April 29, 2010

From the Front: 04/29/2010

News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front. (New complete posts come in below)

Dispatches:
Bouhammer:
Afghanistan Report making waves - There is a new report that has been released called “Report on Progress Toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan and United States Plan for Sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces” which is a report to Congress based on a requirement set by section 1231 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (Public Law 110-181). I have a copy of the report and plan to read it over the next few days and then write up my feelings about it. However until then, many media outlets who can pay their people to read the report and write up their opinions have already starting putting up articles about it. On the official mouthpiece website, defense.gov, you can see synopsis of the report in a “positive light”. “Stability in Afghanistan is no longer on the decline, and most Afghans believe that despite increased violence, security actually has improved since this time last year, according to a new report Pentagon officials sent to Congress today.” But if you head over to the Stars&Stripes website you can see a headline and their story that is not so “positive” in review of the report. (READ MORE)

Family Matters Blog: Spouse Looks Forward to Husband’s Return - As I write this article, I’m in total countdown mode. We have mere days before my husband will be back home from his yearlong deployment. I can already picture him making us his famous French toast for breakfast while asking me why I have to cook the eggs in bacon grease (um, because they taste better that way!). I honestly can’t believe we are such short-timers. In the beginning it seemed like time was stretching out in front of me as far as I could imagine and it was even longer for our kids. It reminds me of when we were stationed in Texas and the roads were so straight and flat, we joked that you could tell where the Earth curved. All I could see stretched out in front of me this time last year were a lot of lonely nights, fuzzy phone calls — where it seems like you can actually feel the distance between each other because of the static and ringing on the line — broken up by awkward e-mail exchanges where I relive the entire day to my husband ... (READ MORE)

Helmand Blog - Afghanistan: 3 YORKS' soldiers return from Afghanistan - More than 60 soldiers from 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (3 YORKS) returned to Wiltshire after deploying for up to six months in Afghanistan. They were welcomed back to Battlesbury Barracks, Warminster, by Lieutenant Colonel Tom Vallings, Commanding Officer of 3 YORKS, as well as colleagues, family and friends: "It's a huge relief to have them back safe, a huge sense of pride of what they've achieved, and I'm glad to see them back in the arms of loved ones," said Lt Col Vallings. "But the loss of Lance Corporal Graham Shaw and Corporal Liam Riley on this tour and last year the loss of Private Young hits us all and it is has been an immeasurable loss for us and their families. We and they will always remember them." A total of 77 soldiers were deployed on a variety of tasks throughout Helmand province; 31 of them formed part of the 'Mastiff Group' operating in the Babaji region in the heavily armoured Mastiff protected mobility vehicle. (READ MORE)

Bruce R: On PowerPoint rangers - Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the leader of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan, was shown a PowerPoint slide in Kabul last summer that was meant to portray the complexity of American military strategy, but looked more like a bowl of spaghetti. “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war,” General McChrystal dryly remarked, one of his advisers recalled, as the room erupted in laughter. While the article succeeded in giving me a new appreciation of COMISAF's sense of humour, I think the slide in question is a poor example of the real problem here. The objection to PowerPoint is that it's a poor method for presenting complex, content-rich information, often leading you to stuff too much stuff into one slide or image. Now, as a slide this would seem a perfect example of that. This graphic might work as a wallchart, though: I can't speak to the content in context, but I've certainly seen network diagrams of insurgent networks... (READ MORE)

Home From Iraq: Friends Old and New - Today I spent five hours in the car driving to Fort Indiantown Gap at 6:45 am then to Philadelphia then back at 10:45 pm. A very long day. Those of you who believe one should not drive and talk on a cell phone should stop reading right now. During the 300-odd minutes I was in the car, more than half on the PA Turnpike. One the way to Philadelphia I called my Iraq "Roomie" Nickey Smith. We talked for a half hour about how his life is going since his return and gossiped about some of the people in Echo we liked and some we didn't. Nickey told me about getting sent to Oklahoma to reroute the gear for Connecticut soldiers. He was one of two who went. Others should have and did not. It did not surprise me at all that he would keep his word and trudge on when others did not. I have written before that he took over for a squad leader who got relieved and unlike me and several others, stuck with his squad and with the motor pool when other sergeants jumped for greener pastures. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: It Doesn't Look Good - I asked an Iraqi man with an important position this evening when the new government would be set up. He said when Jesus returns, when the Mahdi returns, and when Godot shows up. In other words, it doesn't look good for Iraq. The choices for coalitions are getting smaller. A spokesman for the INA, or the Shiite Alliance, said the talks for a union with the State of Law have reached a dead end. Nobody knows what the possibilities are for the Kurdish parties and the Shiite Alliance and the Allawi team. The word here is that Maliki didn't want to give up the prime minister seat, and the Shiite Alliance would not support his decision to remain prime minister. Maliki has a real problem because neither the INA, nor the Kurdish parties, nor the Allawi list would agree to keep him as prime minister. He really needs to face reality. Meanwhile, the Justice and Accountability committee, or the deBaathification gang, are determined to cut back the seats for the Allawi list. (READ MORE)

