27 August 2021

Cyber Weapons – A Weapon of War?

Maj Gen PK Mallick, VSM (Retd)

The character of warfare has changed fundamentally over the last decade. In the past, it was essential for an adversary nation or insurgent to physically bring weapons to bear during combat. That requirement is no longer a necessity. In cyber operations, the only weapons that need to be used are bits and bytes. In this new era of warfare, logistics issues that often restrict and limit conventional warfare and weaponry are not impediments. This new weaponry moves at the speed of light, is available to every human on the planet and can be as surgical as a scalpel or as devastating as a nuclear bomb.

Cyber attacks in various forms have become a global problem. Cyber weapons are low-cost, low-risk, highly effective and easily deployable globally. This new class of weapons is within reach of many countries, extremist or terrorist groups, non-state actors, and even individuals. Cyber crime organisations are developing cyber weapons effectively. The use of offensive Cyber operations by nation-states directly against another or by co-opting cyber criminals has blurred the line between spies and non-state malicious hackers. New entrants, both nation-states and non-state actors have unmatched espionage and surveillance capabilities with significant capabilities. They are often the forerunners for criminal financial gain, destruction and disruption operations. Progressively, we see non-state actors including commercial entities, developing capabilities that were solely held by a handful of state actors.

The PLA’s Developing Cyber Warfare Capabilities and India's Options

  Maj Gen P K Mallick, VSM (Retd)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has made it clear that his objective for China is to emerge as a ‘cyber superpower’. China wants to be the world’s largest nation in cyberspace and also one of the most powerful. The information technology revolution has produced both momentous opportunities and likely vulnerabilities for china. China is home of largest number of ‘netizens’ in the world. It also hosts some of the world’s most vibrant and successful technology companies. It also remains a major victim of cyber crime. 

Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) believes that with the rise of the Information Age future wars will be contests in the ability to exploit information. Wars will be decided by the side who is more capable to generate, gather, transmit, analyse and exploit information.

A strategic assessment from India: Kabul’s chaos makes Pakistan look more dangerous

Vappala Balachandran

The hasty US troop withdrawal in Afghanistan is more than a quick win for the Taliban: It’s a serious loss of regional stability, kindling for terrorism, and fuel for Pakistani ambitions.

Concerns about Pakistan extend beyond rival India, which has historic and cultural ties to Afghanistan and invested heavily in infrastructure projects there. Bruce Riedel, who helped the Obama administration synthesize policy on Afghanistan in 2009, noted in April that US President Joe Biden had yet to engage with Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. Biden’s mistake, he said, comes after the US president inherited “a terrible deal from Trump’s feckless negotiators.”

The lapse, Riedel warned, would eventually make Pakistani generals “more hubristic and dangerous than ever.” Pakistan, he predicted, “is a winner again in Afghanistan.”

This week’s distressing visuals put a face on some who didn’t win. Images of Afghans desperately trying to board US military transport planes in Kabul were as poignant as those that chronicled the fall of Saigon in 1975. Female students worried about their schooling future. Afghan women feared “dark days,” France 24 reported.

The Taliban Want You to Keep Your Phone On

Richard Stengel

On Aug. 14, a day before armed fighters swarmed into Kabul, a Twitter account for one of the Taliban’s magazines posted a video of six nervous Afghan government soldiers sitting in a truck surrounded by Taliban warriors. The post included a snippet of text, in Pashto, one of the two main languages of Afghanistan: “While the mujahedeen behave generously to soldiers, the children of the village threw stones at them and called them dogs. That’s what happens in response to their atrocities.” The same day, a spokesman for the Taliban posted another Twitter message, this time in English, promising that the group would create “a secure environment” for all diplomats, embassies and nonprofits, both domestic and international. It ended with the Arabic benediction “Inshallah” (God willing).

For months, on social media, the Taliban have sought to project an image of strength and moderation, an aura of inevitability within Afghanistan and an air of legitimacy to the outside world. Through text messages and encrypted apps, they have targeted government soldiers directly, depicting them as mercenaries and urging them to surrender or face the brutal consequences.

The failure of intelligence in Afghanistan - opinion


As we have witnessed over the last 20 years, Afghanistan has proven to be a remarkable example of the failure of US intelligence.

The precedent for this had already been witnessed in Somalia due to the lack of suitable intelligence developed by the United States.

The need for adequate intelligence on the Taliban movement was a prerequisite for the success of US strategy. Superior technology did not have to lead to success in unconventional warfare. Indeed, the advantage of the Taliban was in its ability to disperse its force in a decentralized and mobile manner.

