Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Year Already?

Where did this year go? It doesn't seem all that long ago that I was arriving at Bagram to spend my time at the Detention Facility In Parwan (DFIP) and then after only a short time moved to ISAF Joint Command in Kabul. Days spent looking over target packets, gathering information on insider attackers, and arguing with lawyers have certainly made the time fly.

My replacement arrived a few days ago and I only have about a week left in Afghanistan. I've enjoyed my time here much more than I thought I would, most likely because my luck in getting assigned to a NATO base/Corps headquarters. So much less stressful than any of my previous deployments. The military personnel and civilians from multiple countries I worked with also made this deployment go easier and occasionally fun. I'm going to miss a lot of these folks.

Blog posts will be extremely light in the coming weeks as I redeploy to the States. Between sitting in Kuwait, dealing with equipment turn-in at Camp Atterbury, IN, and inproccessing NGIC/finding a place to live in Virginia along with moving my stuff from Tacoma I don't think I'll have the internet/time to update much. Once I'm settled I'll come back to my usual blogging.

Afghanistan...I won't say "goodbye." I'll say "until we meet again."

Thursday, October 17, 2013

What Is the Security Situation In Afghanistan? Here's Why I Wouldn't Know...

With only a couple of weeks left here in Afghanistan I looked back at my blog posts and realized that I haven't really discussed what is going on here in this wonderful corner of the world. I've posted a bit about some minor happenings around the base (indirect fire, random attacks, etc) but have avoided discussing what is going on overall in Afghanistan.

I have multiple reasons/excuses for this. The first is that despite being at IJC/Corps headquarters, I really don't know what is going on most of the time. I am aware of major events but I have avoided trying to have knowledge of the day to day occurences in the province or even district level. Why? Well, primarily it's not my job to know. The beauty of being a contractor is that I get to stay in my lane; gone are the days where I was expected to not only have complete understanding of my battalion's area of operations, but also have an understanding of the entirety of the brigade battlespace as well as know what was going on two or three provinces over.

Staying in my lane is essentially the second reason. It's not my lane to be a subject matter expert on all of Afghanistan. It's my job to be an intelligence subject matter expert and review target packets, not terribly exciting to blog or read about so I don't really discuss it.

Thirdly, as I mentioned prior to coming out here, if I cross a line and inadvertantly discuss something that someone feels is classified or violates operational security I could be fired and have my clearance revoked. As long time readers will be aware, during my previous deployment somebody up at brigade stumbled upon this absurd little blog and gave me a warning about releasing too much information. I would probably get no such courtesy as a contractor.

I'm not conceited enough to think that my blog is all that important in the scheme of things or that all that many people read it. As far as I'm aware my readers primarily consist of some friends and family sprinkled with a handful of folks who somehow found this mess of thoughts and decided to keep reading. But I also didn't think Brigade (Hi Brigade!) would ever find this either so it would not shock me to learn that someone at my company or even here at IJC is keeping an eye on Warhorse Intel just to make sure I don't slip up.

Upon my return I will likely write a couple of posts about the daily happenings at IJC as well as my thoughts on how we operate here in Afghanistan, what I think the future holds for this country, and the future of counterinsurgency...so please bookmark and keep reading. I'll do my best to keep you entertained.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Libya Is Lacking Something. Rhymes With...Security.

Is Libya slowly slipping back into chaos and civil war? I ask this question because today the Libyan Prime Minister was briefly kidnapped by gunmen and then later let go. What this a case of political intimidation or an indication of collapsing rule of law in the country? Did rule of law ever return to Libya after the civil war/removal of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011? Militias have complete freedom of movement in the country despite some efforts to rein them in. Oil exports have been disrupted and ministries surrounded by vehicles filled with armed men.

The Russian embassy was attacked earlier this month. The Egyptian consulate in Benghazi had an IED go off in front of it in August.

A Sufi cleric was shot and killed in September. That same month a car bomb detonated in Benghazi. Hell, the security situation is so bad US special forces were able to waltz into Tripoli and capture an Al Qaida leader who was involved with the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania back in '98.

Get your shit together Libya or before you know it the Italians will invite themselves back in. Nobody wants that.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another Aussie Gift

Way back in February, one of my Insider Attack targets was detained in Pakistan. The individual had killed 3 Australian soldiers and wounded 2 more. Australia worked for months to have this individual transferred from the Pakistani authorities over to Afghan control. The knowledge that this guy was detained was kept on the down low since Australia has a better relationship with Pakistan than the US does and Australia didn't want to jeopardize anything. Every once in awhile somebody not in the loop would ask about this guy and all I could say was, "he's detained, but I can't talk about it."

It was a tad frustrating. But that's part of working at a joint/coalition command.

Today, however, I came into work and discovered the glorious news that Australia had announced Hekmatullah's capture and transfer to Afghanistan. Happy happy joy joy. Two months and 2 targets officially off my list, both involving the Australians.

I'm crossing my fingers that one or two more of these guys get actioned by the time I go home.