Kit Up: Kit Up! is Going to the 'Stan - The posts have been spare, the topics pedestrian, the pace slow -- but it's all been for a good purpose. I apologize for the minimal throughput here folks over the last week, but it's all been a result of my preparations for an embed with U.S. forces in Afghanistan starting May 11. Military.com editor Ward Carroll and I will be spending three weeks in-country -- we are planning to embed with 3 BCT TF Rakkasan in eastern Afghanistan for two weeks, then zip down to RC-S and spend some time with the Marines for a week. Our plans are "carved in Jell-O" so to speak, so we don't know which specific units we'll be hanging with, but we're due to go first to Salerno to get an idea of what's going on before we push out to the bush. As some of you might know, I was in Khost for three weeks in 2004 and am anxious to see what's changed (or stayed the same, for that matter)...When we swing south, we're going to try to link up with the Marine Osprey squadron stationed at Bastion. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Taliban strike in North Waziristan and Peshawar - The Taliban targeted the Army for the second time in five days in Pakistan's lawless tribal agency of North Waziristan, while a suicide bomber struck at the police in Peshawar. A Taliban force killed two Pakistani soldiers during an assault on a checkpoint in North Waziristan. "Four militants, which included three Uzbeks and a German, were also killed in the clash," Dawn reported. The attack was likely carried out by the Islamic Jihad Group (or Islamic Jihad Union), a splinter faction of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The Islamic Jihad Group is based out of the Mir Ali region in North Waziristan and maintains close ties with al Qaeda and North Waziristan Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar. It is a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. German Muslims make up a significant portion of the Islamic Jihad Group. Its fighters are often referred to as German Taliban, and they carry out attacks in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. (READ MORE)

Loving A Soldier Blog: Catch up - Wow, I haven't posted something in a long time (sorry Tara !). Things have been so busy ! So far, the air conditioning and the car have broken, both look like they're going to make it though. I know absolutely nothing about either, but I have learned !!! I also had to do our taxes this year. I have never done taxes before ( I know, I know... its terrible) and that totally put a damper on April. Its all done and its all fixed for the time being, and time is coming to a complete halt. My hubby's 12 month deployment just got shortened to a 7 month deployment. I don't understand it at all, but I am thankful. At the same time, I have 2 months to lose the 30 pounds I wanted to lose and re-do our bedroom. Oh well! I've started jogging/mostly walking a 2 mile track at a local park and just last night did an ab workout dvd. I'm hurting this morning! My hubby is one that when there's nothing to do on base, he works out, so I'm kind of ashamed to tell him what I do to work out. (READ MORE)

One Marine's View: Sandwich ninja - So we are moving around some and I stopped to enjoy an Army chow hall. You know, have a sandwich and real cold cuts and try to live like the other half…There I am minding my business and trying to get a piece of Swiss cheese for my sandwich when this third country national that was apparently on some sort of time trials to restock the cheese in the sandwich bar damn near scissor kicked my ass when I reached for a slice. Man was she put out. I though, hmmm I haven’t showered in over a week, haven’t had solid chow for some time and thought I’d have a sandwich and a coke….crazy I know, then I am getting bowed up to by a 4ft ball of hate and discontent. I had happy thoughts of balling her up and putting her in my cargo pocket but I didn’t want to get my ass kicked in front of my Marines (lol). That would have been sad. You know when all you want is a sandwich and ya can’t event get that…..it’s not so good. (READ MORE)

