June 18, 2010

From the Front: 06/18/2010

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

Dispatches:
A Little Pink in a World of Camo: A Widow's View on Not Being Too Proud - I woke up this morning and I was super excited to go to my massage that my lovely blog-turned-real-life friend, Amber, got me a gift card for. After this wonderful week (sarcasm) I felt like I could totally use some relaxation in my life. My friend Caitlin was bringing her adorable little 5 month old (literally, her and Ari are 4 days apart, it's sooo cute) to watch the girls while I relaxed for an hour. She told me she'd been sick the night before though and I felt soo bad that she was still here. She is, however, an outstanding friend and told me she really wanted me to get it done. I wished she would have called and stayed home and rested however I was extremely thankful she was there when...a migraine hit! Urgh. Seriously? As I'm leaving to go get some much needed me/relax time, I was slammed with one of my complicated, super nasty, bed-all-day, barely able to function migraines. (READ MORE)

Chuck Z: Responding to the Yonbots - Yon was right about the anbar awakening. But he damn sure had ziltch to do with making it happen. It was guys like me, generals like Petraeus and McChrystal whose changes in policy, tactics, operations and strategies made it happen. Yon wrote about the result and took pictures. His participation had zero to do with it working. Those same generals are the same ones trying to accomplish the same goals in Afghanistan, a country that has almost nothing in common with Iraq. Our job is harder than anything yon can imagine, and he only sees efforts and end results. He isn't part of the decision making process, he isn't consulted or briefed on the plan ahead of time. Guess what? There is no perfect solution. There is no format for success--especially when our own government refuses to define victory conditions. Yon says he supports the troops--isn't General McChrystal a "troop?". Why doesn't he get the support of Yon? (READ MORE)

Rania Abouzeid: Coddling Pakistan's Islamists - Pakistan's government appears keen these days to coddle its Islamist allies. A little over a week ago, Interior Minister Rehman Malik kissed and made up with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, leader of the conservative Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F). The JUI-F had threatened to walk out of the weak coalition government unless its demands were promptly met. And what a list of demands. Chief among its priorities was the release of more than 300 JUI-F prisoners picked up from various parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for their alleged support or active involvement with the Taliban. The government rapidly folded, agreeing to free the terror suspects, most of whom have reportedly not been tried yet in a court of law. But that's not all. The government also agreed to appoint one of Rehman's men to head the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a constitutional body that advises parliament and the government on Shari'a law. (READ MORE)

Katherine Tiedemann: Daily brief: Times Square suspect indicted - Yesterday, failed Times Square car bomber Faisal Shahzad was indicted in the Southern District of New York on ten weapons, conspiracy, and terrorism counts that accuse him of receiving training in Pakistan's Waziristan tribal region in December 2009 and knowingly receiving funds from someone he believed was part of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. This indictment added five charges to the original case against the 30 year old father of two, and expanded on the alleged financing of Shahzad's plot, claiming he received $12,000 from the TTP. Shahzad is expected back in Manhattan court on Monday for an arraignment. Wanted: missing troops - Pakistani authorities are reportedly still searching for 40 missing Frontier Corps troops who may have been kidnapped by Taliban fighters in Afghanistan after an attack on a security checkpoint in Mohmand agency earlier this week. (READ MORE)

Army Live: “eSprit de Corps” through Facebook - During the years I ’ve been a part of the “Facebook” family, I have seen it used in a number of ways. In 2002, while I was an undergraduate student, Facebook was gossip central. You could login at anytime of the day and find some information about who’s dating who, who broke up 10 minutes ago and where the party was on Friday. Between 2007-2009, while I was working towards my Master’s Degree in addition to working as a Summer Hire in the Online and Social Media Division for the U.S. Army, I realized it was a place to inform and engage Soldiers (retired, active, and recently enlisted), families and supporters on U.S. Army involvement around the world. Yet, it was only a few minutes ago that I realized that Facebook can serve as an outlet for Soldiers to reach out to each other through and after the most traumatic times in their lives; even years after the initial conflict. (READ MORE)

