Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eight Arrested Over Attack Against U.N. in Afghanistan

South Korea Plans New Afghan Deployment

'The South Korean government announced plans on Friday to send troops and police officers to Afghanistan to help protect its aid workers.

South Korea also plans to expand a reconstruction team now helping to rebuild Afghanistan to 130 to 150 workers, the report said. Currently there are 25 government-assigned aid workers in hospitals and job-training centers in Afghanistan.

“Our troops will not engage in battles except for the security of our workers and for self-defense,” Mr. Moon said.'

Friday, October 30, 2009

'U.S. official resigns over Afghan war'

Quite a thoughtful piece; interesting in that the official is exactly the 'civil-military hybrid' that is in such short supply:

'Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting.

When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.'

Thursday, October 29, 2009

51st Aid Worker Killed in Eastern Chad

'The U.N. refugee agency reports a Chadian colleague working in eastern Chad was killed in an ambush during the weekend. The UNHCR says dozens of humanitarian aid workers have been killed in eastern Chad this year.'

Re-visiting the guidelines for civ-mil interaction in Afghanistan

A good snapshot of duelling perspectives on whether the 2008 guidelines on civ-mil interaction in Afghanistan are truly being respected- let alone understood- by its stakeholders-

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Attack on UN Guest House in Kabul

'The UN said at least five of its international staff were killed in the attack early on Wednesday on the Bakhtar guest house, but did not release their identities.'

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shift aid base to "safe" areas in-country, urges UN official

'Humanitarian agencies should move from Nairobi to "relatively safe" areas of Somalia to be able to better serve more than 1.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) caught up in a "deepening" humanitarian crisis, Walter Kälin, Representative of the UN Secretary-General on the Human Rights of IDPs, said on 21 October.'

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Security Fears Prompt Closure of WFP Food Hubs in Pakistan

Decision is framed by growing security concerns and not the recent suicide bomb attack on the WFP office:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Marine Corps takes hearts and minds one step further- Female Engagement Teams (FET)

'According to a September Marine Corps After Action Review, the teams have been most effective when Afghans perceive their intent as one of establishing a relationship of mutual trust and interest, rather than one of gathering intelligence. They often are welcomed into village homes while dressed in military drab and headscarves. Afghans purportedly view these American women as a “third gender” — female marines are extended the respect shown to men, but granted the access reserved for women. This access has shown the Americans that indigenous women wield significant influence with their husbands, brothers and, especially, their adolescent sons. The presence of F.E.T.’s sends a strong signal of peaceful engagement to local villages. As one village elder put it, “Your men come to fight, but we know the women are here to help.”'

Increasing attacks on aid workers hampering relief efforts in DR Congo, says UN

A good complement to the recent statistics on security incidents in Darfur- 108 attacks on humanitarian staff in 2009:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Italians bribed Taliban to not attack their forces?

An interesting twist: did Italians bribe the Taliban to not attack their forces? Even more interesting, the French claim that this had a negative impact on their security environment...

Crisis of confidence around the Afghan campaign

The Guardian has a good article comparing the current Afghan campaign to the pitfalls of the Soviet occupation:

Not surprisingly, the media is now seeing Kabul as the new Baghdad, and giving it much higher priority:

Tough to say whether Pakistan is in the fore- or background at this point...:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Civilian Goals Largely Unmet in Afghanistan

'WASHINGTON — Even as President Obama leads an intense debate over whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, administration officials say the United States is falling far short of his goals to fight the country’s endemic corruption, create a functioning government and legal system and train a police force currently riddled with incompetence.'

Norwegian Security Contractors Death Sentence - DRC

'Two Norwegian security contractors convicted of murder and espionage in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will tomorrow begin an appeal against their death sentences. Joshua French, 27, who spent part of his early childhood in Margate and holds dual British citizenship, was arrested with Tjostolv Moland, 28, in eastern Congo in May after their driver was found shot dead. The men denied shooting Abedi Kasongo in the head, and said he had been killed during an attack by unknown gunmen.'

More here:

UN-backed Congo military offensive a 'humanitarian disaster'

UN-backed Congo military offensive a 'humanitarian disaster' -