Tag Archive for Afghanistan

Identity Dominance: The U.S. Military’s Biometric War in Afghanistan

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For years the U.S. military has been waging a biometric war in Afghanistan, working to unravel the insurgent networks operating throughout the country by collecting the personal identifiers of large portions of the population. A restricted U.S. Army guide on the use of biometrics in Afghanistan obtained by Public Intelligence provides an inside look at this ongoing battle to identify the Afghan people.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Army Commander’s Guide to Biometrics in Afghanistan

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Biometrics capabilities on the tactical battlefield enable a wide variety of defensive and offensive operations. Biometrics help ensure enemy personnel, criminals, and other undesirable elements are not allowed access to our facilities, hired to provide services, or awarded contracts. Biometrics is used to vet members of the Afghan government and military with whom our forces interact. Unfortunately, biometrics capabilities we put in the hands of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen — and that we ask unit commanders to employ — are relatively recent additions to the list of capabilities our military employs on the battlefield today.

U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2013 Annual Report

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Armed conflict in Afghanistan took an unrelenting toll on Afghan civilians in 2013. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 8,615 civilian casualties (2,959 civilian deaths and 5,656 injured) in 2013, marking a seven percent increase in deaths, 17 percent increase in injured, and a 14 percent increase in total civilian casualties compared to 2012.

NATO Afghan Ministry of Defense and Afghan National Army General Staff Master Ministerial Development Plan

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At the International Conference on Afghanistan held in Bonn in December 2011 and again at the Chicago Summit in May 2012, the international community made a commitment to support Afghanistan in its Transformation Decade beyond 2014. Thus, as Afghan authorities assume the lead for security in all regions, and the NATO-led combat mission changes in scope, ministerial and institutional development will likely continue as an enduring mission. This mission is currently being conducted under the authority of Commander, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, Combined Security Transition Command- Afghanistan (NTM-A/CSTC-A) as a U.S. mission through bilateral agreements with Canada and the UK. Within the NTM-A/CSTC-A organization, the Deputy Commander- Army (DCOM-A), in coordination with the Ministry of Defense (MoD), generates and sustains the Afghan National Army (ANA), assists in the development of its leaders, and guides the establishment of an enduring institutional capacity in order to deliver a competent and capable Afghan security force. This plan will be reviewed and revised on an annual basis (in November of each year) to ensure that the advising effort and personnel resources are properly adjusted, as the institutional capability and capacity of the MoD and GS c:continues to develop.

The U.S. Government’s Diminishing Expectations Plan for Afghanistan

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with U.S. Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, as U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham listens, in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 26, 2013.

Public Intelligence has obtained the most recent version of the U.S. Civil-Military Strategic Framework for Afghanistan, the second revision of the document dated August 2013, detailing the U.S. government’s goals and priorities for rebuilding Afghan society. Issued by the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham and signed by the commander of U.S. forces Joseph Dunford, the framework covers U.S. priorities related to governance, the rule of law, socioeconomic development as well as the gradual transfer of authority to the Afghan government. When compared with a previous version of the framework from March 2012, also obtained by Public Intelligence, the document solidifies the prospect of long-term U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, removing optimistic statements about turnover dates and self-sustaining funding estimates and replacing them with measured assessments reinforcing the notion that U.S. and international forces will be present in Afghanistan far into the next decade.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Civil-Military Strategic Framework for Afghanistan

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The U.S. Civil-Military Strategic Framework for Afghanistan outlines U.S. priorities through the Transformation Decade (2015-2024). It is meant to be adaptive, giving decision makers in Kabul and Washington, and policy implementers throughout Afghanistan, the flexibility needed to respond to changing conditions while advancing a set of commonly stated strategic goals and priorities.

Marine Corps Intelligence Activity Afghanistan Country Handbook and Cultural Field Guide

This handbook provides basic reference information on Afghanistan, including its geography, history, government, military forces, and communications and transportation networks. This information is intended to familiarize military personnel with local customs and area knowledge to assist them during their assignment to Afghanistan.