FaST Surgeon (in Afghanistan): FOB Friday - Part I of III (Fun Run) - This week marks the 235th birthday of the US Army... So what better way to celebrate than holding a 10K run? Are you kidding me? I had to make the tough choice.... Photograph or run?... hmmmmmm. The race kicked off nearly on time... and I had to run up Airborne hill really quick to get this shot. Ahhhhh... Airborne hill. How does the Army find these hills? No matter how flat a base is, somehow, someway, the Army will find or make a hill. I am pretty impressed that everyone made it down this hill without slipping. In fact, the race was programmed so that the runners had to go up and down twice! Who the heck designed this course? Believe me, FOB Shank is pretty darn big now... you can run 10K easily without hitting this beast. Oh.. by the way. Take a moment to look at the ground. That compacted floor with rocks of all sizes is what makes up the ENTIRE race path. (READ MORE)

Free Range International: A Trillion Dollars - Yesterday the New York Times reported a stunner which was that the United States has discovered 1 Trillion dollars in untapped mineral wealth in Afghanistan. That news would seem to be a potential game changer and I went out this afternoon to downtown Jalalabad to conduct a couple man on the street interviews with local Afghans. What a shocker – not one guy I asked had any idea about the story which took up some much of the press cycle yesterday. Not one guy I asked had any idea what the number “trillion” represents. Yet all understood that there is mineral wealth in the country. What they don’t understand is how so much wealth could directly benefit them and their fellow citizens. The concept that a Saudi style money spigot could be turned on and spent on a nationwide program of modernization which would benefit them without their having to pay a penny is impossible for your average Afghan to contemplate. (READ MORE)

Home From Iraq: Changes of Command June 13 2010 - Four companies in 2-104th Aviation got new commanders on June 13, 2010. Here are pictures from the ceremony. Military tradition passes the company guidon flag from the first sergeant to the outgoing commander to the battalion commander to the new commander and back to the first sergeant. The four soldiers stand at the four points of the compass facing each other with a flag flying between them. The ceremony is a dramatic moment for those involved. Often the out-going commander is leaving his first command. The in-coming commander has been a platoon leader or other small unit leader before, but often is stepping into his first actual command. These change of command ceremonies are especially poignant for the men involved. Every one of the out-going commanders led their unit in Iraq. The new commanders are taking the place of combat commanders--always big boots to fill. (READ MORE)

IraqPundit: Signs of Compromise? - There is a glimmer of hope. The news today is that there might be a compromise in the works. The plan is to let the winning candidate, Ayad Allawi, form a government and take the prime minister's position while Nouri Al Maliki is given the position of president. It's a curious plan, and probably most Iraqis hope it works. After such a long wait, it's not a bad plan. The only problem is will Maliki agree to it? The constitution says, as far as I know, that the president asks the prime minister to form a government. Will Maliki agree to be president? And after so many childish displays, could he be man enough to look Allawi in the eye and ask him to form a government? Maybe someone can talks some sense into Maliki's thick head. The news reports say that U.S. envoy Feltman met with Adel Abdul Mahdi last night and Ammar Hakim this morning. Maybe they were asked to talk to Maliki and ask him to be more mature about things. Hope he listens. (READ MORE)

Iraq The Model: Najaf on Vatican's Steps? - A growing sex scandal that recently surfaced is probably going to haunt the Najaf clergy, particularly that of Ayatollah Ali Sistani, for a while. Recently, a bunch of video clips appeared on youtube, in which Sistani's representative in Maysan province is seen engaged in sexual action with several women. So far, the leaks, discussion and speculations have been limited to online forums and blogs, so I must point out that other than I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the additional details...All I can say with certainty though is that the videos of the playboy cleric do exist. So, reportedly, this guy, Manaf Il-Naji (Sistani's representative in Amara-Maysan, who leads prayers and collects the religious tax for Najaf) had seduced over a dozen different women; some of whom married, and recorded the intimate engagements, supposedly, to blackmail the women and ensure they continue to obey his orders. (READ MORE)