The origin of the failure of US intelligence can be traced to its culture. The US has oriented itself toward technology, which has weakened the real capacity for human intelligence. Decision-makers normally have a preference for intelligence from nonhuman sources. Reports based on political attitudes and intentions are not dominant.

REVEALED: How elite SAS troops launched dramatic operation to save 20 comrades trapped by advancing Taliban hordes as Kandahar fell - landing a Hercules plane on the desert floor in pitch darkness in 'textbook' raid


A team of Special Air Service soldiers who were surrounded by Taliban hordes in Kandahar have been rescued in a dramatic desert operation.

Around 20 elite SAS troops were left stranded in the province hundreds of miles from friendly forces when the militants took over.

As enemy fighters closed in they sent an SOS request to Special Forces bosses back in Britain calling for immediate extraction.

But they could not use Kandahar airfield – once home to 26,000 international troops at the height of the military campaign – because it had already been overrun by Taliban. So the SAS soldiers fought their way to a secret desert location where they went into hiding. The coordinates of the location were then relayed back to Special Forces headquarters in a series of coded messages.

It comes as Boris Johnson prepares to hold a meeting with the leaders of G7 countries to push Joe Biden to delay the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan to allow more time for people to be evacuated.

Afghanistan’s Precarious Networks: Will The Taliban, Once Again, Go Dark?


WASHINGTON: As the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in recent months, the militant group reportedly destroyed dozens of communications antennas, power pylons, and other infrastructure critical to supporting the country’s rudimentary communications networks, raising the specter of Afghanistan “going dark.”

Were the Taliban to destroy or shut down the country’s networks, it could seriously impede US efforts to conduct electronic surveillance and signals intelligence (SIGINT) to track the new government and many of the terrorist organizations it will likely harbor.

But whether the Taliban will, in fact, destroy or shut down the country’s domestic networks remains to be seen. The Taliban has, in recent weeks, taken a page out of other terrorist organizations’ playbooks and used the internet to great effect in spreading propaganda.

Will Afghanistan Become a Terrorist Safe Haven Again?

Daniel Byman

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power is a victory for al Qaeda. But just how much of a win is it? This question is at the heart of the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw from the country. Defending his choice despite the chaos and horror descending on Afghanistan as the government collapsed, President Joe Biden declared on Monday, “Our only vital national interest in Afghanistan remains today what it has always been: preventing a terrorist attack on [the] American homeland.”

Republicans are taking Biden to task on this very point. Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas and the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned, “We are going to go back to a pre-9/11 state—a breeding ground for terrorism.” General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cautioned that al Qaeda and the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) could quickly rebuild their networks in Afghanistan.

The risk of an al Qaeda comeback is real, but Afghanistan’s reversion to its pre-9/11 role as a safe haven for jihadi terrorism is unlikely. Although the Taliban’s victory will undoubtedly make Washington’s counterterrorism policy far harder

The Afghanistan withdrawal and Taliban takeover mean the terror threat is back

Bruce Hoffman

On the eve of the 2004 presidential election, Osama bin Laden issued a landmark videotaped statement. In it, bin Laden explained how he and his followers were engaged in a “war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.” He bragged that, just as Al Qaeda and the Taliban’s predecessors had “bled Russia for 10 years, until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat” from Afghanistan in 1989, the U.S. would suffer the same fate.

Al Qaeda’s core operation has acquired new credibility and energy. Crucially, it has also regained its close governing partner in a historically strategic land.

At the time, bin Laden’s threat was largely dismissed as braggadocio. But this past week’s tragic events in Afghanistan have proven him prophetic. Al Qaeda has played a critical supporting role in the defeat of two superpowers three decades apart. Worse still, much like what followed the Soviet Union’s far more orderly withdrawal, the Taliban’s lightning reconquest of Afghanistan recreates the same safe harbor Al Qaeda previously enjoyed. The likelihood that Al Qaeda will soon reconstitute its operating base in its former home and resume terror attacks on the West has again become a salient U.S. national security concern.

How the Taliban won: They leveraged Afghan history and culture

Ann Scott Tyson

For 50 days, Abdul Hanif and his small Afghan paramilitary force had been battling Taliban fighters putting a stranglehold on the city of Asadabad, the capital of Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province.

