Latest news and happenings of Afghanistan and region…
The majority of U.S. military veterans say America’s most recent wars were not worth fighting, according to the results of a recent Pew Research Center survey published ahead of Veterans Day.
In addition to polling 1,087 former service members on their opinions of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pew survey attempted to gauge differences in wartime experiences between different generations of service members, whether or not they believed the military prepared them to transition to civilian life, their opinion of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and whether they remained proud of their service, among other things.
When it comes to the Global War on Terror, roughly two-thirds of veterans (64 percent) say they think the war in Iraq was not worth fighting in light of the “costs versus the benefits to the United States,” while 33 percent say that it was. While a majority of veterans say the same about Afghanistan, that number is slightly lower, at 58 percent.
Those perspectives differ along party lines, according to the survey: “Republican and Republican-leaning veterans are much more likely than veterans who identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party to say the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were worth fighting: 45 percent of Republican veterans vs. 15 percent of Democratic veterans say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while 46 percent of Republican veterans and 26 percent of Democratic veterans say the same about Afghanistan.”
When an Afghanistan-based Special Forces soldier was critically injured in combat over the summer, medics in Texas jumped into action for a 16,000-mile, first-of-its-kind mission to bring him home alive.
As per Stars & Stripes report, the soldier suffered from serious wounds that in the past would have prevented such an evacuation. However, advancements in battlefield medicine and trauma care — honed from decades of fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria — have led to a solution being carried out solely by the 59th Medical Wing’s ECMO program at Joint Base San Antonio.
ECMO stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation — a heart-lung bypass system that circulates blood through an external, artificial lung and sends it back into a patient’s bloodstream. The technique allows diseased or injured lungs to heal and enables the wing’s ECMO team to transport critically ill patients around the world while caring for them.
On Aug. 16, within hours of being notified about the injured soldier in Afghanistan, a six-member ECMO team was aboard a commercial flight to Germany, Lt. Col. Valerie Sams recently told Stars and Stripes by phone. She’s one of only two critical care surgeons in the Air Force able to perform ECMO.
Once at Bagram, the team determined that the soldier didn’t need ECMO, but that his kidneys were failing because of the muscle damage. He risked going into cardiac arrest.
The nonstop, 20-hour journey back to San Antonio with patient in tow required two nighttime mid-air refuelings – once somewhere over Europe and again over Maine.
The injured soldier has been “doing outstanding,” Sams said in a recent email, and should soon enter rehab after being discharged from San Antonio Military Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking about ECMO itself — the treatment was developed in the 1950s — Sams said her team’s missions are unique because of the great distances they travel.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani says Afghanistan is close to peace than it has ever been and that the government is working hard to end the conflict.
Speaking at the commemoration ceremony of Milad-ul-Nabi, the birth day of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, Ghani said, “We have lost peace for decades and we have no other way than to follow the guidance of Prophet Muhammad to achieve it.”
“We will have a real and lasting peace when we are loyal to justice. If one Afghan is not equal to another, if every Afghan does not have the right to vote in the fate of his or her own government, if we do not have the independent powers to balance the exercise of power, if we do not give people the right to comment and criticize, then We have closed the gates to justice,” he said.
He emphasized that the working fields should be provided for Afghan people to be out of necessity.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah also commemorated the Milad-ul-Nabi in the Sapidar Palace with other government officials.
The Independent Election Commission (IEC) has announced that the votes of 8,255 polling stations in 34 provinces will be re-counted.
According to the IEC officials, the delegations started their travel today to provinces to begin the recounting process.
A senior IEC official, Habib Rahman Nang told reporters that around 30 observers along with the national and international media outlets will be sent to the 34 provinces.
“The process of auditing and recounting votes is based on election law, procedures, and related decisions, with complete transparency,” he said.
He stressed that IEC is obliged to approve and announce the preliminary results of elections as soon as possible.
This comes as the Chief Executive electoral team has boycotted the recounting process of votes.