Kit Up!: No Velcro on OEF FR ACU (MultiCam) Pant Pockets - Some of you might have seen the report on USA Today’s front page a couple days ago about the Army abandoning Velcro (aka ‘hook and pile’) on the thigh pockets of its ACU pants. The article states that Soldiers complained the Velcro wouldn’t hold when the pockets were stuffed to the gills and that the dusty environments of Afghanistan and Iraq made the pile part of the Velcro fail because of dirt and sand infiltration. We reported on this issue back last fall with news of an Army survey of troops and changes the service was making to the ACU to reflect Joes’ preferences — including the overwhelming need to go back to button closures instead of Velcro on the thigh pockets of the trousers. Kit Up! received a statement from the Army yesterday contextualizing the USA-T story. When concerns surfaced in the surveys that the hook-and-pile tape was not holding under the weight of full pocket loads, the Army evaluated several solutions: (READ MORE)

The Kitchen Dispatch: The Teenagers Write Letters - This is a SHOUT out to the teenagers at the Richman Teen Center, part of the Boys & Girls Club in Fullerton CA. Last month, I asked counselors Melissa and Chad if the teenagers would take a bit of time and write notes to soldiers deployed to Afghanistan who never get any mail. I didn't know if they'd really do it --in a day of texting and Twittering, it probably never dawns on them they can print, let alone write a letter. But Melissa and Chad --who qualify for a reward for guiding these teens so consistently, thought it was a great idea. So daughter and I go to the store and pick up some blank cards with envelopes. Daughter, who goes to the Boys & Girls Club (they have superb leadership programs), leaves them with Chad. As usual, he has a plan. Everyday, there's study hour. Almost everyone has homework, but because there are always some who come in empty handed. So Chad had a little surprise. They had to write letters to the soldiers. (READ MORE)

Bill Roggio: Al Qaeda operatives killed in North Waziristan strike - The US killed two al Qaeda commanders and a Turkish foreign fighter during a Predator airstrike in North Waziristan earlier this month, a jihadist group stated. Sheikh Ihsanullah, an "Arab al Qaeda military commander"; Ibrahim, the commander of the Fursan-i-Mohammed Group; and a Turkish foreign fighter known as Harun were killed in the June 10 airstrike in the village of Norak in North Waziristan. The deaths were confirmed in a statement released by the Taifatul Mansura Group, or the Victorious Sect, a transnational Turkish jihadist group that operates along the Afghan-Pakistani border. The Taifatul Mansura Group has previously issued multiple statements from Pakistan's tribal areas. Recently, the terror group announced the death of Eric Breininger, a German member of the Islamic Jihad Union who was killed while fighting Pakistani security forces during a clash near Mir Ali in North Waziristan on April 30, 2010. (READ MORE)

Cindy Archer: You belong to me. - Hello ladies! Hope everyone is doing well. We've been busy preparing for this deployment. I can't believe we'll have to say goodbye to daddy in just a few days. I don't think the kids really understand what's going on. I don't know that I can actually type out what I feel right now. I'm exhausted emotionally and don't know how on earth I'm going to make it through this thing. I know that we'll make it through, it's what we do. Anyways I wanted to share this song with you. I heard it the other day and wanted to share. (READ MORE)

Loving A Soldier Blog: I Am An Army Wife - Author Unknown - I am an Army wife - a member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men go into battle, and the strength to survive until their return. Our sorority knows no rank, for we earn our membership with a marriage license, travelling over miles, or over nations to begin a new life with our soldier husbands. Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white-walled and unpapered, we decorate with the treasures of our travels, for we shop the markets of the globe. Using hammer and nail, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime. We hold a family together by the bootstraps, and raise the best of 'brats', instilling in them the motto: "Home is togetherness", whether motel, or guest house, apartment or duplex. As Army wives we soon realize that the only good in "Good-bye" is the "Hello again". (READ MORE)

One Marine’s View: Dads rock-what do you get him? - Dads are awesome! Ya only get one…usually…What to get dad for Fathers Day has plagued the world for centuries (a tie is not the answer). There is the always the desired golf clubs or extend loaded magazine for his pistol, or for that matter a 1911 Colt 45 is a nice idea…just saying….as I’m a .45 guy myself. A nice fishing charter in the wide ocean…or for Marine dads a nice box of cigars (Punch for the beginners, LaGloria series R #7 for the rot guts. Nonetheless even if you don’t get “Dad” something , or even if you haven’t talked to him in awhile for whatever reason….call him and tell him Happy dads day. If your dad is gone, when the time is right, just think about him and he will know. To all dads everywhere and in combat, Happy Dads day, June 20th. (READ MORE)

