The Gardeners of Kabul

BBC, 22 September 2017 This time recommended watching: a lovely BBC documentary by our friend Lalage Snow about the gardeners of Kabul. Watch on Youtube. Please also read the author’s piece on the same topic for AAN, here.

Femicide in Kandahar

London Review of Books, 31 August 2017 May Jeong’s alternative look at assassinations of women in Kandahar: (…) millions (…) were spent on gender initiatives. (…) The money encouraged some women, mostly the daughters of already enlightened families, to go out into the world. A fifth of parliamentary seats were reserved for women. The police and the […]

I Was a Mercenary. Trust Me: Erik Prince’s Plan Is Garbage.

Politico, 31 August 2017 One from the horse’s mouth: Private warriors are just like T-shirts; they are cheaper in developing countries. Call it the globalization of private force. But do we want Filipino, Colombian and Ugandan mercenaries fighting our wars for us, their way? To them, military operations might involve massacring a village that could […]

The Financial Cost Of U.S. Involvement In Afghanistan

Forbes, 24 August 2017 The intervention in Afghanistan has cost the US $1.07 trillion dollars since 2001. The  bill can be divided into three segments. Overseas Contingency Operations funds specifically dedicated to the war come to $773 billion. $243 billion can be attributed to increases in the base budget of the Department of Defense while […]

U.S. Has More Troops in Afghanistan Than Publicly Disclosed

Wall Street Journal, 22 August 2017 Useful article that gives an overview over the real number of US soldiers in Afghanistan: 8400 ‘full-timers’ and  3500 temporarily deployed, altogether 11,900.  3900 will be added based on Trump strategy, summa summarum: 15,800. Then there is an unknown number of special forces etc; of course, some soldiers shift between […]

‘Guardian angel’ need for advisers in Afghanistan drives call for more troops

Reuters, 18 August 2017 Author Josh Smith, among other things, gives figures about composition of RS mission: Of the 12,447 troops from 39 countries that make up the NATO-led Resolute Support mission, about 2,865 are classified as advisers, according to numbers provided by the coalition.  Another 7,766 are considered “enablers”, which can range from logistics […]

In Afghanistan, Reform Can’t Come Fast Enough

Foreign Policy, 16 August 2017 A very readable pre-Trump speech insight, by former US ambassador Ron Neumann, into problems that have now fallen behind the military-first, anti-terrorism strategy – reform, institutions, anti-corruption – expressing the fear that upcoming elections and related alliance-building might stop whatever reform is ongoing.

Seesaw Conflict With Taliban Takes Toll in Fallen Afghan District [Taiwara in Ghor]

New York Times, 7 August 2017 An interesting rendering of the local power architecture in Ghor province, where Taleban fighters recently have taken Taiwara district – including alleged ‘cross-frontline’ connections between a local ‘Taleban faciliatator’ and the High Peace Council in Kabul and a Jamiati commander-turned-Daesh.