Thursday

This site is going dormant

The four creators and authors of this site have decided that we will not be posting blog entries here anymore. We have all been out of country several years and our lessons learned are not current or relevant to what is happening on the battlefield today.

We all have our own blogs and will continue to blog there, but won't be posting here any more in the future.

We have decided to leave this site up and let is stay on the internet as long as Blogger will allow it to be in order to keep available some of the great information we have posted here.

Sorry for the change but I invite you to check out our other blogs and follow them at:
http://www.bouhammer.com/
http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/
http://afghanquest.com/

Wednesday

Insurgency Overview


Taliban Code of Conduct published by Taliban leadership, Mid July 2009(Mullah Omar‟s COIN guidance – a population-centric strategy)
“This is our mission: to keep people and their property safe. Do not let those people that love money take our local people’s property and cause them problems.” “Keep good relationships with your friends and the local people, and do not let the enemy divide / separate you.”
Intentions
• We don’t have to beat ISAF militarily, just outlast international will to remain in Afghanistan • Continue population outreach and protection programs
• Continue successful asymmetric operations
• Expand lethal IED and high-profile attacks to deny ISAF freedom of movement
• Emphasize increasing violence in RC North and RC West
• Demonstrate Taliban reach and perceived control of all Afghanistan
• Make the main enemy the United States


Directives
• Reiterated prohibitions on the following:
– Mistreatingpopulation
– Forcibly taking personal weapons
– Takingchildrentoconduct jihad
– Punishmentbymaiming
– Forcing people to pay donations
– Searchinghomes
– Kidnapping people for money


TALIBAN GOVERNANCE




  FATA – NWFP of Pakistan


  FATA: Taliban Safe Haven
• Made up of seven tribal agencies (Khyber, Kurram, Orazkai, Mohmand, Bajaur, North and South Waziristan)
• 3 million tribesmen of FATA are part of the 28 million Pashtuns in Pakistan (15 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan)
• Development, literacy, and health facilities are low
– Per capita income US $500
– Literacy rate: 17% (3% for females)
– Madaris (some built with Al Qaeda money) are a primary means of education and remain popular
• Tribes on both sides of border intermarry, trade, feud, celebrate with one another; adhere to Pashtunwali
• FATA tribes more rigid and conservative due to a uniquely oppressive administrative system
– Ruled directly by the Pakistani President whose agent is the Governor of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP)
– Governor appoints “political agents” to each agency
– Agents adhere to the “Frontier Crimes Regulation” (FCR), a legacy of British colonialism
– FCR gave no constitutional, civic, or political rights to FATA tribesmen
– FATA traditionally off limits to journalists, NGOs, human rights organizations and political parties
– Mullahs and de facto religious parties have filled the void
• Since the fall of the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan, the area has been destabilized as Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) used FATA as a safe haven for Taliban reconstitution and later as a staging area for TB recruitment, training and operations in Afghanistan 49

Thursday

Help ALL support Valour-IT

Today, Thursday, October 28th, we will begin the annual Soldiers' Angels Valour-IT competition. As you may or may not know, for the first time, A.L.L will be a proud member of Team Army for Valour-IT competition. So A.L.L. is stepping up to the challenge and hoping that you do too.

WHAT IS VALOUR-IT?

Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.

During his deployment he kept a blog (an online personal diary, opinion forum, or news analysis site-called a milblog or military weblog when written by a servicemember or about military subjects). Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.

As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss' fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.

"At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers' Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can't wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed." -Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq)

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss' father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries, amputations, eye or brain injuries, at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.

THE COMPETITION

In order to fund the thousands of laptops we have distributed and need to distribute, we have an annual competition.

Valour-IT's online fundraising competition begins today! Let's see who can raise the most money to help reconnect our wounded warriors with the world!

