Small Wars Journal

Blog Posts

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 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."
by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty | Sun, 08/12/2018 - 3:26pm | 0 comments
"The IS group's local affiliate in Afghanistan has gained an unrivaled reputation for brutality, regularly beheading their rivals or forcing them to stand on land mines. But while forced marriages and rape have been committed by the extremist group in Iraq and Syria, they have been less reported in Afghanistan, where sexual violence is a social taboo."
by The New York Times | Sun, 08/12/2018 - 2:23pm | 0 comments
"More than 100 police officers and soldiers have been killed in the southeastern Afghan city of Ghazni in three days, a hospital official said on Sunday, as fighting continued in the strategic city, where Taliban insurgents have seized control of most neighborhoods. The insurgents have also begun spreading into districts outside Ghazni city, two of which fell to them overnight, according to reports from local residents and Afghan officials."
by The Washington Post | Sat, 08/11/2018 - 5:49pm | 0 comments
"As Syria’s war enters what could be its last and most dangerous stretch, the Syrian government and its allies will have to contend for the first time with the presence of foreign troops in the quest to bring the rest of the country back under President Bashar al-Assad’s control."
by Georgetown Security Studies Review | Sat, 08/11/2018 - 5:35pm | 0 comments
"Past U.S. stability endeavors have not succeeded due to issues about the legitimacy and scope of its mandates, and to political and operational constraints. U.S. intervention forces carried over distinct mistakes, undermining their overall efforts and the endurance of its stability efforts."
by The Wall Street Journal | Sat, 08/11/2018 - 4:00pm | 0 comments
"Afghan troops and Taliban fighters clashed across an eastern Afghan city on Saturday, as each side claimed the upper hand in the latest major confrontation in the 17-year war between U.S.-backed government forces and the country’s largest, most powerful insurgency. Fighting flared in seven neighborhoods of Ghazni, including three pockets within a half-mile of the governor’s residence, said Nasir Faqiri, a member of the provincial council. The most intense fighting, he said, was under way near a prison holding Taliban fighters on the southeastern edge of the city, 80 miles southeast of the capital Kabul."
by The National Interest | Sat, 08/11/2018 - 3:26am | 0 comments
"In an era of great power competition, 'small' matters a good deal. Little nations are not sand to be ground between the great wheels of major powers. They are made up of people, not pawns. Citizens in small states have the same hopes, aspirations and natural rights as those in world powers. These people have every reason to expect and demand a life of freedom, peace and prosperity."
by The Jamestown Foundation | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 4:34pm | 0 comments
"On June 13, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with their Yemeni allies, launched “Operation Golden Victory.” The grandiosely named offensive is aimed at seizing the Yemeni Red Sea port of Hodeidah, which has been occupied by Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2014."
by The Council on Foreign Relations | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 2:48pm | 0 comments
"Through mass kidnappings, bombings, and other acts of terrorism, the Islamist insurgent group remains an enduring threat to northern Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 12:50pm | 0 comments
"Taliban insurgent forces launched a fierce pre-dawn attack Friday on the eastern Afghan provincial capital of Ghazni, overrunning government buildings amid heavy fighting before being driven out by U.S.-backed Afghan forces, officials said Friday. The surprise ground assault was reminiscent of previous concerted Taliban efforts to capture other provincial capitals including Kunduz in the north, Farah in the west and Lashkar Gah in the south."
by The Wall Street Journal | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 12:01pm | 0 comments
"Taliban fighters stormed a strategic city in eastern Afghanistan on Friday, laying siege to government buildings and security installations, local officials and residents said, in a show of insurgent strength ahead of an expected cease-fire later this month. Over more than six hours of heavy fighting, during which some residents huddled in their homes in terror, the U.S. carried out airstrikes to help Afghan security forces beat back the early-morning attack on Ghazni, the capital of Ghazni province located 80 miles southeast of Kabul."
by Defense News | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 12:37am | 0 comments
"In an era where talking about great power competition is all the rage, the U.K.’s top defense official has a stark warning: Western nations need to start thinking about the big picture."
by The Washington Post | Fri, 08/10/2018 - 12:36am | 0 comments
"The seven years of Syria’s crisis has cost half a million lives, displaced more than 5 million refugees and reordered the geopolitics of the Middle East. But the worst may be yet to come. Western policymakers cannot be allowed to turn the other way and need to show their mettle when the U.N. Security Council meets on Syria this month."
by Military Times | Thu, 08/09/2018 - 6:19pm | 0 comments
“Despite a siege last year that retook a major city in the Philippines and killed an estimated 1,000 ISIS fighters, reducing their ranks to about 200 in the area, Pentagon spending on the military mission there has nearly tripled, according to a recent report. And most of that money is being spent on running a fleet of drones to monitor terrorist activities while supporting ground patrols to clear out ongoing contested areas of the country.”
by Voice of America | Thu, 08/09/2018 - 4:01pm | 0 comments
In an extraordinary breach of the Islamic State's culture of unquestioning obedience, an IS writer calling himself Ibn Jubayr has penned a series of five scathing articles leveling direct and unprecedented criticism at the militant group's leadership, according to a respected monitoring group. The articles come amid a growing number of dissident social media posts by apparent IS members, a stark change in a group where any suggestion of disobedience or criticism normally has been met with harsh punishment, including whippings, torture and often, execution.
by The Hill | Thu, 08/09/2018 - 2:38pm | 0 comments
"It is surprising that with the rise of urban conflict and importance of cities, the U.S. military does not have any schools, research institutes, or major organizations solely focused on the study of and preparation for the full range of military operations in dense urban areas."
by Keith Nightingale | Thu, 08/09/2018 - 5:12am | 0 comments
The hunted and hunters frequently exchange roles depending on circumstances. For hundreds of years, the quarry has practiced its crafts, adhered to Darwin’s thesis and emerged as victors over the most sophisticated and technically armed societies.