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End of Islamic State's 'caliphate' approaches

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
Key Points The Islamic State holds less than 2 sq km of Mosul, Iraq, with the coalition expecting to reclaim the city within days Islamic State leadership has fled Raqqa, Syria, and the group no longer has a central city for running its organisation Three years after the Islamic State declared
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Finland to join NATO's ammunition-procurement working group

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
Finnish defence minister Jussi Niinistö agreed a Statement of Intent with his NATO counterparts on 29 June, facilitating Finland's membership of a working group on co-operation on ammunition procurement. Invited to participate alongside fellow non-NATO member Sweden, Finland hopes to take
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IMDS 2017: Rostec unveils Pantsir-ME naval weapon, adds details on the system

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
Rostec unveiled an export version of the Russian Instrument Design Bureau (KBP)-designed integrated gun and surface-to-air missile (SAM) naval weapon system Pantsir-M, designated Pantsir-ME, at the International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS) in St Petersburg. Pantsir-ME is a fully automated
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Israel integrating military data centres

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on 26 June that they had awarded a contract for the largest and most complex technological project in Israeli military history. The contract worth "hundreds of millions of shekels" was awarded to a
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Kenya takes delivery of AH-1 Cobras

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
The Kenya Air Force (KAF) has received Bell AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters that were donated by Jordan, a source close to the KAF has told Jane's . The source declined to state how many aircraft are being transferred to Kenya. Kenya's acquisition of at least one Cobra was revealed in May, when
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Mass protests during Hamburg G20 summit likely to include violence; terrorism risk heightened, especially outside security zone

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
Key Points The northern German city of Hamburg will host the G20 summit on 7 and 8 July and local authorities expect at least 100,000 protestors to stage rallies promoting anti-capitalist, anti-globalisation, pro-Kurdish, and other causes. Violence is likely to break out during some of the
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MBDA unveils future 'family' of glide munitions

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
MBDA is to introduce a new unpowered, stand-off air-launched munition capability to its air-to-surface guided weapons portfolio, through the development of what the company describes as a "family of all-up-round glide weapons" with the designation 'SmartGlider'. Optimised as a
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Mexican Navy launches new coastal patrol vessel

Jane's Defense News - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 02:00
The Mexican Secretariat of the Navy (SEMAR) launched a new Tenochtitlan-class coastal patrol vessel (CPV) at Naval Shipyard 1 on 27 June, SEMAR said in a statement. ARM Chichén-Itzá (PC 340) is the tenth ship in the Tenochtitlan class, a Mexican-produced variant of the Dutch-designed
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Steyr SSG 69 - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 01:55

Austrian Steyr SSG 69 Sniper Rifle
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British Royal Navy receives full-size replicas of F-35 training jets

Naval Technology - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 01:00
British Royal Navy sailors have received four new full-size replicas of the F-35 Lightning II jets to enable them to train for operations on the nation's future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier.
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Deals this week: DRS Laurel Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Huntington Ingalls Industries

Naval Technology - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 01:00
The US Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has awarded a contract worth approximately $492.4m to DRS Laurel Technologies and three other contractors for the provision of automated digital network systems (ADNS).
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HII to build first Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer for US Navy

Naval Technology - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 01:00
Huntington Ingalls Industries' (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has secured a contract modification to integrate Flight III upgrades on to the Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer for the US Navy.
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BAE Systems and Leonardo to partner for new Vulcano precision-guided munitions

Naval Technology - Fri, 30/06/2017 - 01:00
BAE Systems is set to collaborate with Leonardo for the delivery of new precision-guided munitions for all air, land and sea threats.
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European Union Training Mission in Somalia tenders medical support services

EDA News - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 16:41

The European Defence Agency (EDA) recently published a contract notice on its Contractor Support to Operations (CSO) platform for Role 2 Medical Support Services to European Union Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM-S).

Procuring specific services such as Role 2 Medical Support or customised assets can be challenging especially on short notice. EDA assists EU military operations in fulfilling their needs for complex goods or services (e.g. armoured vehicles, air to ground surveillance, medical services ) through the CSO platform. A powerful tool for interaction, the CSO platform helps to connect economic operators and procurement authorities. Economic operators are invited to subscribe to the platform database to receive regular updates on business opportunities from EU-led operations or other governmental and institutional authorities.

EUTM-S is currently seeking for Role 2 medical care services to cover the region of Mogadishu. Medical care support is categorised into four roles that identify the functions and the capabilities of a medical unit or element. Most of the care capabilities of each role are subordinates to the next higher role. In general a Role 2  as medical care support is characterised by its ability to perform surgical interventions, including damage control  surgery and  surgical  procedures  for  emergency  surgical  cases,  to  deliver  life,  limb  and  function  saving  medical  treatment and to perform reception / triage of casualties.

