will never give up (our fight) until justice is served,” part of the message read.
The famous Afghan Girl is now a proxy for the regional contest between India and Pakistan. India to offer her free medical treatment after Pakistan deports her to Afghanistan for illegal stay
India has offered free medical treatment to the famous ‘Afghan Girl’ Sharbat Gula whose piercing blue eyes as a young pubescent captivated the world in 1985. Now a grown up woman with poverty and destitution having dulled her sharp features, she was in the news after Pakistan deported her to Afghanistan from Pakistan for illegally stay.
Sharbat Gula may arrive in India in the next few days to receive free treatment offered by a hospital in Bengaluru.
This week, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that opium production in Afghanistan rose by 43 percent in 2016.
Afghanistan’s soaring drug production is occurring not in spite of our best efforts but because of them.
The report is disturbing on many levels. But it is especially disturbing considering the billions of dollars the U.S. government has thrown into Afghanistan attempting to eliminate poppy production. Since 2002, the U.S. has spent a staggering $12 billion trying to eliminate opium production in Afghanistan, a number four times the size of the entire economy in 2002.
October 2001 made it into history as clear evidence of the reckless plans of Washington ‘strategists’ for gaining worldwide domination. It is the period when the aggressive invasion of US troops in Afghanistan under the false pretext of revenge for the sad events of 911 began. However, neither then, nor now was there any evidence that it was Afghanistan and the Taliban that were involved in the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. Besides, it is reliably known that most of the actual players (but not the masterminds) were Saudi nationals. However, Washington and Riyadh were friends back then, and instead of Saudi Arabia, it was Afghanistan (who was guilty of nothing) that was thrown under the steamroller of the most powerful army.
Last week a letter to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter written by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) was released claiming that the nations funding the Afghan security forces could be paying for a force double the size of what actually exists.
[Tweet “Corrupt Afghan Government Using US Money To Pay Non-Existent Soldiers”]
The US alone has spent $68 billion on Afghan security forces since 2002. The US and other partners in Afghanistan are also committed to spending $5 billion a year on security personnel until 2020.
Despite President Obama’s promises of a drawdown in Afghanistan, the United States is settling in for the long haul.
Over the past few months, the Obama administration has renewed its efforts to strengthen its position in Afghanistan. In spite of the worsening death toll from the ongoing war, the Obama administration has made a series of new wartime commitments to ensure that the United States maintains a powerful influence over the country well into the future.
In June 2016, President Obama made one of the most significant new commitments when he authorized U.S. military forces to more directly engage the Taliban in military operations. The new authorities allow “U.S. forces to be more proactive in supporting conventional Afghan forces as they take the fight to the Taliban,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest explained. “And this means, in some cases, offering close air support, or it means, in some cases, accompanying Afghan forces on the ground or in the air.”
Taliban militants launched an assault on Kunduz Monday, triggering intense fighting and forcing residents to hide in their homes, one year after the militants briefly took control of the strategic Afghan city.
Government helicopters were targeting gunmen from the air in a bid to repel the attack, a day before Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani is due to meet world powers at a major donors conference in Brussels.
Russia and Iran have warned the UN that ISIS influence is growing in Afghanistan. An ISIS stronghold in the country could put Pakistan, India, Iran, and central Asian countries at risk for growing ISIS influence.
Iran’s permanent ambassador to the UN, Gholam-Ali Khoshroo, warned on Wednesday that as ISIS presence grows in Afghanistan more effort must be put into stabilizing the Afghan government to combat this issue. “The onus is on the international community to help the Afghan government with its fight against terrorism and extremism as well as the security, political and economic challenges it is grappling with,” he said. As ISIS loses ground in Iraq and Syria, experts are worried that fighters will flow into weaker surrounding states, like Afghanistan. Representatives are concerned that this will put more stable countries like Pakistan and India at risk.