WHAT: Friendly fundraising competition for Valour-IT.
WHEN: October 28th through Veterans Day, November 11th .
WHERE: Based in the blogosphere, spreading everywhere else.
WHY: Because giving wounded warriors with hand and arm injuries access to a computer supports their healing and puts them back in touch with the world.
HOW: Blogger teams will be divided along military branches, with civilians "up for grabs."

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

I need you to simply blog and email regularly about Valour-IT and the competition with links to the

Team Army donation page

Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT. I'll be providing media, links, and talking points for your Tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts, etc.

The competition is military branch specific and you've been drafted to help TEAM ARMY. So click HERE and make your contribution today.

Another option is to purchase something from the Bouhammer Gear Store from October 28th until November 11th and I will donate 100% of the proceeds to Valour-IT. You will get a great looking decal, T-shirt, hat or polo style shirt and they will get some more money to help fund the Valour-IT initiative.

One last way to give and really get something cool is to keep an eye on the You Served Blog and Radio show ebay store starting the 28th of October until the 11th of November. Many in the milblogging community have been working tirelessly to get items donated that can sell there of which 100% of the proceeds will go towards Valour-IT. If the listing does not specify it is going to a specific team (Army, Air Force, Marines, or Navy) then the winner of the item must specify it after they win the auction. There will be new items going up all the time from Oct. 28th until Nov 4th. The items will each be listed for a maximum of seven days.

You can learn more about Project Valour-IT by visiting their main website athttp://soldiersangels.org/project-valour-it.html or check them out on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=370960114785


Saturday

A.L.L. Religion in Afghanistan






















ISLAM

• Abrahamic religion-shares roots with Judaism and Christianity
• Qur’an holy book – infallible authority
• Five Pillars: Testimony of faith (Shahada), Prayer (Salat), Charity (Zakat), Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj), Fasting during month of Ramadan (Sawm)
• Other Beliefs: Faith (Iman), Oneness of God (Tawhid), Prophets, Angels, Judgment Day, the Books (Qur’an, Bible, Torah), Fate and Predestination
• Division between Sunni and Shi’a not as important as ethnic/tribal differences
• Pervasive part of daily life – Prayer 5x/day, education, Friday mosque gatherings
• Religious figures (mullahs) respected and influential
-The Mullah is a religious leader or teacher
-Most are qualified by their ability to quote the Koran from memory
-Often times the Mullah retains the role of a leader who arbitrates local disputes based of Islamic principles, and teaches Islamic law and doctrine
• Literacy issues: misinterpretation; opportunity for perceived religious authorities to mislead those who cannot read

DISTRIBUTION OF SHI’A AND SUNNI


ETHNOLINGUISTIC GROUPS AND ISLAMIC SECTS




Tuesday

Afghansitan Holidays for 2010

• 26 Feb: Mawlid al-Nabi (Birth of the Prophet Muhammad)
• 21 Mar: Nowruz (Persian New Year)
• 28 Apr: Victory of the Muslim Nation (Withdrawal of Soviet Forces)
• 01 May: Labor Day
• 19 Aug: National Day (Independent Sovereignty from Britain)
• 09 Sep: Masood Day, commemorating the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Masood
• 10 Sep: Eid al-Fitr (After a month of fasting, Afghans visit and/or entertain their friends and give gifts)
• 15 Nov: Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice — commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s devotion to God)
• 16 Dec: Ashura (Shi’a day of mourning commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Husayn at the Battle of Karbala in 680 C.E.)

Note: The week prior to Eid al-Fitr is an appropriate time to provide performance or other types of bonuses to Afghan national employees such as interpreters/translators; dates for religious holidays are approximated; each year the holidays are adjusted to the lunar calendar


Friday

Afghanistan Education

In 1969 Afghanistan tried its hand at compulsory public education for children between the ages of 7 and 15, but the initiative never had a chance to grow roots. When the Soviets invaded 10 years later, many programs, including compulsory public education, were terminated. Prior to 1969, education was purely at the discretion of the family. Even then, much of the education offered concentrated on rote memory of the Quran, and was reserved for males only.