The full contract notice, as well as another contract notice from EUFOR Althea HQ in Bosnia and Herzegovina for food, water and catering supply, can be found on the CSO Platform which constitutes the one-stop-shop for EDA contractor support to operations:


Support to operations

Since the creation of the European Defence Agency in 2004, support to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and to EU operations has been part of EDA's core mission. Procurement of contracted solutions has become increasingly relevant for EU military operations not only to fill capability gaps in the force generation process, but also as a general planned support for ongoing operations.

Several activities are ongoing in support of CSDP military and civilian operations or missions as well as EU Battlegroups at the request of Member States, such as  the provision of satellite communication, the use of EDA-developed projects, and the testing of EDA-funded demonstrators, and soon in-theatre aeromedical evacuation services.

Copyright picture: Bundeswehr/Jane Schmidt

More information:
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Germany and Norway formally join Netherlands and Luxembourg to operate pooled fleet of NATO-owned Airbus A330 MRTT tankers

EDA News - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 15:32

Order to be placed by NSPA through OCCAR under EDA initiative

Germany and Norway officially joined the European/NATO program to acquire Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft along with Netherlands and Luxembourg.

The two nations committed to participating in the project through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding at NATO HQ in Brussels today.

Known as the Multinational Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF) the programme was initiated by the European Defence Agency (EDA) in 2012. Europe’s organization for the management of cooperative armament programmes - OCCAR - manages the MMF acquisition phase as Contract Executing Agent on behalf of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA). Following the acquisition phase, NSPA will be responsible for the complete life-cycle management of the fleet.

The Programme is funded by the four nations who will have the exclusive right to use these NATO–owned aircraft which will operate in a pooling arrangement. The aircraft will be configured for inflight refuelling, the transport of passengers and cargo, and medical evacuation flights. The first two aircraft have already been ordered to be delivered from Airbus Defence and Space’s tanker conversion line at Getafe near Madrid in 2020. Five additional aircraft will now be ordered, and that order will include options for up to four further aircraft.

NSPA GM, Peter Dohmen said “As NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency, we are proud to be a key enabler of this critical project to help European nations meet their air transport and refuelling requirements. The successful cooperation in this project - bringing together all our capabilities - bodes extremely well for further future NATO / EU collaboration.”

OCCAR Director, Arturo Alfonso-Meiriño said: “The MMF programme has broken new ground in bringing together the combined capabilities of the EDA, NSPA and OCCAR as one team, with each organisation working within its particular sphere of expertise. I very much welcome that this important initiative has now attracted additional partners to join, and it still includes options for the participation of even more countries.”

EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq said: “The MMF is a prime example of European defence cooperation which shows that once a capability shortfall has been jointly identified, European nations can pull together, work on a common project aimed at filling the gap, and eventually deliver. It’s Pooling & Sharing at its best”.

Airbus Defence and Space Head of Military Aircraft Fernando Alonso said: “The A330 MRTT has established itself firmly as the world’s premier tanker/transport aircraft. It is extremely satisfying to now see it adopted as the core asset of one of Europe’s most important cooperative defence programmes. We hope that this collaborative approach will serve as a model for future joint procurements.”

Contacts for the media:


  • Airbus Defence and Space:
    Kieran Daly +34 689 669 661
  • European Defence Agency:
    Helmut Brüls +32 47 35 63 964
  • OCCAR:
    Falko Fanslau +49 22 85 50 21 16
  • NATO Support and Procurement Agency:
    Karen Tissot Van Patot +352 30 63 65 57
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Highlights - Report on SEDE workshop on the implementation of the EU arms export control system - Subcommittee on Security and Defence

On 12 April, the SEDE committee organised a workshop on the implementation of the EU's arms export control system, in the context of its work on the annual report on arms exports. The workshop focused on the issues of strengthening compliance with the Council common position governing control of exports of military technology and equipment, compliance with reporting obligations, increasing transparency and public scrutiny, and the development of the EU's institutional framework.
Further information
Workshop report
Source : © European Union, 2017 - EP

EATT17 closes with advanced tactical airlift operations

EDA News - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 11:01

For the last two weeks, Beja Airbase in Portugal has hosted the European Air Transport Training 2017 (EATT17), the annual tactical airlift training event, which has become an important feature of the Portuguese and several other European air force’s annual airlift training programmes. Some 600 military personnel from seven Member States (Portugal, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, the United Kingdom), the European Air Transport Command (EATC) as well as observers from Brazil and Hungary participated in this sixth edition of EATT.