(U//FOUO) Open Source Center Master Narratives Country Report: Afghanistan

Understanding master narratives can be the difference between analytic anticipation and unwanted surprise, as well as the difference between communications successes and messaging gaffes. Master narratives are the historically grounded stories that reflect a community’s identity and experiences, or explain its hopes, aspirations, and concerns. These narratives help groups understand who they are and where they come from, and how to make sense of unfolding developments around them. As they do in all countries, effective communicators in Afghanistan invoke master narratives in order to move audiences in a preferred direction. Afghan influencers rely on their native familiarity with these master narratives to use them effectively. This task is considerably more challenging for US communicators and analysts because they must place themselves in the mindset of foreign audiences who believe stories that — from an American vantage point — may appear surprising, conspiratorial, or even outlandish.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Army Division Commander’s Guide to Information Operations

Warfare in the 21st Century necessitates a complete shift in the way we think and the way we fight. More than ever, the use of nonlethal effects is having a profound impact on conflicts. Much of today’s battlefield is in the minds of the public, shaped by the spoken word, cyberspace, media, and other means of strategic communications, as well as by our physical actions. Consequently, melding information with physical operations may very well be decisive in counterinsurgency and other stability operations. By melding information operations with physical operations, the division commander, who is executing a war against an insurgency and simultaneously attempting to pacify a populace, can gain the respect, compliance, and support of the people who may tip the balance in his favor. The enemy has become adept at all means of communications, in particular information operations, and uses his actions to reinforce his message. As a result, he influences not only the indigenous population but also the world as a whole.

ISAF Security Force Assistance Guide

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This guide is designed to provide NATO partners and troop contributing nations (TCNs) participating as part of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) a common understanding of Security Force Assistance (SFA) activities. It provides a summary of the ISAF SFA concept as well as guidance and information concerning SFA activities, countering the insider threat, mission critical tasks, and training requirements in support of Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF).

Special Inspector General Strategic Plan for Tracking Anti-Corruption Progress in Afghanistan

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Reducing corruption and increasing accountability are important components of the U.S. reconstruction strategy in Afghanistan. Since 2002, the United States has appropriated over $96 billion for reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan and, as part of that assistance, has designated numerous programs or activities to directly or indirectly help strengthen the ability of Afghan government institutions to combat corruption. In 2010, in line with a commitment to provide more assistance directly to the Afghan government, the United States and other donors committed, in part, to providing technical assistance to develop the Afghan government’s capacity to reduce corruption. The ability of the Afghan government to deliver services to its citizens without the illicit diversion of resources is crucial to the country’s development and the government’s standing as a legitimate, sovereign authority. Further, as Afghanistan subsequently enters a transformation phase during which it will need to rely on progressively smaller amounts of funding from international donors, it must work to ensure that the revenue it generates is not susceptible to graft and corruption.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Marine Corps Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan Lessons Learned Report

A Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) is a civil-military organization, task-organized to a geographical province, whose purpose is to extend the reach and legitimacy of the Central Government of Afghanistan by developing a self-sustaining, peaceful, civil-society. It is a tactical organization with strategic impact. The ratio of military to other governmental, United Nations (UN), and non-governmental organizations depends heavily on the degree to which the area is pacified. The success of a PRT is measured by its ability to increase Central Government capacity and good governance as well as to, “Seize the human terrain and defeat the enemy.” One important element of this is to identify and mentor key Afghan personnel in democratic governance and leadership.

UNODC Afghanistan Opium Survey 2012

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.

UNODC Afghanistan Opium Risk Assessment 2013

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

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.

Afghanistan Independent Anti-Corruption Monitoring Report on the Kabul Bank Crisis

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).

(U//FOUO) U.S. Army Operation Enduring Freedom Battle Command in Counterinsurgency

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.

(U//FOUO) U.S. Army Operation Enduring Freedom Embedded Training Team Handbook

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.

Strategic Communications: How NATO Shapes and Manipulates Public Opinion

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”.