Families that elected not to send their children to school often did so out of a need for extra hands to maintain the household and field duties. Dari is the language of the educated in Afghanistan.
Regardless of their ethnicity, if a family could pool the resources to send their children through an extensive education, they would become fluent in the Dari language. But after the Soviet withdrawal, any semblance of public education disappeared. Even Kabul University closed its doors.
The Taliban had a very different approach to education. Outside of religious education for boys only, public education was forbidden, especially for girls. The result of the last three decades is a literacy rate less than 40%. Most of the literate were concentrated in urban areas, while rural locations accounted for less than 10% of the literate.



Saturday

Afghanistan Geography, Social Stats and Economy Stats


Social StatisticsPopulation:
28.396 Million (2009 est.)

0-14 years: 44.5%
(male 7,664,670/female 7,300,446)

15-64 years: 53%
(male 9,147,846/female 8,679,800)

65 years and over: 2.4%
(male 394,572/female 422,603) (2009 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:
6.53 children born/woman

Under-5 Mortality:
(m/f) 232/237 per 1000

Life Expectancy at Birth:
Total population: 44.64 yrs
Male: 44.47 yrs
Female: 44.81 yrs (2009 est.)

Literacy:
Age 15 and over can read and write
total pop.: 28.1%
male: 43.1%
female: 12.6% (2000 est.)

School life expectancy:
total: 8 years male
11 years female
4 years (2004)

Percentage of population using improved drinking-water sources, 2006, total: 20%

GDP per capita: $700 (2008 est.)

Labor force: 15 million (2004 est.)

Unemployment Rate: 40%

Urban Population: 24% of total population

Economy Overview

• Wheat and cereal production along with fruit and nuts have long been Afghanistan's traditional agricultural mainstays
• Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and very dependent on foreign aid • There is a shortage of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs • Other challenges include corruption and a huge illicit opium trade • Agriculture: 80%, Industry: 10%, Services: 10% (2004 est.)
• Afghanistan has a wealth of natural resources to include: natural gas, petroleum, oil, marble, gold, copper, chromate, talc, barites, sulfur, lead, zinc, iron ore, and salt
• Exploration indicates abundant deposits of precious and semi precious gemstones, including emerald, ruby, sapphire, garnet, lapis, kunzite, spinel, tourmaline, and peridot; most mining and exportation of these precious and semi precious gems is illegal
• Illegal and unregulated deforestation has depleted much of the country’s timber industry and has left much of the once forested areas barren
• Afghan hand woven rugs are one of the more popular exports along with leather, furs, and hand crafted replica antiques
• Overall the economy of Afghanistan has improved significantly since 2002 due to the infusion of billions of US dollars and international aid
• Exchange rate: 1 $US = 50 Afghanis (AFs)
• Afghanistan’s economy remains weak as economic production is insufficient to generate sufficient personal incomes, to sustain an effective public sector or to finance its wide-ranging imports of finished goods and services.
• In addition to the continuing problems of security, low employment, poor labor productivity, a lack of capital and poor capital productivity, a lack of a comprehensive set of policies to encourage entrepreneurship make the situation very discouraging.
• The Afghan economy has historically remained mostly agricultural in spite of the fact the country is only 12% arable and less than 6% is cultivated; there is almost no use of modern farming techniques to include: the use of farm equipment, chemical fertilizer, or pesticides; irrigation is primitive and totally dependent on the winter snows and seasonal rainfall; fruit and nuts exports average around $115 million a year but could easily be ten times that amount with a little investment.
• Although security has been a major hindrance to Afghanistan’s economic progress, the ability of the Afghan government to extend its reach throughout the country poses the biggest threat to future economic growth; illicit opium production and trade generates roughly 3 billion dollars a year and remains one of Kabul’s largest policy concerns.