Thomas E. Ricks: Here’s how screwed up the Army’s Warrior Transition Units are: Genuinely sick soldiers try to get out of using them - The situation with Warrior Transition Units is so bad that the soldiers for whom the program was intended are insulted by suggestions that they do, a smart Army officer I know tells me. I mean, it is one thing to have less-than-satisfactory care for a wounded soldier-and I am confident that sort of thing will be addressed. It is a far larger scandal for the Army to use these units as dumping grounds for soldiers who never should have been recruited in the first place, and who have never seen combat. So do read Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek's comment, posted yesterday -- but also read this: Before I took company command, I went through our installation's mandatory pre-command course, a one-week course showing us the various support agencies on the base. Among the speakers was a representative from our base's Warrior Transition Unit (WTU). (READ MORE)

Tom Ricks: Former Pentagon personnel official: The warrior units are holding tanks for misfits - Here is a thoughtful and worried note from Noel Koch, who recently left his position at the Pentagon overseeing the "wounded warrior" program, about "warrior transition units," or WTUs, which he says that despite their publicity have become dumping grounds for soldiers who never should have been recruited-and most, he reveals, have never seen combat. "Our men and women in uniform today represent the finest fighting force ever fielded. The only problem? There aren't enough of them. The evidence has been multiplying and cascading down on the Pentagon since the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It includes the assignment of military duties to extravagantly paid private contractors because there are not enough soldiers to perform these duties; the use of "stop-loss" orders to keep personnel past the end of their contracts, at which point their service is no longer "voluntary"; and, because "stop-loss" is not a sufficient expedient..." (READ MORE)

Sarah Kendzior: Why Didn’t We See It Coming? - It has been a week since riots broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan, and, contrary to the claims of the New York Times, scholars of the region are no closer to achieving consensus on the cause of the violence than before. This is a good thing. It is irresponsible to draw definitive conclusions as to the cause of a week-old conflict marked by rumor, intrigue, and limited information from on the ground. (Though I encourage speculation and debate — that’s what this site is for.) I have no strong evidence as to who instigated the violence or why. But I would like to address another question that has been raised on this site in recent days: why didn’t scholars of Central Asia see it coming? Every person I know who has spent extensive time in southern Kyrgyzstan is shocked by what happened. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the more someone knows about southern Kyrgyzstan, the more shocked they seem to be. (READ MORE)

Andi: Before, or After? - I recently read an article in Stars & Stripes which discussed a legislative provision which would require some employers to give military spouses two weeks leave before a deployment: "Among them is a provision offered by Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., which would provide a guaranteed two weeks leave for spouses, parents or children of deploying troops, to make sure they have time to say their goodbyes before the servicemembers depart for up to a year..." So, let me pose a question or two...Although the story is about legislation, my thoughts immediately drifted to what happens in my home pre and post deployment. Other than the recent deployment of my husband, which was very, very different from a "standard deployment" (for lack of a better term) past experience tells me that just before my husband leaves, he's home, but only in the physical sense. Before my husband left for Afghanistan, the bottom floor of our home was littered with gear which he seemed to pack, unpack and repack each and every day. (READ MORE)

The Unknown Soldiers: Stands with a fist - I'm not sure if Motor City star and military supporter Kid Rock had Lake St. Clair in mind when he sang the song "In Times Like These," which will appear on his upcoming album. Yet the majestic lake, which is not far from Detroit, seems to perfectly fit the soaring lyrics. It's in the Michigan outdoors where you could usually find Cpl. Jeff Standfest fishing and enjoying the crisp open air. The Macomb Daily reports that Cpl. Standfest, who wanted to follow in his grandfather's footsteps and join the Marines since a young age, also enjoyed being around animals. As a canine handler in Afghanistan, he recently had the difficult experience of losing his dog in an explosion caused by terrorists. Despite dealing with a concussion suffered in the incident, Standfest bravely returned to the action with another trusted canine companion. Sadly, an American journey that led the 23-year-old former track star from the lakes of Michigan all the way to the mountains of Afghanistan ended Wednesday in Helmand province. (READ MORE)

