Afghanistan cultivates, produces and process narcotics that are a threat to the region and worldwide. However, the international community also needs to understand that Afghanistan itself is a victim of this phenomenon. The existence of hundreds of thousands of problem drug users, as well as decades of civil war, terrorism and instability are all related to the existence of narcotics in the country. According to the findings of this survey, the total area under cultivation was estimated at 154,000 hectares, an 18 per cent increase from the previous year. Comparisons of the gross and net values with Afghan’s licit GDP for 2012 also serve to highlight the opium economy’s impact on the country. In 2012, net opium exports were worth some 10 per cent of licit GDP, while the farmgate value of the opium needed to produce those exports alone was equivalent to 4 per cent of licit GDP. On the basis of shared responsibility and the special session of the United Nation’s General assembly in 1998, the international community needs to take a balanced approach by addressing both the supply and the demand side equally. In addition, more attention needs to be paid to reduce demand and the smuggling of precursors as well as provide further support to the Government of Afghanistan.
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The findings of the 2013 Opium Risk Assessment in the Southern, Eastern, Western and Central regions points to a worrying situation. The assessment suggests that poppy cultivation is not only expected to expand in areas where it already existed in 2012, e.g. in the area north of the Boghra canal in Hilmand province or in Bawka district in Farah province but also in new areas or in areas where poppy cultivation was stopped. In eastern Afghanistan, in Nangarhar province, farmers resumed cultivation even in districts where poppy has not been present for the last four years. In the Northern and Northeastern region, the provinces of Balkh and Takhar which were poppy-free for many years are at risk of resuming poppy cultivation.
(U//FOUO) U.S. Marine Corps Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Operations in Afghanistan Lessons Learned Report
April 13, 2013 in U.S. Marine Corps
This report is a continuation of the collection effort on units supporting operations in Afghanistan as directed by the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration. The collection sought to examine the mission, scope, successes, shortfalls, equipment, manning and emerging issues associated with 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion (4th LAR) operations. Interviews of 28 commanders and staff were conducted at various camps and bases in Afghanistan from December 2009 – April 2010.
February 15, 2013 in Afghanistan
Kabul Bank’s controlling shareholders, key supervisors and managers led a sophisticated operation of fraudulent lending and embezzlement predominantly through a loan-book scheme. This resulted in Kabul Bank being deprived of approximately $935 million funded mostly from customer’s deposits. The loan-book scheme provided funds through proxy borrowers without repayment; fabricated company documents and financial statements; and used information technology systems that allowed Kabul Bank to maintain one set of financial records to satisfy regulators, and another to keep track of the real distribution of bank funds. Shareholders, related individuals and companies, and politically exposed people were the ultimate beneficiaries of this arrangement. Over 92 percent of Kabul Bank’s loan-book – or approximately $861 million – was for the benefit of 19 related parties (companies and individuals).
December 19, 2012 in U.S. Army
This newsletter was produced in conjunction with the Counterinsurgency (COIN) Training Center–Afghanistan (CTC–A) to provide current and relevant information for brigade combat team (BCT), battalion, and company commanders and staffs concerning current U.S. and coalition best practices in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As a “living document,” it will be updated continuously in order to capture, analyze, and disseminate critical information in support of operations across all lines of effort. It will disseminate key observations, insights, and lessons (OIL) from theater to give commanders a better understanding of the operational environment into which they are preparing to deploy. The information is from your peers—commanders, staff officers, and small unit leaders —who served or who are currently serving in Afghanistan.
This handbook is written for you, the embedded training team (ETT) member. Traditionally, this mission was reserved for Special Forces’ units or teams. With the revision of Army Field Manual 3.0, Operations, this is now a mission for general purpose forces. The Army has not yet officially designated one organization or agency as the ETT proponent; therefore, information concerning TTs circulates at all levels. This handbook has been vetted by the Joint Center for International Security Forces Assistance, 1st Infantry Division, Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, and the Center for Army Lessons Learned Integration Network.
November 28, 2012 in Featured
A collection of documents recently obtained and published by Public Intelligence provides a complete guide to NATO’s training process for “strategic communications” activities, including public diplomacy, public affairs, information operations and psychological operations. The documents, compiled for participants in a NATO training summit, describe the doctrine behind strategic communications and provide practical examples of their use in a number of recent conflicts from Libya to Afghanistan. These activities are designed to contribute “positively and directly in achieving the successful implementation of NATO operations, missions, and activities” as well as “influence the perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of target audiences . . . with the goal of achieving political or military objectives”.
