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02 Jul 21. Era ends, uncertainty looms as U.S. forces quit main Afghanistan base.
- Soviet-built air strip became vast U.S. base
- U.S. to leave behind only an embassy protection force
- Taliban sweeping into districts as foreign troops go home
- Effective end to war launched after Sept. 11 attacks
American troops pulled out of their main military base in Afghanistan on Friday, leaving behind a piece of the World Trade Center they buried 20 years ago in a country that could descend into civil war without them.
The quiet departure from Bagram Air Base brought an effective end to the longest war in U.S. history. It came as the Taliban insurgency ramps up its offensive throughout the country after peace talks sputtered.
The Pentagon said the turnover of Bagram to Afghan security forces was a “key milestone” in the withdrawal, but insisted the U.S. military still has the authority to protect Afghan forces.
“Those authorities still exist,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He did not give a timeline for when they might end.
President Joe Biden said the troops’ departure is on track, but some American forces will still be in Afghanistan in September as part of a “rational drawdown with allies.” read more
He called repeated queries from reporters about the withdrawal timeline “negative” on Friday, ahead of the July 4 U.S. Independence Day holiday weekend. “I want to talk about happy things, man,” Biden said. “It’s the holiday weekend. I’m going to celebrate it. There’s great things happening.”
Bagram, an hour’s drive north of Kabul, was where the U.S. military coordinated its air war and logistical support for its entire Afghan mission. The Taliban thanked them for leaving.
“We consider this withdrawal a positive step. Afghans can get closer to stability and peace with the full withdrawal of foreign forces,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.
Other Afghans were more circumspect. “The Americans must leave Afghanistan and there should be peace in this country,” said Kabul resident Javed Arman.
But he added: “We are in a difficult situation. Most people have fled their districts and some districts have fallen. Seven districts in Paktia province have fallen and are now under Taliban control.”
More than 3,500 international troops were killed in Afghanistan. A Western diplomat in Kabul said Washington and its NATO allies had “won many battles, but have lost the Afghan war.”
It was at Bagram, on a plain hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush, that New York City firefighters and police buried a piece of the World Trade Center in December 2001, days after the Taliban were toppled for harboring Osama bin Laden.
It was also here that the CIA ran a “black site” detention center where terrorism suspects were subjected to abuse that President Barack Obama subsequently acknowledged as torture.
The base later swelled into a sprawling fortified city for a huge international military force, with fast food restaurants, gyms and a cafe serving something called “the mother of all coffees.” Two runways perpetually roared. Presidents flew in and gave speeches; celebrities came and told jokes.
An Afghan official said the base would be officially handed over at a ceremony on Saturday.
U.S. officials have told Reuters that the vast majority of troops have left Afghanistan, ahead of the timetable set by Biden, who had promised they would be home by Sept. 11, the 20th anniversary of the attack that brought them to Afghanistan.
General Austin Miller, currently the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, will leave the country in the coming days, handing over to General Kenneth McKenzie, who heads U.S. Central Command, the Pentagon said.
Biden said he thinks the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, with whom he held talks at the White House last week, has the capacity to withstand recent Taliban advances. But he said Ghani’s government should deal with “internal issues,” an apparent reference to infighting among rival factions.
Washington agreed to withdraw in a deal negotiated last year under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump. Biden rejected advice from generals to hang on until a political agreement could be reached between the insurgents and Ghani’s U.S.-backed government.
Biden told Ghani in Washington last week the Afghans must decide their own future. Ghani said his job was now to “manage the consequences” of the U.S. withdrawal.
In exchange for the U.S. departure, the Taliban promised not to allow international terrorists to operate from Afghan soil. They committed to negotiate with the Afghan government, but talks in the Qatari capital Doha made little progress.
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan this week said Washington was firmly committed to assisting Afghanistan and would provide security assistance of $3bn in 2022.
The Taliban refuse to declare a ceasefire. Afghan soldiers have been surrendering or abandoning their posts. Militia groups that fought against the Taliban before the Americans arrived are taking up arms again.
Three officials with knowledge of the discussions said the United States has asked three Central Asian nations – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan – to provide a temporary home to about 10,000 Afghans who worked with either U.S. or allied forces. read more
Several European nations were also providing refuge to hundreds of Afghan employees and their families as they faced a direct threat from the Taliban.