The tragic loss of life in northern Portugal as a result of wildfires was a sombre backdrop to this year’s training. Understandably, a large element of the exercise’s firefighting and heavy lift equipment was redeployed to the rescue effort at very short notice. Nevertheless, the training continued with eight aircraft (see below) and ten aircrews from seven nations and over 600 supporting personnel in the form of ground engineers, paratroopers, logistic teams and normal operational support personnel drawn from the air force, army and navies of the contribution nations, underlining the inherently joint nature of contemporary operations and training.

As in previous years, the focus of the second week has been on advanced tactical operations with the crews dropping tactical loads and paratroopers within an increasingly complex intelligence driven scenario.  The main effort is to operate the aircraft in packages of up to six  to form the mainstream of a Composite Air Operation (COMAO) mission with integrated fighter aircraft as protection.  The training has offered a very sharp reality check through the addition of surface-to-air threat emulators that illuminate the aircraft, testing their tactical ability and drawing lessons on the challenges of operating  in contested air environments.  The German A400M was a welcome new addition to this year’s event and was put through its paces by the exercise staff who are drawn from the EATC, the newly formed European Tactical Airlift Centre (ETAC), EDA and the multi-national Core Planning team from the contributing Member States.  The training also enjoyed a visit from observers from the Brazilian Air Force and a multi-disciplinary team from Hungary who is planning to run a future EATT from Papa airbase.  Despite the restrictions on airspace and equipment resulting from the operations to the north to counter the wildfires, the participating crews are unanimous in the need to run more multi-national events to improve interoperability and to share best practice in this critical operational domain.

EATT17 (as of 2018 to be renamed European Tactical Airlift Project Training, ETAP-T) is also an important milestone for EDA in that it marks the first practical handover of a training activity from the Agency to the ETAC following the formal transfer of responsibility that occurred on 8th June 2017 in Zaragoza.  HRVP Mogherini and the Spanish Defence Minister Mme de Cospedal opened the ETAC in a joint ceremony, which also included the symbolic handover of the ETAC banner from EDA’s Chief Executive Jorge Domecq to the newly appointed ETAC commander. EDA will continue to support the 20-nation European Air Transport Fleet (EATF) Programme in other areas of airlift such as harmonisation of diplomatic clearances and the development of user groups for specific aircraft operators. 


Assets: Germany (C-160 Transall and A400M Atlas), France (C-130H Hercules), the Netherlands (C-130H Hercules), Poland (C295), Portugal (C-130H Hercules), Romania (C-27J), and United Kingdom (C-130J Hercules). 


More information:
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US Navy to provide plan for reserve Super Hornet replacement | Croatia to request info on fighters in July | China unveils new destroyer

Defense Industry Daily - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 06:00

  • Lockheed Martin has received a $39.2 million contract modification in support of several allied countries Patriot Advanced Capability-3 anti-ballistic missile systems. Germany, Netherlands, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Japan and United Arab Emirates are all covered under the deal, which includes work on the enhanced launcher system, field missile activities and unscheduled maintenance as ordered. Contract completion is scheduled for June 25, 2018.

  • The US Navy has been asked by Congress to provide a plan for the replacement of reserve F/A-18 aircraft incapable of being integrated back into their fleet. As many as 33 Super Hornets were found to lag behind front-line aircraft in terms of technology and will be unable to participate in combat activity during a time of crisis. The aircraft are predominantly used by the service to act as opposition forces for training aviators and are painted to look like Russian MiG fighters. Congress expects the plan to be delivered no later than December 1.


  • Next month will see the Croatian government send letters of interest to four governments for fighter aircraft. Both the US and Israel are being looked at to provide second-hand F-16s, while Sweden and South Korea are having their respective Gripen and FA-50 fighters considered as well. Responses are expected for the second week of September. Saab, which has targeted Croatia as a potential customer for the Gripen for the last ten years, remains the front runner at present, however, Israel have approximately 40 upgraded F-16C/D variants ready to roll at a much cheaper price.

  • General Dynamics European Land Systems has been contracted by the Danish government to deliver Mowag EAGLE light armored 4X4 vehicles. The initial contract calls for 36 vehicles, with deliveries starting in 2018, to supplement their existing EAGLE fleet, and contains options to expand the program to include electronic-warfare, support, and reconnaissance variants of the vehicle. The value of the deal remains unknown. Used by a number of NATO members, including Denmark and Germany, the vehicle features a modular armor package that can be adjusted depending on mission needs, including improved improvised explosive device and rocket-propelled grenade protection.