November 24, 2012 in United Nations
Despite the eradication of opium poppy by Governor-led Eradication (GLE) having increased by 154% in comparison to its 2011 level (9,672 hectares eradicated in 2012), the total area under opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan was estimated at 154,000 hectares (125,000 – 189,000) in 2012. While that represents a 18% increase in cultivation, potential opium production was estimated at 3,700 tons (2,800 – 4,200 tons) in 2012, a 36% decrease from the previous year. This was due to a decrease in opium yield caused by a combination of a disease of the opium poppy and adverse weather conditions, particularly in the Eastern, Western and Southern regions of the country.
October 29, 2012 in Afghanistan, Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
This field guide provides small unit leaders and individual Soldiers and Marines a proven collection of actions to focus their efforts while attacking networks. Primarily, these actions consist of mission analysis, briefing, and execution and are adapted for use by these small unit leaders in a population-centric operating environment.
NATO/ISAF engagement in Afghanistan in 2010 was characterised by a refreshed, comprehensive civ-mil strategy as reflected in a substantial force uplift, significant progress in the growth and development of the Afghan National Security Forces, and discernable campaign progress in priority districts. These were reflected in the NATO/ISAF Strategic Communications Framework 2010. In parallel, political events, including the London Conference, the Consultative Peace Jirga, the Kabul Conference, Afghan Parliamentary elections and the NATO Summit in Lisbon, helped define a clear political roadmap for Afghanistan. These developments are reflected in the Lisbon Summit Declaration which provides political guidance for the focus of our efforts in 2011 and reaffirms that NATO’s mission in Afghanistan remains the Alliance’s key priority.
An Open Source Center translation of a decree issued by Hamid Karzai in July 2012 on fighting corruption in Afghanistan.
October 10, 2012 in U.S. Marine Corps
The mission of training and mentoring Afghani police was complicated by (1) the need to establish and occupy nine forward operating bases (FOBs) spread over an area of approximately 28,700 square kilometers, while (2) simultaneously maintaining a level of security that (3) permitted identification of suitable candidates for police and training them, since a police force did not exist yet in the areas in which 2/7 operated and (4) accomplishing this without any established support network. The operational environment was more kinetic and austere than conditions generally experienced by recent veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). Companies and platoons were widely dispersed and follow-on units deploying to such areas in Afghanistan must be prepared to operate in a semi-autonomous manner. Training and organization need to be tailored to those conditions and their specific area of operations (AO), and consideration should be given to the proven utility of the MAGTF in such an environment.
September 11, 2012 in Featured
The problem of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has presented substantial tactical difficulties for coalition forces according to a recent U.S. Army handbook. Produced by the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) and released to soldiers on a restricted basis in June, the handbook presents best practices for reducing civilian casualties (CIVCAS) and offers strategies for mitigating negative effects from casualties among local populations.
The U.S. military has long been committed to upholding the law of armed conflict and minimizing collateral damage. This includes the killing or wounding of noncombatant civilians — described in this handbook as civilian casualties or CIVCAS — as well as damage to facilities, equipment, or other property. Due to several factors, the impact of CIVCAS has increased to the point that single tactical actions can have strategic consequences and limit overall freedom of action. These factors include: the increased transparency of war, where tactical actions can be recorded and transmitted worldwide in real time; increased expectations for the United States’ conduct of war in light of improved precision and overall capabilities; and the enemy exploitation of CIVCAS to undermine U.S. legitimacy and objectives.
Despite the continuous counter-narcotics efforts of the international community and the Afghan government throughout the past decade, Agence France-Presse wrote in April 2012 that Afghanistan continues to be a major contributor to the global drug supply. Approximately 90% of the world’s opium, most of which is processed into heroin, originates in Afghan fields. While potential opium production in Afghanistan peaked in 2007, poppy cultivation has recently risen. For instance, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) marked a 61% increase in the potential opium production between 2010 and 2011. A separate UNODC report from 2010 states that drugs and bribes are equivalent to approximately a quarter of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The aim of reintegration is to stabilize local areas by convincing insurgents, their leaders and their supporters to cease active and/or passive support for the insurgency and to become peaceful members of Afghan society. Reintegration will supplement the continuing lethal and non-lethal activities that form a part of counterinsurgency operations. Reintegration will complement efforts to support political, governance, social and economic opportunity within communities. U.S. support for the Afghan Reintegration Programs must be attuned to Afghan culture.