Since Biden’s announcement that he would press ahead with Trump’s withdrawal plan, insurgents have advanced across Afghanistan, notably in the north, where for years after their ouster they had a minimal presence. (Source: Reuters)
02 Jul 21. Austin Approves Plan to Transfer Authority, Retrograde Should be Done by End of August. As part of the drawdown process from Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III approved a plan to transfer authority from Army Gen. Austin S. Miller to Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby said today.
Miller is the commander of U.S. Forces-Afghanistan and the Resolute Support Mission. McKenzie is the commander of U.S. Central Command.
This is all part of the safe and orderly retrograde that will have all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by the end of August — well within President Joe Biden’s order. “We expect that transfer to be effective later this month,” Kirby said. “General Miller will remain in theater in coming weeks to prepare for and to complete the turnover of these duties and responsibilities to General McKenzie.”
Kirby emphasized that McKenzie will retain all existing authorities that Miller currently possesses and commander of U.S. Forces, Afghanistan. “He will continue to exercise authority over the conduct of any and all counterterrorism operations needed to protect the homeland from threats emanating out of Afghanistan, and he will lead U.S. efforts to develop options for the logistical, financial and technical support to Afghan forces once our drawdown is complete.”
This process will allow the United States to maintain a diplomatic presence within Afghanistan, as U.S. and Afghan leaders hash out the new bilateral relationship between the nations. The bottom line for the United States is to ensure Afghanistan never becomes a haven for groups that wish to launch attacks on the homeland.
Austin also approved establishing U.S. Forces Afghanistan to be led by Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely in Kabul. Army Brig. Gen. Curtis Buzzard will lead the Defense Security Cooperation Management Office, Afghanistan that will support Vasely.
Buzzard’s office is based in Qatar. That office will provide funding for the Afghan National Defense and Security forces to include over the horizon aircraft maintenance support.
Kirby confirmed U.S. forces have left Bagram Airfield. Kirby called this a key milestone in the drawdown process.
(Source: US DoD)
01 Jul 21. Taliban has won the war in Afghanistan, says Lord Dannatt as UK and US troops pull out. During 20-year conflict, 454 British military personnel have been killed, but as troops depart, country appears destined to slide into chaos The Taliban has “prevailed” in its battle with the West in Afghanistan, the former head of the British Army has said, as it emerged all UK and US troops will be withdrawn on Sunday.
Writing in The Telegraph, General Lord Dannatt said the mission had been intended to give the Afghan people the choice of a more “moderate and peaceful” life.
“Ultimately, Taliban force of arms has prevailed, and the people of that country have been denied the chance to choose a better way of life,” Lord Dannatt said. “Tragically, a descent into the chaos of civil war seems highly likely.”
During the 20-year conflict, 454 British military personnel were killed while serving in Afghanistan. Taliban forces are now making sweeping gains across rural areas, declaring victory over Nato and its allies.
Lord Dannatt has called for a Chilcot-like “audit” of the campaign to take place, after The Telegraph revealed that the Union flag has been lowered in Kabul, ending 20 years of British presence in the country.
The Telegraph can now also reveal that a source close to General Sir Nick Carter, the chief of the defence staff, confirmed that the remaining British and US forces would be withdrawn from Afghanistan on Independence Day.
The source said: “We will all be out on July 4th. The main British mission will also be concluded by July 4th.”
The full withdrawal was initially planned to be completed on September 11, on what will be the 20th anniversary of the Twin Towers attack.
“The thinking was that there was no point in having a slow extraction and running the risk of having more casualties,” the source added. It is understood that there will still be a presence of international troops around the embassy in Kabul.
As the drawdown of Nato troops throughout the country has commenced, the country has seen a surge in violence, with district after district falling to the Taliban in recent days.
Lord Dannatt added: “The Afghan National Army has seemingly lost the will to fight and many soldiers are abandoning their posts, no longer supported by substantial international air power.”
He warned that “tragically, a descent into the chaos of civil war seems highly likely”.
A senior UK military source told The Telegraph: “There are a lot of us who have served in Afghanistan and inevitably we’ve got a deep attachment to the Afghan security forces that we served alongside.”