Cassandra: In Afghanistan, Impatience Breeds Confusion and Chaos - It's hard to know what to think about Afghanistan. For years as we tried one thing after another in Iraq, I remained confident that so long as we persevered there was a good chance we would eventually succeed. Not in establishing an enlightened, post industrial democracy for Iraq, because that was never the goal. But in creating a better outcome - both for the Iraqis and for America - than either could have hoped for under Saddam Hussein. With all the uncertainty and peril surrounding Iraq's future, I believe we have done that. I continue to believe that unless we throw everything we have gained to the four winds, Iraq will have been worth the terrible price we've paid in blood and treasure. The Middle East is hardly fertile ground for democratic governance, but people must believe a thing is possible before they're likely to let go of what they have and risk their lives to obtain it. (READ MORE)

A Little Pink in a World of Camo: World (East Coast) Travelers - I could use this time to vent about my rampant-running emotions these days, upcoming decisions, and my permanently "lost" state of mind, but ya know what? I don't feel like it. So instead I would like to point out the fact that my daughter, in her 5 months and 3 days lifespan, has been on 14 planes. You read that right, FOURTEEN. While the majority of our travels have been for very, very somber reasons, it still blows me away what a seasoned traveler my little Princess is. Two to Delaware, 2 home from Delaware, 2 to Florida, 2 home from Florida, 2 to Florida again, 2 home again and this time 2 to Baltimore. On Saturday she will have another one as we're going to New England on a little mini vacation and then one more when we fly back to Baltimore. What a little jet setter! She travels so well, too, Thank God! The worst flights were the ones back from Florida the second time, she was soo worn out and screamed the majority of each flight, but besides those, she's usually a happy little traveler. (READ MORE)



News from the Home Front:
Times Square car bomb suspect indicted on 10 counts - A federal grand jury in New York on Thursday indicted a suspect in the Times Square bombing attempt on 10 counts, some of which carry a mandatory life sentence. (READ MORE)

Suspect in Times Sq. Bomb Attempt Is Indicted - Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani immigrant charged in the failed Times Square bombing plot, was indicted on Thursday by a federal grand jury in Manhattan, the government said. (READ MORE)

Two groups of troops back from Iraq - About 200 soldiers belonging to two units that deployed separately for a year to Iraq were reunited with loved ones at homecoming ceremonies Thursday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. (READ MORE)

Alert Issued for 17 Afghan Military Members AWOL From U.S. Air Force Base - A nationwide alert has been issued for 17 members of the Afghan military who have gone AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas where foreign military officers who are training to become pilots are taught English. (READ MORE)



News from the Front:
Iraq:

A Circle of Comfort in Baghdad - At times of crisis people resort to religion, especially the most vulnerable. A holy place among the alleyways of Iraq’s capital, the Sayyed Idrees shrine is a spiritual gathering place where women take comfort and encouragement. (READ MORE)

U.S. State Department's Jeffrey Feltman says new government must be 'inclusive' - The U.S. assistant secretary of State for near eastern affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, is making his second visit to Baghdad in a month, checking in on the negotiations to form a new government. (READ MORE)

Wounded warriors return to Iraq, find closure - When Staff Sgt. Christopher Bain was ambushed in Iraq April 8, 2004, he died - for 10 minutes. Fortunately, he received four blood transfusions from Iraqi soldiers and survived, but did not escape facing years of torment. (READ MORE)

Iraq ill-equipped to cope with an epidemic of mental illness - Asmaa Shaker sits on a leopard-print blanket in a Baghdad psychiatric hospital, her eyes heavy. The drugs have kicked in now, the fear has subsided, and she can sleep. (READ MORE)

Turkey: May Air Raid Killed 100 Kurdish Rebels - Turkey's military said Friday it killed as many as 120 Kurdish rebels in an air raid on rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last month and a daylong incursion by elite commandos into Iraq this week. (READ MORE)

Police Say Iraqi Interpreter for US Army Killed - An Iraqi interpreter for the U.S. military was gunned down on Friday by his son and nephew north of the capital after he refused their demands to quit his job, a police official said. (READ MORE)