  • Germany has received its 15th and final H145M multi-role helicopter from manufacturer Airbus. The 2013 contract was awarded to provide the German military with light utility and light attack rotorcraft capability, and includes a fast-roping system for troops, a camera system for reconnaissance and equipment for fire support during deployment. With Germany acting as the launch customer for the platform, other countries who have subsequently ordered the H145M include Serbia with nine units and Thailand with five.

Asia Pacific

  • AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) have been deployed to South Korea by the US military. As many as ten of the long-range, precision-guided missiles are now on the peninsula, and will be deployed on F-16 fighters located at Kunsan Air Base. While the type of JASSM variant deployed remains unknown at this time, the base model boasts a range of 300 kilometers and is equipped with a penetrating blast-fragmentation warhead. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin stated in March that it had performed several flight tests with an updated version of the JASSM. Its JASSM-Extended Range (ER) is also in production.

  • Japan is considering a procurement of Kongsberg’s Joint Strike Missile (JSM) for its fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in what is being considered by analysts as “a big step forward in stand-off capability”. At present, Tokyo’s fighters are only equipped with anti-ship missiles, so an added air-to-surface missile strike capability would be welcomed as tensions in the region rise amid North Korean ballistic weapons testing and the controversial deployment of the THAAD missile defense system by the US in South Korea. However, Japan had previously resisted the purchase of air-to-ground munitions, in part not to offend sensibilities in Beijing and Pyongyang, and may now face further accusations of looking to pursue renewed imperial ambitions.

  • A new domestically-built destroyer has been unveiled by China. Dubbed the Type 055 destroyer, the vessel is considered to be a successor class to the smaller Type 052D guided missile destroyers and is part of a drive by Beijing to modernize and increase its naval presence within its armed forces. Local media described the vessel as “equipped with new air defense, anti-missile, anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons,” and will undergo testing before being commissioned into use. China’s naval effort comes alongside its increasingly assertive stance over disputed territory in the South China, where it lays claim to territory believed to hold oil and gas reserves and through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

Today’s Video

  • Live-firing of Igla missiles in Russia’s Southern District:

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From ‘Traditionalist’ Islam to ‘Modern’ Islamist Nationalism: A new AAN report about ideology in the Afghan Taleban

The Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 04:02

The Taleban’s ideology has transformed over the past two decades. While the movement once typified a ‘traditionalistIslam – that is, it sought to articulate and defend a particular concept of Islam found in southern Pashtun villages – it is now, in its insurgency phase, closer to forms of political Islam espoused in the Arab world. This does not mean that the Taleban are less conservative or authoritarian, rather that the objects of their repression and the way they frame their mission have shifted in important ways. In a major new report, AAN guest authors Anand Gopal and Alex Strick van Linschoten examine the changes as well as the continuity in the Taleban’s ideology from the 1980s to the present day. The report is the product of years of interviews, fieldwork in Afghanistan, as well as their time working with the Taliban Sources Project archive, a significant collection of documents relating to the Taleban movement.

Outsiders have been trying to understand the Afghan Taleban for over two decades. Most of the members of the movement’s leadership have avoided interviews and public appearances, and the ongoing conflict has made tracking them down for a wider ethnographic study extremely dangerous. Until recently, this left researchers with few options. Over the past seven years, however, an archival project took shape, culminating in the Taliban Sources Project. It has been tremendously challenging to collect, digitise and translate the Taleban’s written output over the years. The authors’ initial motivation was that it would stimulate new research into the movement’s history. As the authors collected more, they thought it was worth trying to examine the ways in which the Taleban’s ideology had changed over time.

The documents and interviews challenge three conventional notions of Taleban ideology:

  1. That the Taleban’s ideology is a mechanical, literalist interpretation of Islam that has not changed in over thirty years.
  2. That the Taleban’s ideology was born in Pakistani refugee camps, and represents a phenomenon alien to Afghan society.
  3. That the Taleban’s ideology represents a form of Deobandism (or, in some variants, Wahhabism) that stands in opposition to Sufism and other religious tendencies prevalent in Afghan society.

The main conclusions drawn in the paper are that the Afghan Taleban’s ideology is a) the result of a sophisticated internal logic that has changed in subtle but important ways over the years, b) the origins of the Taleban’s ideology lie in the southern Pashtun village, not the Pakistani refugee camp, and 3) their thinking is heavily infused with Sufism.