He said there remained “admiration” for the forces’ professionalism, along with “a healthy respect for the Taliban”, that has been built up since UK troops entered the conflict in October 2001.
The source added: “We left a lot of people behind. It’s not a secret that we would have preferred to have stayed to continue to see this through and see the security of the country feel more assured.”
Meanwhile, commanders with the militant movement currently making rapid advances against Ashraf Ghani’s government forces likened the withdrawal to the departure of Soviet forces in 1989 and have cheered the moment as one of the main goals of their long-running insurgency.
The Taliban have yet to capture any significant town or city, but the toppling of rural district centres has spread alarm in Kabul and Washington that the momentum may build into a cascade of larger victories.
One 30-year-old fighter who spent five years in prison before being released in a detainee swap last year called the departure “another golden page in Afghan history”.
The militant, who uses the name Muslim Afghan, said: “First the USSR and now the USA have collapsed in Afghanistan. There is no doubt the Taliban smashed the USA in Afghanistan. America never had mercy on the killing of Afghans but despite all their brutality they failed.”
Joe Biden agreed in April to complete a troop pull out first outlined under Donald Trump’s Doha withdrawal deal.
Yet hopes that the departure of troops would soon revitalise stalled talks appear to have been dashed by the Taliban’s advances in parts of northern Afghanistan.
Afghan forces have at times appeared powerless to halt the offensive and the scale and speed of the Afghan government’s reverses have surprised not only Washington and London, but also regional powers such as Pakistan. Few now expect talks to resume quickly, as the insurgents see how far their offensive takes them.
“Why would they talk now if it means handing over some of the districts they have just captured?” said one senior diplomat familiar with the moribund talks.
A former Taliban minister said the withdrawal showed that: “We are the winner”.
The Afghan military and police on paper greatly outnumber estimates of the Taliban, and will continue to receive large sums of foreign funding.
Afghan officials have claimed the loss of some districts represents a strategic withdrawal to protect urban centres, while others have been recaptured. Yet morale is low and troops complaining they have been abandoned or left without supplies have often given up with little fight.
Some groups that fear the government cannot protect them have begun to rearm and form militia.
Taliban envoys have attempted to reassure the Afghan government and international community that they will not reimpose their strict emirate of the 1990s, which was notorious for repressing women and executing criminals.
However, one commander said that was exactly what he was fighting for. The man, called Asad Sadaqat, said: “Taliban will establish an Islamic regime and there won’t be much difference with the old regime. Stoning, the adultery death penalty and chopping the hands off thieves are God’s rules. The Taliban can’t show flexibility and compromises on those rules.”
Yet the prospect of renewed civil war appeared to haunt at least one older insurgent commander, who said anarchy could not be deemed victory. The fighter, called Mullah Hamidullah, said he had spent 25 of his 55 years with the Taliban.
“We will certainly enter another civil war with our own fellow Muslims, so instead of being arrogant winners, the Taliban must think for a peaceful Afghanistan.”
He predicted world attention would quickly move on.
“Afghans killing Afghans won’t be noticed by anyone,” he said.
(Source: Daily Telegraph)
30 Jun 21. Committed to full implementation of the JCPoA. Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the Security Council briefing on non-proliferation. Thank you, Mr President. I would like to start by welcoming the Secretary-General’s eleventh report and to thank the Secretariat for their continued professionalism and support they provide to the Secretary General in enabling production of this report. We also thank the Facilitator and her team for their work on a balanced and accurate Facilitator’s report. We support the Secretary-General’s findings and remain committed to full implementation of the JCPoA and Resolution 2231. This is why we are engaging in talks in Vienna aimed at finding a diplomatic solution to revitalise and restore the benefits of the JCPoA. Our priority is for the US to return to the deal, to bring Iran back into compliance with its commitments and to restore the benefits of the deal for all. The talks cannot be open ended and the time for reaching a decision is fast approaching. We cannot guarantee that the same terms for a deal will be on offer later in the year. We remain deeply concerned at Iran’s continued violations of its nuclear-related commitments, including the escalatory steps taken since January 2021. Collectively, these steps present a significant nuclear proliferation risk, have irreversible consequences for Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and undermine the non-proliferation benefits of the JCPoA. In this context, we are also concerned by the continued limits placed on the IAEA’s monitoring and surveillance activities in Iran. Iran must co-operate fully with the IAEA and grant unimpeded access to all relevant sites and activities to ensure the Agency can continue to fulfil its reporting mandate under resolution 2231.