Red Bull Rising: A Minority Report: "Death to PowerPoint!" - Earlier this week, the New York Times "At War" blog asked for reader comments regarding Elisabeth Bumiller's feature on the military's over-reliance on Microsoft PowerPoint. The article is titled: "We Have Met the Enemy and He is PowerPoint." As both civilian and solider, I've spent the past couple of years occasionally experimenting with out-of-the-box ways to use PowerPoint. For example, I've tried Pecha Kucha--20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, automatic-advance, no exceptions. I've tried to reduce any presentation into only 7 slides. Anything to avoid inflicting "death by PowerPoint" on friendly forces. The following is a slightly expanded version of my remarks on the New York Times article (click here for my blogger buddy Kanani Fong's analysis of the same). It's still a work in progress, but it's the closest I've come to articulating some of what we're intellectually struggling with in today's Tactical Operations Center (TOC): (READ MORE)

Sketchpad Warrior: What We Do - I was reading excerpts from the PBS program, They Drew Fire, and was once again refreshed in my combat artist's spirit, in drinking from the source well of Marine Combat Art-- the writings of Brigadier General Robert L. Denig, Director of Public Relations for the United States Marine Corps in World War II. He was the creator of the first iteration of the Marine Corps Combat Art Program, which was part of his "Denig's Demons"-- photographers, journalists and artists recruited and trained as Marines, and put into the action to record reality on the front lines. In describing the purpose for his new Program, he stated: "Art at any time is food for spiritual growth. The centuries have proved it so. At peace or at war, man cannot live by bread alone. A special case for art in time of war may be made, for it is then that man's spiritual, as well as physical, being is most severely in need of sustaining strength..." (READ MORE)

Joan D'Arc: The Army has done it again... - Last night DH and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the command team from 25th ID in Hawaii (our next duty station). We also had a VTC with the rest of the command team. My husband's orders had that he would be going to a brigade. When we walked in to the meeting last night, we found out he was being assigned to division staff. WHAT!? Now this isn't really a big surprise and there's nothing we can do to change it. BUT, the kicker is that this means he will deploy to Iraq this winter, rather than to Afghanistan next spring. Again, nothing we can do about it, but another wrench has been thrown into my "mental planning" for another deployment. Add to that the fact that my husband was wounded in Iraq on his last deployment. Anxiety? Yes. Can I deal with it? Yes. Do I like it? No. (READ MORE)

Texas Music: Pom Poms - Yesterday I was sitting in the chow hall with Lieutenant PK while he was telling me about his wife leaving him. LT PK used to be in my company, but sometime during our mobilization at FT Hood, he got transfered to a different company in our brigade. He was up at Taji for a few months, but since we closed that detention facility down, his company was brought down to VBC. I've run into him a couple of times here and there. He saw me in line and waved me over. I'm not sure why LT PK and I hit it off. Back at Hood we ran a gunnery range together and got along pretty well. He has a sarcastic sense of humor that I can readily identify with. I am not sure how well liked he is among his peers and troops, and while I wouldn't call us fast friends, but we get along pretty well despite the age and rank difference. I was chewing my Cornish game hen and LT PK was cussing Jody when I saw some heads turning and necks craning at the tables around us. LT PK pointed behind me. "Saint's cheerleaders." (READ MORE)

The Torch: Afghan detainee docs decision: When the law is no longer applicable - Further to this post: Afghan detainee docs: Crown privilege rules - [W]ell, it doesn't. A key argument in the government's refusal to produce to the Commons unredacted documents on the Afghan detainee matter is that there are statutory provisions against doing so in some circumstances. But Speaker Peter Milliken's has ruled that the House of Commons' right to demand documents is effectively absolute. To my mind the cornerstone of the ruling is a citation on Australian Senate practice that maintains just one House of Parliament, even one committee, can over-ride a statutory prohibition when demanding the production of documents by the government. It seems most most odd to me that the Australian citation allows a statutory prohibition--which must be passed by both Houses of Parliament--effectively to be over-ridden by a vote in just one of those houses; indeed it would seem by a vote in just one committee with a relatively small number of members. (READ MORE)