Iraqi Sunni Leader and His Family Are Killed in an Ambush - Gunmen with automatic weapons stormed a house outside Falluja on Thursday, killing an Awakening Council member, his wife and three of his children who had all been sleeping in the backyard to escape the summer heat, the authorities said. (READ MORE)


Afghanistan:
Afghan debate spotlights Pentagon's mixed messages - Debate over the U.S. war strategy in Afghanistan is exposing what some see as discord within the Pentagon about how to cast the fight for Kandahar and the extent and pace to which progress can be shown. (READ MORE)

Afghan mineral wealth worth at least $3 trillion - Afghanistan is gearing up to award contracts to mine one of the world's largest iron ore deposits buried in a peaceful province of the war-torn nation that has at least $3 trillion in untapped minerals, the country's top mining official said. (READ MORE)

SA man's jail term increased in Afghanistan - A South African man, who was initially sentenced for five years in an Afghanistan prison, has had his sentence increased on appeal to 16 years, Beeld reported on Friday. (READ MORE)

Taliban ‘weary of war’ - The United Nations representative to Afghanistan, Staffan de Mistura, said in an interview published on Thursday that Taliban militants were “weary of war,” which opens the way for dialogue. (READ MORE)

Karzai meets Japanese authorities - The Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday held meeting with the Japanese incumbent Prime Minister Naoto Kan, besides calling on the Emperor and former prime minister in Tokyo, Japan. (READ MORE)

NATO predicts decades-long battle against corruption - NATO and US officials are pushing hard to reverse a culture of deeply embedded corruption that permeates all aspects of Afghan society, considering it key to establishing the rule of law in Afghanistan. (READ MORE)

Taliban can keep weapons under new peace initiative - A new coalition initiative to lure Afghan insurgents away from the battlefield allows the Taliban and other militants to keep their weapons if they sign on to a government peace plan, a senior coalition official said. (READ MORE)

Pakistan hunts for troops missing after Taliban attack - The Pakistani army says it is searching for dozens of soldiers missing after their checkpoint on the Afghan border was attacked by the Taliban on Monday. (READ MORE)

14 soldiers being handed over to Pakistan today - As 14 FC soldiers arrested by the Afghan security forces are likely to be handed over to the Pakistani authorities in Jalalabad today (Friday), there was no word about the whereabouts of 39 other missing personnel. (READ MORE)

Task Force to Take On Afghan Corruption - The U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan has created a new task force to investigate allegations that companies hired with Western money to provide security, supplies and reconstruction work for allied forces are siphoning off cash and enriching Afghan power brokers. (READ MORE)

In Afghanistan, a waiting game to outlast the Obama administration - Evidently Hamid Karzai did not get the memo on terminology. US military commanders have stopped using the word "operation" to describe the drive, now delayed, against the Taliban in Kandahar, Afghanistan's second-largest city. (READ MORE)

Karzai Says Worried About Afghan Minerals Rivalry - Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Friday he was concerned about a looming battle over his country's untapped mineral resources and that Afghanistan's major donors should be prioritised in exploiting them. (READ MORE)

World’s Mining Companies Covet Afghan Riches - Mining companies around the world are eager to exploit Afghanistan’s newly discovered mineral wealth, but executives of Western firms caution that war, corruption and lack of roads and other infrastructure are likely to delay exploration for years. (READ MORE)

Pentagon Claims Afghan Strategy Working Despite Problems - Official says progress is beginning to prove validity of President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating Taliban. (READ MORE)

Gates Concerned About Pessimism on Afghanistan - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is concerned about emerging public pessimism and cynicism regarding the outcome of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said here today. (READ MORE)

Combined Force Captures Key Taliban Operative - A combined Afghan-international force captured a Taliban subcommander responsible for coordinating attacks and the movement of bomb-making materials and detained several suspected insurgents in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province last night, military officials reported. (READ MORE)

Scottish Troops Mentor Afghan Forces in Helmand's Green Zone - Soldiers from the First Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (1 SCOTS), are partnering and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) deep in the green zone near Nad 'Ali in Helmand Province. (READ MORE)


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Cross posted at Castle Argghhh!

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