2021 has also seen a continuation of Iran’s destabilising activity around the Middle East, including activities that are inconsistent with resolution 2231. Iran’s Ballistic Missile technologies pose a threat to regional security, including as a potential delivery system for weapons of mass destruction.
We welcome the talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Dialogue is the corner stone for the de-escalation of regional tensions. We note Iranian President-elect Raisi’s comments on 18 June stating that his administration is open to continuing dialogue with Saudi Arabia. We urge all regional partners to engage constructively to improve the security and prosperity of the region.
We call upon President-elect Raisi to set Iran on a different course. He can do this by addressing concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme, putting an end to Iran’s destabilising activity and human rights abuses, and releasing British nationals detained in Iran.
Upholding the nuclear non-proliferation regime, ensuring the authority and integrity of the Security Council and improving regional security should remain our shared objectives. Thank you, Mr President. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
30 Jun 21. US and Japan conduct war games amid rising China-Taiwan tensions. Secret table-top planning and joint exercises in South China Sea continue as concerns grow over Beijing stance. The US and Japan have become alarmed as China has flown more fighter jets and bombers into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone. The US and Japan have been conducting war games and joint military exercises in the event of a conflict with China over Taiwan, amid escalating concerns over the Chinese military’s assertive activity. US and Japanese military officials began serious planning for a possible conflict in the final year of the Trump administration, according to six people who requested anonymity. The activity includes top-secret tabletop war games and joint exercises in the South China and East China seas. Shinzo Abe, then Japanese prime minister, in 2019 decided to significantly expand military planning because of the Chinese threat to Taiwan and the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. This work has continued under the administrations of Joe Biden and Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga, according to three of the people with knowledge of the matter. The US and Japan have become alarmed as China has flown more fighter jets and bombers into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, including a record 28 fighters on June 15. The Chinese navy, air force and coast guard have also become increasingly active around the Senkaku, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan. China insists that it wants to unify Taiwan with the mainland. While it says it wants peaceful unification, it has not ruled out the use of force to seize control of Taiwan. “In many ways, the People’s Liberation Army drove the US and Japan together and toward new thinking on Taiwan,” said Randy Schriver, who served as the top Pentagon official for Asia until the end of 2019. “Assertiveness around the Senkaku and Taiwan at the same time drives home the issue of proximity.” The US has long wanted Japan, a mutual defence treaty ally, to conduct more joint military planning, but Japan was constrained by its postwar pacifist constitution. That obstacle was eased, but not eliminated, when the Abe government in 2015 reinterpreted the constitution to allow Japan to defend allies that came under attack. As the two allies started to bolster their joint planning, Japan asked the US to share its Taiwan war plan, but the Pentagon demurred because it wanted to focus on boosting planning between the two countries in phases. One former US official said the eventual goal was for the two allies to create an integrated war plan for Taiwan. Two of the six people said the US military and Japanese self-defence forces had conducted joint exercises in the South China Sea that had been couched as disaster relief training. They have also held more military exercises around the Senkaku, which also helps prepare for any conflict with China over Taiwan, which is just 350km west of the islands. “Some of the activities we’re training on are highly fungible,” said Schriver, adding that exercises such as an amphibious landing in a “disaster relief scenario” would be “directly applicable” to any conflict around the Senkaku or the Taiwan Strait. Mark Montgomery, a retired admiral who commanded the USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group and was director of operations at Indo-Pacific command between 2014 and 2017, said the Pentagon needed a “comprehensive understanding” of the support Japan could provide in the case of a conflict. Tension has risen over the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan © Kyodo via Reuters “As a crisis grows and Japan is potentially drawn in as a participant, the US will need to understand how Japan could support or enable US operations,” he added. US and Japanese diplomats are examining the legal issues related to any joint military action, including access to bases and the kind of logistical support Japan could provide US forces engaged in a conflict with China. In the event of a war over Taiwan, the US would rely on air bases in Japan. But that