The U.S. Army might send pack mules to Afghanistan. The logistics of supplying patrols in that rugged terrain are complex and costly, and new experimental cargo robots aren’t working out.
Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category
A new Congressional report outlines U.S. protection payoffs to Afghan warlords. Warlord, Inc.: Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan was just issued by the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, chaired by Rep. John Tierney (D, MA-6). The subcommittee will hold hearings on the topic today.
Truck convoys supply Forward Operating Bases throughout Afghanistan under DOD’s $2 billion Host Nation Trucking (HNT) program, and the contractors are responsible for providing their own security. They end up “hiring” the warlords and insurgents who would be prone to attacking them.
The U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS) program surfaced on Bob Edwards’ radio program this weekend. The HTS sends anthropologists to Afghanistan in order to minimize cultural misunderstandings between the U.S. military and Afghanis. Three social scientists have died in the effort.
Image by Mike Licht.
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The Military decided use of “embedded anthropologists” in combat zones was effective, but the discipline ruled it unethical. Now the Department of Defense is preparing to launch Minerva, a project based on the concept that knowledge of culture is essential to defense. This sounds like a logical proposition, but no mix of academe and arms is without controversy.
Thanks to the ongoing conflict, Afghanistan now supplies 93% of the world’s opiates, twice the world demand. The opium trade is a major source of funding for insurgents and government corruption.
The war-torn country has coal, oil and gas reserves, but they are undeveloped.
Why not use the opium oversupply to address the energy undersupply? Make ethanol from opium poppies.