Small Wars Journal

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SWJ Blog is a multi-author blog publishing news and commentary on the various goings on across the broad community of practice.  We gladly accept guest posts from serious voices in the community.

by Reuters | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 7:42am | 0 comments
"The 1st SFAB was formed last year as a new force of experienced advisers, to focus U.S. army training and support for Afghan troops and, in future, for other foreign armies. It deployed to Afghanistan in March, putting U.S. advisers, previously largely restricted to Corps headquarters, together with front-line brigades and battalions for the first time since most international forces left in 2014."
by Voice of America | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:17am | 0 comments
"Afghan officials claim that dozens of Pakistani nationals were among more than 400 militants killed in fierce battles in southeastern Ghazni province in the past several days. The Afghan Ministry of Defense also said it confirmed the presence of Pakistani nationals fighting in Ghazni province, but did not give details pending an investigation. Pakistani officials reject the Afghan government's allegations that Pakistani nationals were fighting alongside the Taliban against Afghan government forces."
by Time Magazine | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:15am | 0 comments
"For years, Syria’s defeated rebels have fled to the northern territory of Idlib, which was established as a “de-escalation zone” guaranteed by Turkey, Russia and Iran. As the government retook areas like Aleppo and eastern Ghouta, surrendering fighters and their families were sent to Idlib under a deal negotiated by the regime’s ally Russia. Now it is the last major opposition-held region in the country–and the last major obstacle to President Bashar Assad declaring victory. His regime is sending tanks north and has scaled up air attacks in preparation for what could be the final battle in this seven-year-long civil war."
by National Defense University Press | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:13am | 0 comments
Continue on for links to all the articles and book reviews in the latest issue of JFQ.
by The Washington Post | Fri, 08/17/2018 - 5:11am | 0 comments
"The Trump administration has moved to give the military more latitude to conduct offensive cyber operations against American adversaries, continuing an effort begun last year to grant commanders more leeway to make battlefield decisions. President Trump on Wednesday signed an order delegating authority to the defense secretary to use cyber tools and techniques to disrupt or degrade an adversary’s network or choke off attacks underway, loosening rules established under the Obama administration."
by Voice of America | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 8:33am | 0 comments
"Destroying the Islamic State is proving more difficult than the United States and its allies envisioned, with the most recent intelligence assessments warning that the self-declared caliphate is well-positioned to rise again. For months, U.S. and coalition officials have talked about how the combination of air power and partner forces on the ground cleared the IS terror group, also known as ISIS or Daesh, from about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq."
by The Washington Post | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 1:11am | 0 comments
"Lawmakers increased pressure on the Trump administration over the war in Yemen this week after an airstrike killed dozens of children, urging officials to explain and possibly adjust U.S. support for nations waging war against rebels there. Democratic members of the House and Senate have sent three separate letters in the past three days to officials at the Defense and State departments and in the intelligence community, asking for an accounting of American involvement in a conflict that critics say has exposed the U.S. government to claims of responsibility for thousands of civilian deaths."
by Defense One | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 12:29am | 0 comments
“Nearly a year since the Trump administration rolled out its South Asia strategy, carnage in Afghanistan continues even as negotiations for peace inches ahead. Taken individually, each development is an embarrassing defeat for the Afghan government and its Western supporters; taken together, the setbacks, especially the events in Ghazni, challenge the U.S. and Afghan government’s narrative of progress in the conflict.”
by The National Interest | Thu, 08/16/2018 - 12:27am | 0 comments
"A recent investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) may have been bought off by the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the Yemeni forces they back. The investigation cites instances of deals having been made between AQAP, the UAE, and their proxy forces."
by Voice of America | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 8:55pm | 0 comments
"Following days of relentless attacks and fierce fighting in various parts of the country, a suicide attack Wednesday on an educational institution in Kabul killed almost 50 people, testing Afghan security forces. The blast in Mowoud Academy, in a Shiite-dominated part of town, happened when students were taking a university entrance examination. Afghan Taliban have denied responsibility. Previous attacks on Shiites in Kabul have been claimed by Islamic State. Earlier in the day, the Taliban raided a military base in Baghlan, in northern Afghanistan, killing 40 security personnel."
by The Wall Street Journal | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 8:17pm | 0 comments
“A blast that killed scores of students preparing here for their university entrance examinations capped an extraordinary week of violence in Afghanistan, undermining what the U.S. and Afghan governments had considered real prospects for an imminent cease-fire and a new round of peace talks with the Taliban.”
by The New York Times | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 9:55am | 0 comments
"Taliban insurgents overran an Afghan Army base and a police checkpoint in northern Afghanistan on Wednesday, killing at least 39 soldiers and police officers, officials said, and a suicide bomber in the capital killed at least 25 people in a classroom. Hundreds of Taliban fighters carried out the predawn attacks on two units of Afghan forces in the Baghlan-e-Markazi District of Baghlan Province."
by The Washington Post | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 2:24am | 0 comments
“Statistics released this month by the University of Maryland suggest that 2017 was the third consecutive year that the number of terrorist attacks around the world — and the deaths caused by them — had dropped. So far, 2018 looks on track to be lower still. The university’s Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) program found there were 10,900 terrorist attacks around the world last year, which killed a total of 26,400 people, including perpetrators. That was a drop from 2016, which was in turn a drop from 2015. Right now, the number of terrorist attacks and deaths from terrorism appears to have peaked in 2014, when there were nearly 17,000 attacks and more than 45,000 victims.”