raises the odds that Tokyo would be dragged into the conflict, particularly if China tried to destroy the bases in an effort to hobble the US. One official said the US and Japan needed to urgently create a trilateral sharing mechanism with Taiwan for information about Chinese naval and air force movements, especially around the Miyako Strait to the east of Taiwan which is covered by Japanese sensors from the north-east and Taiwanese sensors from the south-west. “Some of that kind of data is shared between Taiwan and the US, and between Japan and the US. But we have no direct sharing trilaterally,” the official said. “You cannot start setting that up in the middle of a contingency. You have to do it now.” Another official said the three nations had taken a small but important step in 2017 by agreeing to share military aircraft codes to help identify friendly aircraft. Taiwanese officials and US and Japanese sources said co-operation had since risen significantly, driven by the growing awareness in Japan about the importance of Taiwan — which is 110km from Yonaguni, the westernmost island in the Japanese archipelago — for its own security. “The Japanese government has increasingly recognised, and even acknowledges publicly, that the defence of Taiwan equates to the defence of Japan,” said Heino Klinck, a former top Pentagon official who oversaw military relations with Japan and Taiwan from late 2019 until the end of the Trump administration. The Japanese defence ministry said Tokyo and Washington continued to update their joint planning following the 2015 revision of guidelines that underpin the military alliance, but declined to provide any detail. The Pentagon did not comment. (Source: FT.com)
29 Jun 21. Undeclared conflict? America’s battles with Iran-backed militia escalate, again. U.S. President Joe Biden’s latest strikes against Iran-backed militia in Syria and Iraq were not the first nor likely the last of his young presidency. For some of Biden’s fellow Democrats, the crucial question is: does the pattern of attacks and counter-attacks amount to an undeclared conflict?
If it does, they say, there is a risk that the United States could stumble into a direct war with Iran without the involvement of Congress, an issue that is becoming more politically fraught after two decades of “forever wars.”
“It’s hard to argue, given the pace of attacks against U.S. troops and, now, the increasing frequency of our responses, this isn’t war,” Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat who leads a key Senate foreign relations subcommittee, told Reuters.
“What we always worry about is that the United States slips into war without the American public actually being able to weigh in.”
The two countries came close to the kind of conflict Democrats fear in January 2020, when the United States killed a top Iranian general and Iran retaliated with missile strikes in Iraq that caused brain injuries in more than 100 U.S. troops. That followed a series of exchanges with Iran-backed militias.
In the latest round, U.S. fighter jets on Sunday targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one in Iraq, in what the Pentagon said was a direct response to drone attacks by militias against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq.
On Monday, U.S. troops came under rocket fire in Syria in apparent retaliation, but escaped injury. The U.S. military responded with counter-battery artillery fire at rocket launching positions.
“A lot of people suggest that the term ‘forever war’ is just emotive, but it’s actually a decent descriptor of the kind of strike we saw again (Sunday): no strategic goal, no endpoint in sight, just permanent presence and tit-for-tat strikes,” Emma Ashford, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council, said on Twitter.
The White House has stressed that Sunday’s air strikes were designed to limit escalation and deter future militia operations against U.S. personnel.
They were also legal, according to Biden.
“I have that authority under Article Two and even those up on the Hill who are reluctant to acknowledge that have acknowledged that’s the case,” Biden said, referring to part of the U.S. Constitution that lays out the powers of the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
Brian Finucane, a former official with the Office of the Legal Adviser at the State Department, said the current administration – like others before it – do not see the episodes as part of an ongoing conflict.
He called it a “salami-slice” approach.
“They would characterize these as intermittent hostilities. We had one strike back in February and then the 60-day War Powers clock essentially was reset,” said Finucane, now at the International Crisis Group.
He drew a comparison to the tanker wars with Iran in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration viewed “each round of fighting as sort of a closed event.”
But experts say that view does not take into account that Iran-backed militia are waging a sustained – and escalating – campaign against the U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Michael Knights at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy cautioned that the militias’ use of drones appeared increasingly dangerous, employing GPS guidance and precisely targeting U.S.-led coalition intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets, and missile defenses.
