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 | Sat, 08/25/2018 - 12:09am | 0 comments
“Just over a week ago, Afghan and U.S. officials hoped that after 17 years of war, the Taliban was starting down a road to peace. Despite a deadly four-day attack on the city of Ghazni, President Ashraf Ghani had offered the insurgents a second cease-fire since June, and Taliban leaders had hinted that they wanted to continue private talks held with U.S. officials in July. Now, that optimism has all but collapsed.”
by Deutsche Welle | Sat, 08/25/2018 - 12:06am | 0 comments
In an interview with DW, South Asia expert Michael Kugelman explains why Kabul and Washington turned down Moscow's invitation to participate in an Afghanistan peace conference next month. Michael Kugelman is a senior associate for South and Southeast Asia at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars.
by Foreign Policy | Sat, 08/25/2018 - 12:03am | 0 comments
“In recent decades, a growing body of research has shown that when women’s groups are able to meaningfully influence peace processes, the resulting agreements are stronger and more likely to last. As a result, inclusive peace processes have gained traction internationally.”
by Voice of America | Fri, 08/24/2018 - 7:53pm | 0 comments
The United States and the Taliban are reported to be in the early stages of discussions for the first time since 2012. Retired U.S. Army Colonel Christopher Kolenda, who fought in Afghanistan and later served as a senior Pentagon adviser, was instrumental in helping set up those talks - in part through his own discussion with Taliban officials in Qatar. He spoke with VOA’s William Gallo about where he sees the peace process going, especially in light of a recent surge in violence. This interview was condensed for clarity.
by The Washington Post | Fri, 08/24/2018 - 12:32pm | 0 comments
“For all of the attention paid to the emergence of homegrown Islamist terrorists in Belgium, France and other European countries, one of the continent’s biggest radicalization problems is taking places on its fringes.”
by The New York Times | Fri, 08/24/2018 - 10:05am | 0 comments
"The rebels have blown up oil pipelines and blasted police stations in Colombia with homemade bombs. They take over highways, shutting down parts of the country for days. They have killed soldiers in ambushes - and kept others alive as hostages of their guerrilla movement. For years, the rebel chain of command has run through Israel Ramírez Pineda, one of the five guerrilla leaders who run the last major insurgent group in Colombia, the National Liberation Army."
by InSight Crime | Fri, 08/24/2018 - 12:09am | 0 comments
"The restructuring of Colombia’s underworld in the wake of the demobilization of the FARC guerrillas continues apace, with cells of criminalized former fighters seeking new alliances, rebuilding old ones and striking out on their own."
by Time Magazine | Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:01pm | 0 comments
"An ominous orange glow lit up the sky for miles around. It was after midnight on Aug. 11, and the city of Ghazni, less than 100 miles from Kabul, was on fire. Approaching the outskirts of town in a convoy of heavily armored 22-ton vehicles, the team of Green Berets from Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) Team 1333 took it as the first sign that it wasn’t going to be an easy night."
by DoD News | Thu, 08/23/2018 - 10:23am | 0 comments
Resolute Support Mission operations update by Army Gen. John Nicholson, Resolute Support Mission commander, via satellite to reporters in the Pentagon briefing room, Washington, Aug. 22, 2018.
by The Modern War Institute | Thu, 08/23/2018 - 9:58am | 0 comments
As the Army’s first dedicated, permanent expeditionary advisory unit, 1st SFAB now has six months in Afghanistan. In late July, the Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR) published its fortieth quarterly report on progress across the country, with a special excerpt on how things are going for the SFAB so far. The report discusses two areas that are particularly key to the SFAB’s success: the potential impacts of the evolving nature of its mission and whether the gains being made now by the ANDSF are independently sustainable.
by The Washington Post | Thu, 08/23/2018 - 8:48am | 0 comments
“The exodus is the consequence of severe economic deprivation and mounting desperation among Venezuelans. The country’s economy has shrunk by half in just five years, and inflation is nearing a staggering 1 million percent. Shortages of food and medicine have led to a crisis in public health, with once-vanquished diseases such as diphtheria and measles returning and the rate of infant mortality rising sharply. U.N. officials claim that some 1.3 million Venezuelans who left the country were ‘suffering from malnourishment.’”
by Defense One | Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:08am | 0 comments
"The Trump administration's strategy has produced no definitive improvements along its pillars. Pakistan remains a safe haven for terrorist groups."
by Associated Press | Wed, 08/22/2018 - 6:59pm | 0 comments
“The United States has rejected an invitation to join Russia-led talks on Afghanistan because they are unlikely to help bring peace, a State Department spokesman said Wednesday. Russia said that the Taliban will be joining the Sept. 4 talks in Moscow, along with representatives of several neighboring countries. It will be one of the insurgent group’s biggest diplomatic forays since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.”
by Military Times | Wed, 08/22/2018 - 2:46pm | 0 comments
"Despite renewed violence and few measurable gains in territorial security, the South Asia Strategy is working and has finally given coalition and Afghan forces the support they need to get to a negotiated peace with the Taliban, the departing top U.S. general in charge of Afghanistan operations said Wednesday."