In this seventeenth year of the US-led international military intervention in Afghanistan, a re-thinking of outsiders’ understanding of the Taleban’s beliefs is sorely needed. That the Taleban’s ideology has evolved does not mean that the group is any less oppressive or brutal, but it does mean the nature of their oppression has changed, which may one day provide an opening for engagement. This evolution is partly the result of the exigencies of insurgent warfare, which have exerted different constraints and pressures on the movement than the ones faced when in power, and partly the result of demographics: a new generation has risen within the middle ranks of the movement, some of whom have brought new ideas with them. To grasp what the old generation stands for and how the ground is shifting beneath these core principles, therefore, is to better understand the structures of the movement in general.

In this survey of the Taleban’s written documents and based on years interviewing actors in Afghanistan, the authors found that the movement’s ideology is historically rooted in the world of the pre-1979 (pre-Soviet invasion) Pashtun villages in southern Afghanistan. The village contains various and competing ethical traditions, one of which laid the basis for the future Taleban movement. Key features of Taleban repression, such as restrictions on women or banning music, had their antecedents in the southern Pashtun countryside.

More than half of the Taleban senior leadership – including nearly all the key ideological influencers – were born before 1965, which means that they received their primary education and formative childhood experiences prior to the 1979 upheaval.

The classic theory of the Taleban states that the movement is the product of Pakistani madrassas, but data presented in this report suggests that at least 60 per cent of the 1990s leadership (defined as those who served in ministerial and deputy-ministerial ranks, were front line commanders, or held informal positions among Mullah Omar’s retinue) received a significant portion of their education inside Afghanistan. Moreover, the senior leadership’s core education took place in hujras, informal guestrooms in village mosques, and featured a curriculum that was far more eclectic and irregular than the Deobandi curriculum found in major Afghan and Pakistani madrassas.

Through links to Deobandism and indigenous religious practice, the Taleban leadership, particularly supreme leader Mullah Muhammad Omar, was deeply influenced by Sufism. This has been explored in previous AAN dispatches by Bette Dam and Fabrizio Foschini.

The Taleban’s ideology is based on a particular epistemology, a theory of knowledge, in their case, religious knowledge. In the past, this epistemology was intimately linked to certain rural Pashtun traditions of virtue. A study of the foundations of this epistemology suggest that the group’s beliefs and practices were never simply a mechanical imitation of a literalist reading of texts or a blind attempt to recreate the early days of the Prophet Muhammad, but rather were the result of a sophisticated internal logic deeply tied to notions of honour, virtue and repressive power among Pashtun villagers. (For background, see this 2011 AAN paper about Pashtunwali).

Recently, however, we have seen a shift towards a more ‘modern’ type of Islamist reasoning found in groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to al-Qaeda. Today’s fighters look very different to their predecessors. Gone are the days of enforced asceticism and ritual purity on the frontline—today’s involvement with criminal networks, the opium trade, extortion and kidnapping that mark the current insurgency would have been unthinkable among the self-disciplined taleban fronts of the 1980s (on these taleban fronts in the 1980s’ mujahedin tanzim, before the formation of the Taleban movement, see this 2010 AAN paper) This shift is largely a reflection of the pragmatic concerns of statecraft and, in particular, of running an insurgency.

The key transformation in Taleban ideology has been a shift from an emphasis on outward conduct – the knowledge of rites, bodily comportment, a Prophetic lifestyle, prayer techniques and schedules and other aspects of everyday rituals – to behaviour that today focuses more on internal beliefs and loyalty. The distinction is between act and intent as the objects of Taleban repression. This shift, which is strongest in sections of the leadership, helps explain the movement’s embrace of once-forbidden items such as film and photography. The pragmatic exigencies of waging an insurgency spurred this ideological shift.

To be sure, these shifts and trends differ throughout the movement; they more accurately describe the evolution of the leadership than the rank-and-file, which in some cases may still be espousing traditionalist viewpoints.

Revolutionary Islamism does not necessarily translate as transnational jihad. In fact, what continues to unite all wings of the Afghan Taleban movement is a commitment to Afghanistan’s sovereignty—which is, in effect, a form of nationalism. Despite the Taleban’s rejection of non-Sharia-based normative systems, the movement has not rejected coexistence with those systems in the international state system. Moreover, the Taleban’s imagined community is limited to Afghans in practical terms, if not always in their rhetoric.

Questions of ideology and ideological shift bring a broader perspective into view, one that does not necessarily match every moment of daily life as lived in Afghanistan. When it comes to finding useful strategic insights from these long-term changes, making connections becomes harder still. Nevertheless, this is the place from which we should start: primary sources, interviews and a sense of the Taleban leadership’s position and perspective from talking with them. Only then can we hope to start to untangle the intricacies of how the Taleban has changed over time, and discover who they have become.

The full report can be read here.

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L115A3 - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 01:55

British L115A3 Sniper Rifle
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