The Taliban were gaining ground, and Mr. Hanif, a tall, lanky provincial official and longtime Taliban nemesis, was rushing from one front to the other urging the Afghan National Army to fight.

“We are fighting on one side, and on the other side the ANA just lets the Taliban come through, and gives them their own weapons and ammo, and even their armored trucks,” he said in a phone interview, his words sometimes punctuated by gunfire.

“It’s been really tough to hold because we are trying to convince the ANA to fight,” he said, asking that his real name be withheld for his protection. Running low on ammunition and other supplies, he estimated they could fend off the enemy for three or four more days.

A Post-Afghanistan Chinese Push Could Impact Relationship With Israel


TEL AVIV: As China seeks to use the American withdrawal from Afghanistan to drive a wedge between America and its allies, leaders in Jerusalem are considering their future relationship with Beijing.

Defense officials here believe China will seek to fill the political, economic and, potentially, military vacuum left behind by the US not just in Afghanistan but in the region. But for Israel, which remains locked in with the US military, that could mean a boost to adversarial nations.

“The diminishing status of the US in the region, especially after what happened in Afghanistan, opens that door for China to become a major player in the Gulf and middle east” one Israeli defense source said.

Like many other countries, Israel has economic ties with Chinese firms. That issue was brought up explicitly by CIA director William Burns during a recent visit to Jerusalem; per Israeli outlet Walla News, Burns told Prime Minister Naftali Bennett that the US is very concerned about Chinese intrusion into the Israeli economy, especially in high-tech and large infrastructure projects.

China's amendment of the military service law highlights the role of non-commissioned officer, 'key to modernization': expert

Liu Xuanzun

A convoy of truck-mounted artillery attached to a regiment under the PLA Xinjiang Military Command maneuver in speed en route to an assembly area for a round-the-clock field live-ammunition firing training in mid August, 2021. Photo:China Military
China on Friday updated its military service law with changes on the welfare of military personnel and the system of registration for military service. The amended law is scheduled to be enforced starting October.

One of the highlights of the amendment is the establishment of the predominant role of volunteers, or non-commissioned officers, in the military service system as this change will keep and attract more talented and professional personnel in military units that operate high technology equipment. This will then contribute to the modernization of the Chinese military, experts said on Sunday.

Some Americans No Longer Believe in the Common Good

Silas House

As a child in eastern Kentucky, I often helped my grandmother work in her large garden, lush with tomatoes, beans, okra, potatoes, and peppers. Granny was born in 1909, 62 years before me. As we hoed the long rows, I loved to hear her stories of living through the Great Depression and World War II. During the hard times of the 1930s, she said, neighbors banded together to help one another, pooling money to assist a destitute family or leaving food on the doorstep of a widow raising several children. While many fought fascism overseas, she and others saved rubber and tinfoil for the war effort and scrimped on food because of rationing on sugar, butter, gasoline, coal, and oil. “Not everybody was selfless, but most of us tried our best,” she told me as the heat bugs screamed around us. “That’s what you should always do.”

My own parents put these words into action. They cut corners so that they could help less fortunate kids from my school, or our church. I was taught to sacrifice my own comfort for the good of others, whether it be by volunteering my seat to elders in a crowded waiting room, letting a pregnant woman go in front of me in the grocery line, or giving half of my sandwich to a hungry classmate. I may not have always lived up to these standards, but I was taught to try. I’m sure I’m not alone. Sacrificing for the common good was something most of us were taught when I was growing up. Just a few decades later, I’m seeing people in my hometown, and all over the country, thinking only of themselves. They’re not just unwilling to make sacrifices for others during a pandemic; they’re angry about being asked to.

Planes, guns, night-vision goggles: The Taliban's new U.S.-made war chest

Idrees Ali and Patricia Zengerle, Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) - About a month ago, Afghanistan's ministry of defense posted on social media photographs of seven brand new helicopters arriving in Kabul delivered by the United States.

"They'll continue to see a steady drumbeat of that kind of support, going forward," U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters a few days later at the Pentagon.

In a matter of weeks, however, the Taliban had seized most of the country, as well as any weapons and equipment left behind by fleeing Afghan forces.

Video showed the advancing insurgents inspecting long lines of vehicles and opening crates of new firearms, communications gear and even military drones.

"Everything that hasn't been destroyed is the Taliban's now," one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters.

Europe left exposed as Biden walks America away from the world stage

Luke McGee

London (CNN)When US President Joe Biden finally broke his silence on the chaos unfolding in Afghanistan, European allies who'd had high hopes for a reset in the transatlantic alliance were left dismayed.