Afghanistan presents a unique challenge to U.S. Army forces in the geographical, cultural, economic, political, and security dimensions. Providing protection and security to a unique and diverse tribal population is an essential aspect of our counterinsurgency strategy. The proficiency, integrity, and loyalty of Afghan police forces are essential to accomplishing a secure environment and to sustaining success. The following articles cover a range of issues related to SFA and the training of Afghan national police and border police with the specific intent of establishing best practices and lessons learned. The collection should not be considered all-inclusive. This is an effort to capture relevant articles published in recent professional journals or maintained by the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) and other joint archives to inform Soldiers about relevant observations, insights, and lessons and to provide a historical document for future reference.
This paper provides a comprehensive introduction to Afghanistan’s various police agencies, where their authority originates, how they are organized, and the stated purpose and responsibility of each. The paper does not include status or capability information on these agencies with the intent to preserve its utility as a long-lasting reference document. The reader should refer to the IJC IDC’s State of the ANSF and other available intelligence and open source products for current status and capability information on Afghan police agencies.
Human Terrain Team Survey Finds U.S. Soldiers Widely Believe the Afghan Army is Making Little to No Progress
August 9, 2012 in Featured
A research report compiled earlier this year by a group of social scientists working for the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System found that members of the Afghan National Army (ANA) are largely seen by coalition forces as unmotivated, highly dependent and making little to no progress. The report, titled “ANA and CF Partnership in Khost and Paktiya”, is based on interviews and observations made during the Human Terrain Team’s time embedded with a U.S. cavalry squadron from November to December 2011. A survey distributed to three other companies also informs much of the report’s findings, which are intended to analyze “the dynamics that influence partnering between the ANA and [coalition forces] and how they contributed to the ANA’s effectiveness in gaining the Afghan population’s support.” The soldier’s candid responses to the survey provide a great deal of insight into the perceptions of the Afghan National Army among coalition forces.
U.S. Army Human Terrain Team Report: Afghan National Army and Coalition Forces Partnership in Khost and Paktiya
Members of Human Terrain Team AF01 embedded with a U.S. cavalry squadron from November to December 2011. Our goal was to understand the dynamics that influence partnering between the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Coalition Forces (CF) and how those dynamics impacted ANA effectiveness in gaining the Afghan population’s support. We conducted 22 interviews with U.S. Army personnel, including U.S. enlisted Soldiers and officers, U.S. troop commanders, police trainers, and ANA mentors. In addition, we conducted 21 interviews with high- and low-ranking ANA enlisted Soldiers and officers and Afghan police officers. We accompanied U.S. forces on non-kinetic missions to villages throughout Khost and Paktiya to gather perceptions from the Afghan civilian population.
August 3, 2012 in Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization
This study investigates Iran’s strategy of smuggling weapons to Afghan insurgents. Based on the hypothesis that Iran utilizes its weapons smuggling networks as proxies to leverage against foreign threats with predictable results, this study will address Iran’s future weapons smuggling behaviors. Iran, like the United States, is a complex actor pursuing rational, national strategic objectives. The perceived dichotomy between Iran’s words and actions results in an atmosphere of suspicion surrounding Iranian motives that can potentially lead to unintended escalations between Iran and other nations. An increase in tensions between the U.S. and Iran, specifically over perceived threats to Iranian sovereignty, will be matched with an increase in the rate and quantity of weapons, an introduction of more capable weapons, or both. Given the elasticity of realizing strategic success by increasing the rate and quantity of weapons, Iran will likely attempt to quickly counter an imminent threat by deploying more destructive weapons comparable to those Iran supplies to Lebanese Hezbollah.
A recent terrorist attack on a resort hotel in Afghanistan demonstrates the vulnerability of hotels and other “soft” targets to these types of assaults. On June 22, 2012, Afghan forces retook a lakeside hotel outside of Kabul from a Taliban suicide assault team that was holding dozens of civilian hostages. The Taliban claimed credit for the attack, calling the hotel and others near it a “hub of obscenity and vulgarity.”
June 29, 2012 in Headline