Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

How the US failed to rebuild Afghanistan

April 11, 2018

“Where the road ends in Afghanistan, the Taliban begin.”
The U.S. has been in Afghanistan since 2001, and US strategy has centered on rebuilding Afghanistan’s crumbling infrastructure, mostly to expedite military logistics and maneuvers. Over $3 billion has been spent on a single project, the Ring Road. It was never completed.This Vox video explains.


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A Child’s Garden of Drones

June 7, 2012

A Child's Garden of Drones

“I can feel it in the air tonight, oh Lord” — Phil Collins

“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones,” Cora Currier, Pro Publica

Almost 1 in 3 U.S. Warplanes is a Robot,” Spencer Ackerman and Noah Schachtman, Wired Danger Room

“Rise of the drone: From Calif. garage to multibillion-dollar defense industry,” Peter Finn, Washington Post


Army Mules for Afghanistan?

June 6, 2011

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.


Pentagon Observes Banned Books Week?

September 28, 2010

Pentagon Observes Banned Books Week?

In recognition of Banned Book Week, the Defense Department bought up nearly 10,000 copies of a memoir and destroyed them. The book, Operation Dark Heart, was written by former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Anthony A. Shaffer and covers his special operations experience in Afghanistan.


U.S. Funds Afghan Warlords

June 22, 2010

U.S. Funds Afghan Warlords
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.


Anthropologists in Afghanistan

April 11, 2010

Anthropologists in Afghanistan

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.

While it sounds noble and straightforward, the program is controversial within academia for ethical reasons, and questions have been raised concerning the capabilities of the HTS leadership. 

The Marines also utilize HTS scientists, and there is a film about the program.  Vanessa M. Gezari  reported on the Human Terrain System last summer (more here).


Image by Mike Licht.

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.