Their disappointment was not at the contents of Biden's address, but the America First optics of the leader of the free world washing his hands of a global problem. The unilateral decision to withdraw seemed to somewhat contradict Biden's claim upon entering the White House that "America is back."

A crisis like the one unfolding in Afghanistan has, for some, hammered home the bleak reality that, without America, Europe's immediate ability to control its own destiny is limited.

From London to Paris, Brussels to Berlin, the sudden fall of Kabul shone a light on Europe's limited diplomatic heft, military capacity, and political stability.

Diplomats and officials all over the continent have privately expressed their sorrow that this is where we are: If the US says it's over, it's over.

Failure in Afghanistan Won’t Weaken America’s Alliances

Robin Niblett

When President Joe Biden’s administration decided in April to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, its pronouncement was met with displeasure bordering on fury from European officials, who felt they had not been adequately consulted. Yet occasional highhandedness toward European allies had been a feature of the last two Democratic U.S. administrations, not just recent Republican ones. And European policymakers could at least console themselves that there was now a highly professional cadre of senior officials in the White House, at the State Department, and at the Pentagon, most of whom they had come to know from previous government roles; these U.S. officials would ensure the Afghan intervention that the United States and its European allies had embarked on together two decades ago would be brought to an acceptable close.

Then came the Taliban’s lightning rout of the Afghan military, the collapse of the country’s government, and the scenes of chaos at the international airport in Kabul. These events not only revealed Washington’s profound misreading of the situation in Afghanistan but called into question European confidence in the Biden administration’s competence. Even more troubling,

Jeff Bezos' Next Big Mission - The End of Alzheimer's

The tech visionary who built a $1.6 trillion company from scratch has backed a tiny biotech with a new way to treat Alzheimer's.

The treatment is so promising, a Big Pharma giant recently bought an 11.2% stake in this small firm.Dear Reader,

In October 2013, a scientist wrote three words down on a piece of paper.

They were simple words. A five-year-old could say them.

But these words hold the key to a new breakthrough the Economist says would be

Liberal Democracy Is Worth a Fight

Anne Applebaum

Of all the empty, pointless statements that are periodically repeated by Western politicians, none is more empty and pointless than this one: “There can be no military solution to this conflict.” That was what Ban Ki-moon, then the UN secretary-general, said back in 2013: “There is no military solution to the conflict in Syria.” John Kerry, then secretary of state, echoed those same words—“No military solution to the conflict in Syria”—on many occasions, including in 2013 and again in 2015. Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, said this on August 3: “We believe there is no military solution” in Afghanistan. “Ultimately, for Afghanistan to have peace and stability there needs to be a negotiated political settlement.” Even British Prime Minister Boris Johnson repeated this, solemnly, in July: There is “no military path to victory for the Taliban.”

The phrase sounds nice, but it’s not true. In many conflicts, probably Syria and certainly Afghanistan, there is a military solution: The war ends because one side wins. One side has better weapons, better morale, more outside support. One side has better generals, better soldiers, more stamina. Or, sometimes, one side is more willing to use violence, cruelty, and terror, and is more prepared to die in order to inflict violence, cruelty, and terror on other people.

Which Companies Belong To The Elite Trillion-Dollar Club?

Just a handful of publicly-traded companies have managed to achieve $1 trillion or more in market capitalization - only six, to be precise.

Russia and America’s overlapping legacies in Afghanistan

Pavel K. Baev

Afghanistan was the place where al-Qaida terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, produced an instant and drastic impact, amplified by successful internationalization of the subsequent U.S. intervention. The country’s evolving drama of state-building and state breakdown, which has reached yet another culmination in the wake of U.S. military withdrawal, is highly complex. One element that can be usefully singled out is U.S.-Russia interactions over a land in which both have intervened. Moscow expected the Afghanistan dossier to be placed on the summit table at the meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin in June, but Biden cut the agenda short, so the issue was mentioned cursorily, if that. U.S. withdrawal and Taliban triumph generate an acute security challenge for Russia, and its edges are sharpened by the legacies of multiple misadventures.


The legacy of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan (1979-89) might appear to some to belong to the same distant past as the annexation of Samarkand and Merv to the Russian empire in the late 19th century, but Afghan society has never recovered from the desolation of that projection of Communist power. As Russian analysts point out, it is the children of mujahideen that stubbornly resisted the Soviet occupation who have captured Kandahar and Kabul. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev tried to argue with President Ronald Reagan that a compromise solution was the only way to check violent chaos, but there was no realistic alternative to full withdrawal of the Soviet “limited contingent” amounting to 100,000 troops, and chaos indeed ensued.

