United States (SCF) – The US has turned down the Russian invitation for an international conference on Afghanistan. The reasons: the US wasn’t consulted before receiving the invitation and doesn’t know Russia’s objectives for the gathering. Instead, State Secretary Rex Tillerson would…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Security Forces, Taliban Threaten Children’s Lives, Education
Afghan security forces are increasingly using schools as bases during military operations in Taliban-held areas, putting children at risk and depriving thousands of an education, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Afghan government should take immediate steps to curtail security force use of schools for military purposes.
The 45-page report, “Education on the Front Lines: Military Use of Schools in Afghanistan’s Baghlan Province,” documents the occupation and other military use of schools by state forces and the Taliban in Baghlan province in northeastern Afghanistan. It is based on interviews with more than more than 20 school principals, teachers, and administrators, as well as local families affected by the conflict. As school districts across Afghanistan increasingly find themselves on the front lines of the country’s armed conflict, students risk their lives at schools being used by soldiers which may become military targets, or are deprived of an education until facilities are found elsewhere.
As the world public attention is riveted on breathtaking events in Syria, another terror threat emerges elsewhere. This is a matter of grave concern calling for immediate action.
After more than a year of fierce combat, the Islamic State and the Taliban, have forged a patchwork cease-fire across much of eastern Afghanistan that has helped both insurgencies regroup and counter efforts to dislodge them.
Islamic State commanders have tried to cultivate cordial ties with the Taliban. In Kunar, for example, Islamic State (IS) fighters have approached Taliban members for talks about their mutual ambition to establish an Islamic system of law.
Before the blood was cleaned up, the propaganda machine was already in full swing. In this case it’s difficult to tell if it’s intentional or simply ineptitude. For the reader whose been watching the minute-to-minute coverage, which consists of lists of facts with absolutely no context, the picture seems complete. The lack of context is painting an inaccurate portrait. Omar Mateen was not a hardened terrorist from an ISIS-supporting family. He was a perfect example of a radicalized member of the disaffected American-Muslim population. This is the very phenomenon academics, terrorism experts, and the terrorists themselves have been warning about.
The Islamic State’s strategy for the “far enemy”, which is how the US and the western powers are described by the Islamic State, is not to infiltrate. It is to use propaganda to radicalize people already within the United States. The propaganda counts on exploiting those who are prone to violence, weak-minded, despondent, and searching for a sense of belonging.
Omar Mateen wasn’t a militant when he was married or joined a mosque. He was a wanna-be cop and a wife-beater. His social media accounts show him proudly sporting NYPD clothing, an organization he never belonged to. He was employed with G4S, a private security firm known for victimizing Muslims the world over, which is hardly a company a good jihadist would work for. That started to change around 2012 or 2013 when he began expressing sympathies. He was tagged by the FBI and interviewed. He was determined to not be a threat. He is said to have seen a gay couple kissing in Miami. This incident apparently incensed him. He bought his weapons and became a mass-murderer.