“In quantity and quality, Iraqi militia attacks on coalition points of presence in Iraq are increasing. Unless deterrence is restored, U.S. fatalities are increasingly likely,” Knights said.
Beyond pushing the United States out of the region, the militias’ secondary goal is to signal to the United States, the Iraqi government and others their mastery of more advanced weaponry, like the explosive-laden drones, said Phillip Smyth, also at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
“They live on some of the covert actions that they’re doing,” he said.
Members of Congress are currently working on repealing some of the war authorizations that presidents from both parties have used to justify previous attacks in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
But that wouldn’t necessarily prevent Biden or any other U.S. president from carrying out defensive air strikes.
After he was briefed by Biden’s national security team, Murphy said he remained concerned. U.S. troops were in Iraq to battle Islamic State, not Iran-aligned militia.
If Biden is wary of going to Congress for war powers, then perhaps he needs to heed Americans’ skepticism about interventions in the Middle East, he said.
“If Congress had a hard time authorizing military action against Iranian-backed militias, it would largely be because our constituents don’t want it. And that’s what’s missing from this debate,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
28 Jun 21. Syria: Joint Statement on the Ministerial Meeting. A Joint Statement from Ministers and representatives meeting on the margins of the Defeat ISIS Coalition Ministerial to discuss the Syria crisis. We, the Ministers and representatives of the United States, Italy, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Jordan, Norway, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and representatives of the Arab League and European Union, met today on the margins of the Defeat ISIS Coalition Ministerial to discuss the crisis in Syria. We stressed the critical importance of meeting humanitarian needs, including life-saving assistance and COVID-19 response for all Syrians in need through all modalities, including through the provision and expansion of the UN cross-border mechanism to which there is no adequate alternative. We also underlined the importance of continued support to Syrian refugees and host countries until Syrians can voluntarily return home with safety and dignity in line with UNHCR standards.
We welcomed UN Special Envoy Geir Pedersen’s briefing and reaffirmed strong support for UN-led efforts to implement all aspects of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, including continued support for an immediate nation-wide ceasefire, the unimpeded and safe delivery of aid, and the Constitutional Committee, as well as fighting against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
Reaffirming the unity and territorial integrity of Syria, we remain committed to continue working actively to reach a credible, sustainable, and inclusive political solution based on Resolution 2254. This is the only solution that will bring an end to Syria’s decade long conflict and guarantee the security of the Syrian people and fulfil their aspirations.
28 Jun 21. DoD Shifts Listing of Chinese Military Companies to Section 1260H List. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has effectively retired its list of Chinese military companies pursuant to section 1237 of the Strom Thurmond NDAA for FY99 by shifting all listings to its list of Chinese military companies pursuant to section 1260H of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry NDAA for FY21 through the following Federal Register notices: (86 Fed. Reg. 33994) – The Secretary of Defense has removed the designation of “Communist Chinese military companies” from entities previously listed as such in accordance with Section 1237 of the Strom Thurmond National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999 (Pub. L. 105-261). There are currently no entities designated as Communist Chinese military companies under this authority.
(86 Fed. Reg. 33994) – Section 1260H of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry NDAA for FY21 (Pub. L. 116-283) directs the Secretary of Defense to continue to list “Chinese military companies” (CMCs) annually until December 31, 2030. Paragraph (a)(2) of this section directs the Secretary of Defense to publish the unclassified portion of such list in the Federal Register. The Secretary of Defense has determined that the following entities qualify as “Chinese military companies” in accordance with Section 1260H of the William M. (Mac) Thornberry NDAA for FY21 (Pub. L. 116- 283):
Aerospace CH UA V Co., Ltd
Aviation Industry Corporation of China, Ltd. (AVIC)
AVIC Aviation High-Technology Company Limited
AVIC Heavy Machinery Company Limited
AVIC Jonhon Optronic Technology Co., Ltd.
AVIC Shenyang Aircraft Company Limited
AVIC Xi’an Aircraft Industry Group Company Ltd.
China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC)
China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC)
China Communications Construction Group (Limited) (CCCG)
China Electronics Corporation (CEC)
China Electronics Technology Group Corporation (CETC)
China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN)
China Marine Information Electronics Company Limited
China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd.