Amid Space Race, Cybersecurity And Resiliency Remain Concerns: Experts


WASHINGTON: A space race is afoot, and in this brave new interstellar world, experts say concerns remain about the cybersecurity and resiliency — or lack thereof — for constellations of space-based assets and the global networks they enable. And with global investment in space exploding, the issue is not going away anytime soon.

“I’ve seen change over the past four years like I haven’t seen over the past 36 years,” Kevin Bell, senior vice president of the Space Systems Group at The Aerospace Corporation and a former Air Force pilot, said last week at an event organized by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Space-based systems proliferation is being driven, as well as enabled, by new tech, ranging from ships and satellites to 5G. The US military will rely on space assets as nodes in global networks to enable its Joint Warfighting Concept and All Domain Operations. In addition to defense and intelligence applications, space increasingly factors into vast swaths of global economies — shaping sectors ranging from transportation to agriculture — in turn making space progressively more of an economic security issue.

PACAF's State of the Game

In this new era of strategic competition, State of the Game aims to increase PACAF’s collective understanding of the PRC and the Indo-Pacific region. The May issue delves into disinformation about COVID-19 and the May Fourth Movement and how it sets the stage for current CCP-led nationalism. Topics are relevant to all PACAF Airmen and range from regional cultural milestones to how different Air Forces train their personnel. Designed as a five-minute read, it provides the reader with accessible information on the key pressure points impacting our AOR. State of the Game adds context to the ongoing competition that PACAF is actively engaged in.

Assessing People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force Missile Brigade Commander Competition – Jianfeng 2021

Josh Baughman

At the end of March, dozens of People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force (PLARF) Missile Brigade Commandersi competed in a new six-day competition assessment called Jianfeng  2021 at the Rocket Force Command Collegeii in Wuhan. Although the Jianfeng 2021 (JF 2021) competition on the surface is nothing new due to constant training, competition, and testing in the PLA, both the coverage itself and the sheer volume of articles and videos posted about the event provide some key insights. This paper will provide a general overview of the competition, examine the competition in the broader context of PLA reform under Xi Jinping, assess the role of joint operations, and explore the possible narrative the PLA wanted to convey with coverage of the event.

An Army Can’t Defeat Guerilla Fighters

Michael Laitman
Source Link

The United States’ chaotic retreat from Afghanistan is not the first time that the Afghans have pushed an army of a superpower out of their country. The one before them was that of Russia. It is also not the first time that the US has been forced out of a country by a militia. Vietnam, Iraq, and Korea were also among America’s military botched attempts to instate a pro-American government.

Guerilla warfare is the hardest to win for an organized army. It roars in with tanks and fighter jets but it can’t do anything if no tanks or fighter jets meet it, but partisans, guerilla fighters, or simply, terrorists. The only way to defeat partisans is with other partisans.

This brings up the question of motivation. Militias consist of amateur fighters, adolescents, semi-trained individuals whose only advantage is their zeal to protect their country and their faith. They know they have to win since they are fighting for the only land they’ve got. The enemy’s soldiers, on the other hand, are fighting because they are paid to do so. They have superior weaponry, superior logistics, superior training, but no motivation to risk their lives. Fighting for the principle of freedom? No one really fights for it. No one even thinks about it!

A Vision for Better, Faster C2 Decision-Making Across All Domains


OPINION: At this point, it’s trite to say that the US spent the last 15 years focused on counterterrorism in the Middle East while China and Russia built up capabilities to counter the Pentagon — but being trite doesn’t mean it’s not true. As a result, we’ve become focused on exquisite platform and system-of-systems designs for individual domain supremacy, but not on improving our command and control (C2) capability.

If the US wants to keep ahead of Beijing and Moscow, we must eliminate the fixation on static plans, with their long decision timelines and approval processes and access to endless supplies. Dynamic operations must be the new normal, with the ability to operate when disrupted, distributed, and disaggregated when required.

To do this successfully, we must shift from domain-centric to mission-centric effects, planning and execution. And that has to start with rethinking our C2 from the ground up.

What Satellite Attack Weapon Might The US Reveal Soon?


WASHINGTON: With Defense Department leaders pushing to declassify and demonstrate an existing US anti-satellite weapon — news first reported by Breaking Defense — the question becomes what kind of system might be revealed.