by Voice of America | Wed, 08/22/2018 - 7:13am | 0 comments
Tuesday marked one year since U.S. President Donald Trump unveiled his South Asia strategy with a focus on Afghanistan. Since then, Afghanistan has seen some of the worst violence since the U.S.-led invasion almost 17 years ago. In 2017, while announcing the strategy, Trump put forth a case for staying the course in Afghanistan and not allowing the country to become a haven for terrorists who would once again pose a threat to U.S. national security.
by Marine Corps Times | Tue, 08/21/2018 - 6:37pm | 0 comments
“The commanding general of a 300 Marine task force in Helmand, Afghanistan, described the rapid drawdown of U.S forces in Afghanistan under the Obama administration premature. The comments from Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of Task Force Southwest, came in an interview with Forces Network. ‘From a military perspective we left absolutely too soon,’ Watson said in the interview. ‘We left Afghan security forces with more than they could handle, and I think we saw the catastrophic results over the next year or two.’”
by Military Times | Tue, 08/21/2018 - 6:09pm | 0 comments
“As part of a culture of feedback, commanders and airmen told AMC leadership that we needed to do something about the Afghanistan-Pakistan Hands program. Under this program, airmen spend two years - out of a four-year commitment - in Afghanistan establishing relationships with key leaders and helping to build governance structures. The task force looked closer at this program and discovered significant hardships placed on families supporting a loved one in AFPAK Hands, coupled with a lack of incentives that would appeal to volunteers. As a result, few - and often no - volunteers were coming forward.”
by The Wall Street Journal | Tue, 08/21/2018 - 5:31pm | 0 comments
The Taliban and Islamic State fighters have killed more than 300 people in Afghanistan in the last week or so. 'The Wall Street Journal's' Gerald F. Seib asks if this might be a lead-in to diplomatic activity.
by Foreign Affairs | Tue, 08/21/2018 - 5:09am | 0 comments
"Afghanistan’s toxic mix of 'state collapse, civil conflict, ethnic disintegration and multisided intervention has locked it in a self-perpetuating cycle that may be simply beyond outside resolution,' as Max Fisher and Amanda Taub summarized in a New York Times post. But their diagnosis does not speak to a critical dimension of the conflict: namely, how the relative indifference of the U.S. public has allowed the war to drag on."
by Defense One | Mon, 08/20/2018 - 4:35pm | 0 comments
“The Trump administration has ended a civilian aid program in the country, but the cost of the counter-ISIS fight far outweighs those savings. When President Trump said on Twitter this weekend that the U.S. had ended “the ridiculous” $230 million in civilian funds it provides for Syria, he seemed keen to emphasize the savings to the U.S. He did not add that the U.S. will continue spending billions of dollars in the country to fight ISIS.”
by The Wall Street Journal | Mon, 08/20/2018 - 4:38am | 0 comments
"President Trump is expected to nominate a former operations officer who played a critical role in the 2011 raid targeting Osama bin Laden to head of the U.S. Special Operations Command as part of a series of military promotions in coming months, according to U.S. officials. The changes, which include commanders for the Middle East and Europe, will mark the administration’s largest imprint on military leadership thus far. The personnel moves stand to affect top officers overseeing conflicts in the Middle East, U.S. policy to counter Russia, the detention center on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as stealth operations globally."
by The New York Times | Mon, 08/20/2018 - 3:55am | 0 comments
"Even as insurgents in Afghanistan have escalated their attacks against government forces across the country, they have also been staging a simultaneous charm offensive of sorts in advance of Eid al-Adha, the Islamic Feast of Sacrifice, which starts this week. In the past week alone, the Taliban have overrun a city, burned down government facilities, hidden in civilians’ homes and killed hundreds of their opponents."
by The Washington Post | Mon, 08/20/2018 - 3:53am | 0 comments
"The campaign started with the cyber equivalent of a massive airstrike: law-enforcement agencies from eight countries, moving in unison to smash two of the main propaganda organs of the Islamic State. In the two-day operation in April, police seized computers and networks servers across Europe and North America and blocked Internet portals used by the terrorist group’s radio broadcaster, al-Bayan, and its official news agency, Amaq. Yet, less than a week later, Amaq suddenly reappeared at a different Web address, forcing the governments to pounce again. Then it surfaced a third time. And a fourth.
by Stars & Stripes | Sun, 08/19/2018 - 3:17pm | 0 comments
"Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday announced a three-month-long cease-fire with the Taliban beginning Monday – but only if the Taliban reciprocate. 'We call on the leadership of the Taliban to welcome the wishes of Afghans for a long-lasting and real peace, and we urge them to get ready for peace-talks based on Islamic values and principles,' Ghani said via a tweet."
by Dave Dilegge | Sun, 08/19/2018 - 6:35am | 2 comments
A hearty thanks to the TRADOC G2 Mad Scientist Initiative.