China Mobile Limited China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC)
China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)
China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (Norinco Group)
China Railway Construction Corporation Limited (CRCC)
China South Industries Group Corporation (CSGC)
China SpaceSat Co., Ltd.
China State Shipbuilding Corporation Limited (CSSC)
China Telecom Corporation Limited
China Telecommunications CorporationChina Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited
China United Network Communications Group Co., Ltd. (China Unicom)
Costar Group Co., Ltd.
Fujian Torch Electron Technology Co., Ltd.
Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., Ltd. (Hikvision)
Huawei Investment & Holding Co., Ltd.
Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.
Inner Mongolia First Machinery Group Co., Ltd.
Inspur Group Co., Ltd.
Jiangxi Hongdu Aviation Industry Co., Ltd.
Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Beijing) Corporation
Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Shenzhen) Corporation
Semiconductor Manufacturing International (Tianjin) Corporation
Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC)
Semiconductor Manufacturing South China Corporation
SMIC Holdings Limited
SMIC Hong Kong International Company Limited
SMIC Northern Integrated Circuit Manufacturing (Beijing) Co., Ltd
SMIC Semiconductor Manufacturing (Shanghai) Co., Ltd
Zhonghang Electronic Measuring Instruments Company Limited
28 June 21. Australia to bolster PNG maritime defence capability. Australia is set to bolster Papua New Guinea’s naval patrol capabilities as part of a new co-operation agreement. At the request of Papua New Guinea, Defence has agreed to arm the Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s four new Guardian Class patrol boats, delivered through the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
Australia has a long-standing security partnership with Papua New Guinea through the Defence Cooperation Program and the Pacific Maritime Security Program.
This investment in Papua New Guinea’s sovereign defence capabilities is designed to boost Pacific regional maritime security and contribute to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The first Guardian Class patrol boat provided to Papua New Guinea, HMPNGS Ted Diro, was handed over in 2018. The second, HMPNGS Rochus Lokinap, was delivered to Papua New Guinea in 2021. A further two patrol boats are under construction. The 39.5-metre steel patrol boats are designed and built by Austal in Western Australia.
The equipment is designed to better enable Papua New Guinea to respond to shared maritime challenges, from illegal fishing to transnational crime.
Australia will also provide a comprehensive support and training package. The nations have committed to signing a memorandum of understanding, which will ensure compliance with relevant domestic and international obligations.
Both countries have a history of working together to protect shared maritime security interests and Australia’s investment in Papua New Guinea’s maritime security capability aims to ensure a continuity of Papua New Guinea’s sovereign capabilities. (Source: Defence Connect)
25 Jun 21. Russia deploys air and naval assets to shadow HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group. Since mid-June, Russia has bolstered its naval and aviation presence in the Mediterranean theatre of operations, reinforcements that the Russian Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) TV Zvezda announced on 25 June will be used to “to monitor the actions of the [HMS Queen Elizabeth] aircraft carrier group.”
Multiple images posted on social media show the 30th Surface Ship Division’s Slava-class cruiser Moskva and Admiral Grigorovich-class frigate Admiral Essen transiting the Bosphorus strait heading south towards the Mediterranean Sea on 18 June.
Video footage broadcast by TV Zvezda on 25 June shows three Tu-22M3 bombers with tail numbers Red 50, Red 15, and Red 28 at Humaymim airbase in Latakia, Syria. At least two of the aircraft appear to be carrying Kh-22 air-launched anti-ship missiles. Red 15 and Red 28 are assessed by Janes to be part of the 52nd Heavy Bomber Regiment stationed in the Kaluga region, while Red 50 is believed to belong to either the 52nd or 200th Heavy Bomber Regiment based in Irkutsk. These three aircraft appear to be the same Tu-22M3s that conducted a four-day rotation to Humaymim on 24–28 May.
In addition to the Tu-22M3s, the 25 June footage from TV Zvezda showed the deployment to Humaymim of at least two MiG-31K combat aircraft with tail numbers Red 90 RF-95215 and Red 96. No weapons can be seen attached to the aircraft’s hardpoints in the footage. TV Zvezda also reported that an Il-38 anti-submarine maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) had been deployed to Humaymim airbase but did not show it in the footage. (Source: Jane’s)
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