by Voice of America | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 1:48am | 0 comments
Despite major attacks by the Taliban in various provinces of Afghanistan including southeastern Ghazni province in recent days, the Afghan government is still considering attempting a possible cease-fire with insurgents ahead of the Eid holidays, a government spokesperson told VOA.
by Stars & Stripes | Wed, 08/15/2018 - 12:39am | 0 comments
The Islamic State problem in Iraq and Syria is “far from over” and U.S. and coalition forces are not letting up on efforts to neutralize ISIS fighters from cities where they still have strongholds, military officials said Tuesday. “There is still a lot of work to be done both militarily and on civilian stabilization efforts in both countries,” said Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led coalition fight against ISIS. “Make no mistake - the coalition is not talking victory or taking our foot off the gas in working with our partners.”
by The Daily Beast | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 8:28pm | 0 comments
"Talks need to have a plan and lead to a conclusion, but it’s far from clear the U.S. government has a clear idea what the goal should be, and how it should be reached. Some ideas."
by The Washington Post | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 11:06am | 0 comments
“In recent days, two wars have raged over the Afghan city of Ghazni. One is a shooting war, in which hundreds of Taliban insurgents overran the eastern city of 270,000, burned buildings, left at least 120 security forces and civilians dead, and sent families fleeing across fields to safety... The other is a propaganda war, in which the Taliban claimed to have shut down the nearby highway, killed hundreds of government troops and seized strategic official facilities, even as Afghan and U.S. officials repeatedly asserted that the city was under government control and the insurgents were being systematically cleared out.”
by Voice of America | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 5:41am | 0 comments
The Islamic State terror group may be far more resilient, stronger and dangerous than U.S. officials have been willing to let on, boasting a fighting force in Iraq and Syria that comes close to what it fielded at its peak. After four years of bombings, the elimination of key IS leaders, and other U.S. and coalition backed efforts, there are still anywhere from 28,600 to 31,600 IS fighters in Iraq and Syria, according to information given by the Defense Department to the lead inspector general for Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Pacific Eagle–Philippines.
by The New York Times | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:23am | 0 comments
"The American-led invasion of Afghanistan routed Taliban extremists from power after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 17 years later, after tens of thousands of deaths, hundreds of billions of dollars spent and two White House administrations come and gone, those extremists are not only undefeated but seem as strong as ever. Since Friday, Taliban fighters have roamed the streets of Ghazni City, a strategic urban center less than 100 miles from the capital, Kabul, killing dozens of Afghan soldiers and police officers, cutting communications and severing the main highway from Kabul to the south and beyond."
by The Washington Times | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:21am | 0 comments
“The Taliban is on the verge of dramatically expanding its control over southern and eastern Afghanistan in a surprise offensive that has caught Afghan and American forces off guard and thrown a vexing new wrench into the Trump administration’s strategy for ending the nearly 17-year-old war there. The Afghan Defense Ministry said Monday a Taliban assault on the city of Ghanzi — a key provincial capital linking other areas under the Islamic militant group’s control just 75 miles southeast of Kabul — has killed roughly 100 Afghan security forces and some 20 civilians over the past three days.”
by The Washington Post | Tue, 08/14/2018 - 12:18am | 0 comments
"The LRA, a cultlike rebel group led by Joseph Kony, terrorized northern Uganda for almost two decades, killing 100,000 and displacing 1.7 million with the stated intention of imposing a rule based on the Ten Commandments. Its fighters kidnapped tens of thousands of children, turning them into killers who carried out rapes, torture and massacres, before the group was driven out of the country in 2006."
by Associated Press | Mon, 08/13/2018 - 6:36pm | 0 comments
"A year after the Trump administration introduced its strategy for Afghanistan, the Taliban are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk up hopes for peace. That's raising questions about the viability of the American game plan for ending a war that began when some of the current U.S. troops were in diapers. A Taliban assault on Ghazni, a key city linking areas of Taliban influence barely 75 miles from Kabul, has killed about 100 Afghan security forces and 20 civilians since Friday, the Afghan Defense Ministry said. That has demonstrated the militants' ability to attack, if not hold, a strategic center on the nation's main highway, and highlighted the vulnerability of Afghan security forces."
by SWJ Editors | Mon, 08/13/2018 - 4:52pm | 0 comments
Colonel Dave Maxwell is a long-time friend, supporter and mentor of and for Small Wars Journal. Congratulations Colonel Maxwell!
by Military Times | Mon, 08/13/2018 - 3:13pm | 0 comments
“Late last week, less than 100 miles from Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, Taliban forces launched a major assault that overwhelmed the strategically important city of Ghazni and allegedly captured portions of it. That battle in eastern Afghanistan was still waging Monday morning when the U.S. Air Force and elements of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division were called in to support Afghan government troops.”
by Center for Strategic & International Studies | Mon, 08/13/2018 - 2:45pm | 0 comments
"The U.S. has now reached the point where the third Administration in a row is fighting wars where the U.S. often scores serious tactical victories and makes claims that it is moving toward some broader form of victory but cannot announce any clear strategy for actually ending any given war or bringing a stable peace. Once again, a new Administration seems to have focused on the tactical level of conflict and called this a strategy but has failed to have any clear strategy for ending the fighting on favorable terms."