Considering that whatever the system is, it has long been covered by the deepest, darkest cloak of secrecy — i.e. under a so-called Special Access Program, or SAP — it is impossible to say for sure. As the old saying attributed to the Tao Te Ching goes: “Those who know do not speak. Those who speak do not know.”

But there are enough hints shared by sources and details scattered through the history of counterspace capabilities to provide an idea of what might be on the table. To that point, let the educated guessing — or, to be less generous, the rampant speculation — begin.


Michael Ferguson

Paradoxically, a global retraction of U.S. forces in the interest of avoiding war would create a proportional reduction of sensors and human networks crafted with the very intention of mitigating in their infancy the conditions that precipitate armed conflict.

Breaking the Stigma

Former U.S. National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster cautions against the return of “Vietnam syndrome” in his new book Battlegrounds. The fear of sleepwalking into another Iraq or Afghanistan, he submits, could have adverse effects that shy the U.S. government away from integrating comprehensive peacetime security cooperation strategies. Far from a tertiary capability, short of the DoD simply being “ready” for competition to escalate into war, and thereby trusting that such readiness will serve as a sufficient deterrent to escalation itself, IW is the DoD’s tool of record for competing proactively against what David Maxwell describes as the dominant threat in GPC: Political warfare supported by hybrid military approaches. Political warfare is the naturally occurring competitive exchange between states in the absence of armed conflict, so defined in a 1948 memorandum drafted by diplomat George Kennan: “Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz’s doctrine in time of peace…[It is] the employment of all means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives.”

Army Special Forces want to integrate more with other military units on info warfare

Mark Pomerleau

AUGUSTA, Ga. — U.S. Army Special Forces have worked to develop top tier information warfare capabilities and want to mix their skills more often with conventional military units.

For example, a Special Operations Joint Task Force participated in July in the Army Defender Pacific exercise — a division-sized war game for joint multidomain operations in support of Indo-Pacific Command — to test its ability to win against a peer adversary, Col. Joshe Raetz, chief of staff 1st Special Forces Command, said in an Aug. 17 talk at TechNet Augusta.

“We integrated with I Corps as the joint force line component command and the Multidomain Task Force to converge capabilities to impose costs and introduce multiple dilemmas for our adversaries,” he said. “In this scenario, it was a war that we hope not to fight and through our approach to information warfare, we deterred our adversaries and not only survived, but thrived in competition short of armed conflict. Information warfare played a vital role in shaping the environment, deterring this adversary and preserving freedom of maneuver in both the operational and information environments. This vital contribution allowed the joint force and Army to seize the initiative and dominate the information environment.”

The Non-Pashtun Taleban of the North (1): A case study from Badakhshan

Obaid Ali 

In 2004, as the insurgency began to gather pace, setting up a shadow administration was one of the Taleban’s major political strategies for controlling both territory and population. Over the years, in the Tajik and Uzbek-dominated provinces in the north, the movement increasingly appointed local non-Pashtuns, from shadow governors – both at the provincial and district level – to judges and heads of provincial committees. In Badakhshan, a Tajik-dominated province, most Taleban posts are now occupied by Tajiks.

The shift in the movement’s recruitment strategy seems to have had a visible impact on its battlefield gains in Badakhshan. To put this into historical perspective, a comparison of the Taleban’s recruitment in Badakhshan during the current insurgency period and the movement’s years of rule, is useful.

Badakhshan’s contribution to the Taleban regime during the 1990s

What in the absolute hell does Palantir know that we don’t?

Palantir, the Bond villain big data surveillance company with a Bond villain name that routinely and openly aids in killing people like most Bond villains do, announced it will soon accept Bitcoin payments for its Bond villain services. Speaking with Bloomberg yesterday, Palantir’s COO, Shyam Sankar, also explained the company cryptocurrency strategy comes alongside buying up nearly $51 million in gold alongside other investments in preparation for “a future with more black swan events,” a term that can be translated into layman’s terms as “catastrophic geo-political shitshows.”
The information can be found buried within the company’s recent Q2 SEC filings, which confirms that just earlier this month, “the Company purchased $50.7 million in 100-ounce gold bars. Such purchase will initially be kept in a secure third-party facility located in the northeastern United States and the Company is able to take physical possession of the gold bars stored at the facility at any time with reasonable notice.”

This all begs the question: What the fuck does Palantir know that we do not?