Unambiguously Ambidextrous: Afghans Must Think We’re Insane - There’s a great article in the Edmonton Journal today about Afghanistan’s ambassador to Canada, Jawed Ludin, who says that the endless discussion about the treatment of Afghan detainees is terribly pointless. “It’s a terrible waste of time, unfortunately. “I’m very, very upset that the Parliament in Ottawa is so focused on this. First of all, it talks about a long time ago. If there weren’t any problems in Afghanistan, if there wasn’t human rights violations, if our police and prisons were perfect, why did we need your help? That’s why you’re there, helping us.” The fact is that the entire Afghan detainee controversy is an odious piece of political gamesmanship perpetrated by the opposition parties. The truth is that despite what the opportunists tell you, everything about Afghanistan is better since western forces began helping, including “torture”. The infamous NDS, says Mr.Ludin, has come a long way in recent years. (READ MORE)

Wings Over Iraq: It begins... - Wired.com ran an article today discussing the US Army's monitoring of the blogosphere. This is interesting; the Army hires MPRI, a private contractor, to monitor the top military-related blogs and report on the "slant" of each article: balanced, critical, or supportive. Although I'm not too surprised that the Army rolls up and analyzes military blogs, I am surprised that PowerPoint metrics made their way into the rollup. First of all, I'd like to say that Effects-Based Operations are dead. Long live Effects-Based Operations. Yes, just when you think that the military killed off EBO and its terminology, "Lines of Effort" once again made their way back into the common lexicon. Like much of EBO doctrine, LoE is one of those buzz-words we haphazardly apply with no real appreciation for its real definition (see the commentary on EBO buzzwords from the 2006 Lebanon war). Lines of Effort move towards some sort of defined end-state. Is there an end-state for media operations? (READ MORE)

Nathan Hodge: Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes,’ Law Prof Says - The pilots waging America’s undeclared drone war in Pakistan could be liable to criminal prosecution for “war crimes,” a prominent law professor told a Congressional panel Wednesday. Harold Koh, the State Department’s top legal adviser, outlined the administration’s legal case for the robotic attacks last month. Now, some legal experts are taking turns to punch holes in Koh’s argument. It’s part of an ongoing legal debate about the CIA and U.S. military’s lethal drone operations, which have escalated in recent months — and which have received some technological upgrades. Critics of the program, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have argued that the campaign amounts to a program of targeted killing that may violate the laws of war. In a hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s national security and foreign affairs panel, several professors of national security law seemed open to that argument. (READ MORE)

Army Live: Caring for our Warriors - On Monday I listened in on a bloggers roundtable with Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general and Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, commander, Warrior Transition Command as they discussed Army Warrior Transition Care in the Army and at Fort Carson. I have never worked in a WTU but the Soldiers that are assigned to these units have a special place in my heart. I am a self-described “Army brat” with a mother who is currently on active duty, so in my opinion (for what it’s worth) we have a responsibility to make sure that each and every one of these Soldiers is provided with the best care available. After listening to Gen. Schoomaker and Gen. Cheek talk about the program I am convinced that they are not sitting in their offices with their heels kicked up. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are leaders in some of these units who have a lot to learn, and I’m a firm believer that ugly will always come a bite you in the rear. (READ MORE)

Andrew Lebovich and Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: TTP chief alive: Pakistani intelligence - The Guardian reported yesterday that Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan leader Hakimullah Mehsud survived a drone strike in January that was previously believed to have killed him (Guardian). An unnamed "senior official" in Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence agency (ISI) told the paper that Mehsud was only wounded in the strike, but may no longer be in control of the group; the AP reports that four intelligence officials now believe he is alive, based on sources in the field and electronic surveillance. None of the officials has explained how earlier statements by officials that he had died were wrong, and Hakimullah has not spoken out since January. And Newsweek reports that the Pakistani military has released Abdul Qayum Zakir, Quetta Shura Taliban number two Mullah Baradar's top military commander, from detention after capturing him for "a week or two" earlier this year. (READ MORE)

Loving A Soldier Blog: Walk the Walk... - Let me start by putting this out there... Lately, I have become lazy! That's probably the hardest thing to say about myself, but it is true. Because of this recent proclamation, and much needed motivation from some great gals and friends, I have become more aware of some little things that can make such a big difference in my everyday life. I have decided to walk the walk...literally! In the past, when I needed to go to the Commissary for one or two things, I would just hop in the car and go... and go... and go. A few weeks ago, I came to the realization that I am a privileged individual though. Being a military spouse, and living on a military base, I am never more than 3 or so miles from the Commissary. So, in the past few weeks, when in need of a few small things, or just to run to the PX because Ab's and I want lunch, or even when we want to go to a special park on post, we have been walking rather than hopping in the car. (READ MORE)

