4-star: ISIS recruiting in Afghanistan, Pakistan

The Islamic State terror group is recruiting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday.

“We are seeing reports of some recruiting,” said Gen. John Campbell, commander of the Resolute Support mission, during an interview with Army Times. “There have been some night letter drops, there have been reports of people trying to recruit both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, quite frankly.” Continue reading

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The Flawed German Debate on Armed Drone Acquisition: “What Does This Have to Do with Our Procurement Plans, for God’s Sake?”

Image: Flickr/UK Ministry of Defense

 

In Germany, defence and military policy is rarely a subject of great interest to the general public. The pacifist mainstream view and the “friendly disinterest” in the Bundeswehr means that military matters are seldom discussed in detail by the general media.

There is one military topic, however, which has been discussed repeatedly and heatedly over the last few years: whether the German Bundeswehr should procure armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called ‘drones’.

The Bundeswehr has been using drones – the unarmed types – since the 1970s and, until recently, had five different UAV models in use in Afghanistan. German firms produce smaller military surveillance UAVs and sell them to both the Bundeswehr as well as abroad. Until recently, however, the general public did not show a particular interest in these aircraft. Continue reading

Here’s what happens when Taliban leaders are released

Defense Department

Five Guantanamo prisoners were released in exchange for American POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. From left: Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammad Nabi Omari.

If anyone doubts that the five senior Taliban leaders President Obama released this weekend will return to the fight and kill more Americans, they need only look at what happened when the George W. Bush administration released a Taliban leader named Mullah Abdul Qayyum Zakir (a.k.a. Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul) in 2007.

Unlike the terrorists Obama just set free, Zakir was assessed by our military as only “medium risk” of returning to the fight. At Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Zakir pretended to be a low-ranking conscript and told officials he simply wanted to “go back home and join my family” and promised “I [have] never been America’s enemy and I never intend to be.” Continue reading

Mystery surrounds move of Afghan ‘torturer in chief’ to U.S. amid allegations of spy agency abuse

 

Tomas van Houtryve/ASSOCIATED PRESS – Haji Gulalai, then an Afghan intelligence chief, is in sunglasses to the right of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2002. Gul Agha Sherzai, governor of Kandahar, is on the other side of Karzai.

In Afghanistan, his presence was enough to cause prisoners to tremble. Hundreds in his organization’s custody were beaten, shocked with electrical currents or subjected to other abuses documented in human rights reports. Some allegedly disappeared.

And then Haji Gulalai disappeared as well.

Graphic

The ten provinces with multiple incidents of torture by Afghanistan's intelligence service the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

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The ten provinces with multiple incidents of torture by Afghanistan’s intelligence service the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

U.S. officials say the Afghan government can’t maintain even a fraction of its road network

He had run Afghan intelligence operations in Kandahar after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and later served as head of the spy service’s detention and interrogation branch. After 2009, his whereabouts were unknown. Continue reading