On January 27, 2018 at approximately 12:15pm local time, a vehicle resembling an ambulance and laden with explosives detonated after it passed through a police checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan. The explosion killed more than 100 people and wounded approximately 235 others. According to the deputy spokesperson for the Afghanistan Interior Ministry, the vehicle was painted to resemble an ambulance and had successfully passed through a checkpoint after the attacker allegedly told police he was transporting a patient to a nearby hospital. While stopped at a second checkpoint farther inside the city limits, the attacker detonated the explosives concealed in the vehicle.
On Oct. 3, 2015, members of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A) supporting a partnered Afghan force, conducted a combat operation that struck Trauma Center in Kunduz operated by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known as “Doctors without Borders.” U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell, then the Commander of USFOR-A, directed an investigation to determine the cause of this incident. The lead investigating officer was Army Maj. Gen. William Hickman. He was assisted by Air Force Brig. Gen. Robert Armfield and Army Brig. Gen Sean Jenkins. All three generals were brought in from outside Afghanistan in order to provide an objective perspective. The investigation team included over a dozen subject matter experts from several specialty fields.
The report presents the key findings of the Afghanistan Opium Survey 2015. The full report on cultivation and production will be published in November and a separate report with a socioeconomic analysis will be presented early 2016. The survey is implemented annually by MCN in collaboration with the UNODC. The survey team collects and analyses information on the location and extent of opium cultivation, potential opium production and the socio-economic situation in rural areas. Since 2005, MCN and UNODC have also been involved in the verification of opium eradication conducted by provincial governors and poppy-eradication forces. The information is essential for planning, implementing and monitoring the impact of measures required for tackling a problem that has serious implications for Afghanistan and the international community.
U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict 2014 Annual Report
The intensification of conflict-related violence in Afghanistan took an extreme toll on civilians in 2014, with civilian loss of life and injury reaching unprecedented levels. UNAMA documented 10,548 civilian casualties (3,699 deaths and 6,849 injured), marking a 25 per cent increase in civilian deaths, a 21 per cent increase in injuries for an overall increase of 22 per cent in civilian casualties compared to 2013.2 In 2014, UNAMA documented the highest number of civilian deaths and injuries in a single year since it began systematically recording civilian casualties in 2009.
The Afghanistan Opium Survey is implemented annually by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics (MCN) of Afghanistan in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The survey team collects and analyses information on the location and extent of opium cultivation, potential opium production and the socio-economic situation in rural areas. Since 2005, MCN and UNODC have also been involved in the verification of opium eradication conducted by provincial governors and poppy-eradication forces. The results provide a detailed picture of the outcome of the current year’s opium season and, together with data from previous years, enable the identification of medium- and long-term trends in the evolution of the illicit drug problem. This information is essential for planning, implementing and monitoring the impact of measures required for tackling a problem that has serious implications for Afghanistan and the international community.
“First time I ever saw an Afghan Police Station I thought it was something straight out of the dark ages, complete with zero electricity, mud structure, and no sewage drainage. Immediately I knew this mission would be challenging and wondered what the heck I got myself into?” This quote from a U.S. Army Captain is just one example of the unusually blunt assessments contained in the Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance (JCISFA) guide for advising the Afghan National Police (ANP). The 2010 version of the JCISFA ANP Mentor Guide, which was obtained by Public Intelligence along with a guide for troops assisting the Afghan National Army (ANA), contains a number of revealing observations on the often poor condition of Afghan National Security Forces, in particular the ANP.
(U//FOUO) Joint Center for International Security Force Assistance Afghan National Police Mentor Guide
In order to develop the ANP, the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) uses Police Mentor Teams to help develop them. A shortage of PMTs across the country, however, has led to the formation of in-lieu of advisor teams comprised of Soldiers from land owning units or attached Military Police units. The purpose of this document is to help provide those additional advisory teams with information they need to develop the skills required to effectively augment the CSTC-A program. This handbook will provide an overview of the entire police program including current goals, relationships to other organizations, the Focused District Development Program, key challenges that may be encountered and the duties of key members of the police advising teams including how to work with the team’s enablers.
Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer and cultivator of opium poppies; it produces almost three quarters of the world’s illicit opium. While a significant amount of the opium produced in Afghanistan is trafficked out of the country, in 2009 it was estimated that almost 10 per cent of Afghans aged between 15 and 64 were drug users.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
(U//FOUO) Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Ministries of Defense and Interior Organizational Charts
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.