The Captain's Journal: Marine Corps Distributed Operations in Afghanistan - Those who follow military doctrine closely know about Commandant Conway’s push to distributed operations within the context of smaller units. Heretofore, the Battalion Landing Team was the smallest unit fielded from ship to shore for which the Corps was prepared to provide logistical and communications support. The combined arms concept has generally been applied at the Marine Air Ground Task Force level. Defensetech recently had an interesting article on The Incredible Shrinking Marine Air Ground Task Force. “The Marines appear to be leading the innovation and thought experimentation on adapting small units to battle hybrid enemies – state and non-state armed groups mixing guerrilla tactics with advanced weaponry. Down at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico, they’re fleshing out an emerging warfighting concept called ‘distributed operations:’ small units operating independently, at a fast paced, fluid tempo when either dispersed or concentrated...” (READ MORE)

From My Position - On the Way!: Recognizing the Best Military Spouse - I realize I couldn't win a web popularity contest if it was between me and Perez Hilton. But I know do this: of all the people in this world I've ever known, My wife Carren is the strongest, smartest, and most beautiful. She has the tender caress of a concerned mother, and the steel in her spine to tell a wounded husband that his self-pity isn't going to cut it because he has a family to raise. Carren does many of the same things many other spouses do--she's a wife and mother, whether I am home or not. But she does even more... She gets involved in the community, volunteering at the local VA and with On-base organizations. She volunteers to teach classes to new spouses and helps them in any way she can. She works with Girl and boy scouts to help teach a generation of kids about things that matter--leadership, integrity, and honor. While I was deployed, and even while I was recovering from my wounds, Carren worked on, and finished her master's degree in clinical social work, graduating with a 4.0 from the University of Pittsburgh. (READ MORE)



News from the Home Front:
Report Notes Afghanistan Developments, Challenges - Stability in Afghanistan is no longer on the decline, and most Afghans believe that despite increased violence, security actually has improved since this time last year, according to a new report Pentagon officials sent to Congress today. (READ MORE)

Report: Still not enough troops for Afghanistan operations - Despite the addition of more than 50,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan over the past year, there still aren’t enough forces to conduct operations in the majority of key areas, according to a congressionally mandated report released Wednesday on progress in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Joint Base Lewis-McChord airmen to receive Silver Stars, other medals Thursday - One Joint Base Lewis-McChord airman will receive two Silver Stars in a single ceremony - a rarity - during ceremonies at McChord Field. Another airman also will be pinned with a Silver Star. (READ MORE)

Joey Caron's dedication to country "remarkable," commanding general says - Army Spc. Joseph T. "Joey" Caron "lived every day God gave him to the fullest" and was a dedicated soldier with a remarkable love for his country, his commanding general in Afghanistan wrote The News Tribune in a Letter to the Editor. (READ MORE)

Army Releases 2010 Modernization Strategy - The Department of the Army released today the 2010 Army Modernization Strategy (AMS). “The goal of Army modernization is to develop and field the best equipment available to allow our soldiers to be successful against our enemies,” said Gen. George W. Casey, chief of staff of the Army. (READ MORE)


News from the Front:
Iraq:
Human Rights Watch interviews detainees from Baghdad secret prison - Last week, the Los Angeles Times revealed the existence of a secret Iraqi government prison that operated from last fall until its closure this month. (READ MORE)

Dangerous Games - By nearly all independent accounts, Iraq’s parliamentary elections last month were reasonably free and fair. Efforts now to manipulate the process — especially but not solely by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki — are an insult to Iraqi voters. (READ MORE)

Allawi's Iraqiya bloc seeks caretaker to safeguard election results - The leader of the bloc that received the most votes in last month's elections called Wednesday for the creation of an internationally backed caretaker authority to prevent what he said were unlawful attempts by Iraq's government to overturn the results. (READ MORE)



Afghanistan:
Afghan MP Says U.S. Troops Raid Home, Kill Relative - U.S. troops raided the home of a female member of the Afghan parliament and killed a neighbor who was one of her relatives, the MP said on Thursday, an incident that sparked angry protests in the east. (READ MORE)

