Archive for October 2014
A month before U.S. Marines and British military forces began their current withdrawal from Afghanistan’s Helmand province, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan abruptly classified its assessment of the fighting abilities of the Afghan army and police forces, which the U.S. has spent an estimated $61.5 billion to build up.
Portions of these assessments have been released to the public the past nine years. But on Oct. 3, ISAF’s Joint Command told independent federal auditors of the reconstruction effort that the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction by email that the latest ratings now are classified in their entirety.
ISAF’s Joint Command decided that sections of the reports that discuss the capabilities of the Afghan army or police force should be classified at the “Restricted” level, while an overall tally of the number of units deemed capable of meeting leadership, combat, training, and other requirements was given the higher classification of “SECRET,” according to an email from the command, obtained by CPI.
A new report from an arms tracking group highlights how readily arms shipped to the Middle East are transferred from allied groups to hostile ones
An independent arms monitoring group has collected evidence that fighters in the Middle Eastern extremist group known as the Islamic State, labeled a “network of death” by President Obama, are using weapons and ammunition manufactured in at least 21 different countries, including China, Russia, and the United States.
The group’s report, released Oct. 6, indicates that the Islamic State’s relatively newly-formed force has had little difficulty tapping into the huge pool of armaments fueling the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, supplied not only by the world’s big powers but also by up-and-coming exporters such as Sudan.
Much of the Islamic State arms and ammunition were captured on the battlefield, but intelligence reports have suggested that the group’s income from oil sales and other sources is high enough to finance purchases of additional weapons directly from the companies and dealers that routinely profit from strife in the Middle East.