A mobilization ceremony was held at the US Illinois Military Academy on Camp Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois on Friday for six Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan as part of Bilateral Embedded Staff Team (BEST) A24.
This unit’s unique mission will allow them to deploy side-by-side with their Polish counterparts.
The Soldiers are from various towns in central Illinois. They were selected for the mission based on their training and skills.
As part of the deployment supporting Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the team will assist the Polish Military Contingent in Afghanistan. In partnership with allied and coalition forces, BEST A24 will train, advise and assist the institutions within the Afghan Ministry of Defense and Ministry of the Interior.
The “Stability and Convergence” electoral team led by the Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah has boycotted the votes recounting process which, according to the Independent Election Commission (IEC), is underway.
The team in a statement released on Saturday said that it is too early to begin the process without filtering fraudulent votes.
IEC has decided to begin recounting votes from 8,255 polling stations.
According to the statement, Abdullah’s team has called on its observers in provinces not to participate in the process.
“The duplicate votes and those cast outside voting time had not been removed in the filtering process,” the statement said.
IEC was originally scheduled to announce preliminary result from the election on October 19, but the commission postponed it to November 14.
At least four security forces were killed and wounded in a car bomb blast in Kandahar province, officials said.
Kandahar Police press office in a statement said that one policeman was killed and three others were wounded in the explosion.
According to the statement, the incident occurred in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar at around 6 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The statement added a Humvee loaded with explosives was used in the bombing.
No group claimed responsibility for the bombing so far.
Afghan security officials say a commander of the Taliban’s Red Unit has been arrested and several of the group’s hideouts also destroyed.
The Pamir 217 Corps in a statement said that a commander of Taliban’s Red Unit identified as Abdul Basit has been arrested in a joint operation by the commandos and NDS 09 unit from Chardara district of Kunduz province.
According to the statement, Afghan security forces have destroyed five hideouts, three weaponry caches, one prison and a training center of Taliban an seized 226 mines.
“The Qatel Aam, Esa Khel, Haji Rahman, Haji Rahmat and Takht Abad have been cleared of insurgents,” the statement said.
The Pamir Corps added that security forces also seized an AK, a ranger and three motorcycles.
The Afghan government has rejected the reports of the Tajik authorities saying the IS-K terrorists came from Afghanistan and attacked its borders.
The spokesman of the Ministry of Defense Rohullah Ahmad Zai said the clashes have been occurred inside Tajikistan between the attackers and Tajik forces.
Ahmadzai stated that the assailants, which are said to be IS-K, were residing inside Tajikistan’s soil and have no link with Afghanistan.
The National Security Committee of Tajikistan said earlier that the group of armed 20 militants wearing face masks attacked the Ishkobod border outpost on the Tajik-Uzbek border, 60 km to the south-west of Dushanbe on November 6.
According to official report, 15 terrorists were killed in the operation, the remaining 5 were arrested. One border guard and a police officer were killed in the shootout.
The Tajik Security Committee underscored the gunmen belonged to the IS-K and penetrated in Tajikistan from the territory of the neighboring Afghanistan.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) will meet in Brussels on 11 November and start with a discussion on current affairs which one of the main topics will be Afghanistan.
FAC in a press release said that the foreign ministers will discuss Afghanistan’s recent presidential election and developments in the Afghan peace process.
The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.
Finland holds currently the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Soldiers from U.S. Army Alaska on Thursday unveiled a memorial for two soldiers killed during a rotation to Afghanistan.
The memorial is dedicated to Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24, and Spc. Gabriel David Conde, 22. One died after injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover and one by small arms fire.
Both men were infantrymen killed during the most recent combat deployment for the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell said.
The brigade’s memorial was made of granite stone and bears the names of the two paratroopers. The unit is based out of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.
Brabander served as a squad leader in 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment. He deployed with the brigade to Afghanistan in September 2017.
Brabander died from injuries sustained in a vehicle rollover accident in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on Dec. 11, 2017. Two other U.S. service members were also injured in the incident.