Afghan Lawmaker's Relative Killed in Night Raid - NATO and Afghan forces raided a lawmaker's home and fatally shot the woman's brother-in-law at night in eastern Afghanistan, sending hundreds of people into the streets shouting ''Death to America!'' in protest, the lawmaker said Thursday. (READ MORE)

On a Holiday for Afghans, Tight Security and Violence - The celebration of the 18th anniversary of the victory of the mujahedeen commanders over the Communist government in 1992 put Afghanistan’s contradictory impulses toward war and peace on public display on Wednesday. (READ MORE)

U.S. Questions Karzai’s Anti-Corruption Zeal - The U.S. military believes that Afghans support President Hamid Karzai's government in only a quarter of key areas of the country and that political will to tackle corruption "remains doubtful," according to a Pentagon assessment released on Wednesday. (READ MORE)

U.S. seeks to prop up Kandahar governor, sideline troublesome power brokers - The governor of Kandahar, Tooryalai Wesa, is an outsider with little sway in the province's politics, a mild-mannered academic who spent more than a decade in Canada and is considered by many Afghans to be ineffectual. (READ MORE)

Pentagon says instability in Afghanistan has 'leveled off' - The Afghan government can count on popular support only in a quarter of the main urban areas and other districts that are considered key to winning the war with the Taliban and other insurgents, the Pentagon said in a report delivered to Congress on Wednesday. (READ MORE)

Pentagon Sees Pakistan Shift, Downplays Afghan Impact - Pakistan has shifted 100,000 of its troops from its Indian frontier to spearhead an unprecedented crackdown on militants along the Afghan border, but the offensives are unlikely to have an immediate impact on the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said. (READ MORE)

Pakistan Taliban Chief Believed Alive - The head of the Pakistani Taliban is now believed to have survived a U.S. missile strike earlier this year, intelligence officials said Thursday, reversing earlier claims he had died and handing the militants something of a propaganda victory. (READ MORE)

Nad 'Ali 'Super-Shura' Attracts More Than 1,100 - More than 1,100 people from throughout the district of Nad 'Ali attended a 'super-shura' recently to discuss the upcoming district council elections. (READ MORE)

Afghan-international Force Kills Armed Individual in Nangarhar - An Afghan-international security force killed one armed individual while pursuing a Taliban facilitator in Nangarhar last night. (READ MORE)

IJC Operational Update, April 29 - Two Haqqani facilitators and two other militants were captured by an Afghan-international security force in Khost province this morning. (READ MORE)

Hundreds protest death of Afghan lawmaker's kin in NATO raid - Hundreds of people shouting, "Death to America!" protested in the streets of eastern Afghanistan on Thursday after a nighttime military raid resulted in the death of an Afghan lawmaker's brother-in-law. (READ MORE)

Afghan support for Karzai govt low, says Pentagon - The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai commands support or sympathy in only a quarter of 121 Afghan areas considered "key" by the US military, a Pentagon report has said. (READ MORE)

Taliban key commander killed in N. Afghanistan - Security forces killed a key Taliban commander Mullah Daud in the militancy- ridden Kunduz province in north Afghanistan on Thursday, provincial governor Mohammad Omar said. (READ MORE)

Taliban guns down outspoken Afghan tribal chief - Taliban militia have gunned down Afghan tribal chief Abdul Rahman in Kandahar. Rahman had attended a tribal shura a few days prior to his death. (READ MORE)

Prince Harry is trained enough to take on the Taliban - Britain's Prince Harry is skilled enough to train to fly the 46-million-pound Apache attack helicopter and take on the Taliban. (READ MORE)

Kandahar security plan ready - Afghanistan's National Security Council (ANSC) has worked out a new plan for bringing improvement to the security situation in southern Kandahar province, birthplace of the Taliban movement, a senior official said. (READ MORE)

Officials slam education ministry - Officials complain that the authorities in Kabul are not paying due attention to the improvement of education standards in southern Kandahar province, where insecurity has forced the closure of almost 50 percent of schools over the past few years. (READ MORE)

More Aussie police due - Six more Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers are heading to Afghanistan to help train the Afghan National Police which is widely regarded as exceptionally corrupt. (READ MORE)


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Cross posted at Castle Argghhh!

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