Tajikistan calls up reservists to bolster border as Afghan troops flee Taliban: Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmon on Monday ordered the mobilization of 20,000 military reservists to bolster the border with Afghanistan after more than 1,000 Afghan security personnel fled across the frontier in response to Taliban militant advances. The Tajik border troops said they had let the people into the country as a sign of good neighborly relations. A surge of Taliban wins in northern Afghanistan has caused some countries to close their consulates in the region. The Taliban surge came as US Central Command in a statement Tuesday said 90% of the withdrawal of US troops and equipment is complete. The US says the last troops will be gone by August. According to its border guards, Tajikistan has so far remained in control. However, Russia also expressed concern about the situation. The Kremlin complained of destabilization in Afghanistan due to the withdrawal of troops by the United States and its allies. The Tajik economy is heavily dependent on Russia and China.
reuters.com, apnews.com, dpa-international.com, politico.com
Putin wants to protect Russia from Western influence: Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved a revised version of Russia’s national security strategy that envisages “symmetrical and asymmetrical measures” in response to foreign states’ “unfriendly actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity” of Russia. Putin signed a decree approving the strategy on Friday. The 44-page document was published Saturday on a government website and outlined Russia’s national interests and priorities. It stated that “actions of some countries are aimed at instigating disintegration processes in the Commonwealth of Independent States in order to destroy Russia’s ties with its traditional allies,” and claimed that “a number of states call Russia a threat and even a military adversary.” The paper also repeatedly touches on Putin’s thesis that the model of liberal democracy is in crisis. Critics see the strategy paper as an attempt at authoritarian paternalism and also as a step toward turning away from the values of Western democracies. Western countries are accused of propaganda regarding freedom of movement, immorality and egoism. Furthermore, the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU against Russia are criticized, as is NATO’s approach to the country’s borders. Russia is apparently planning to turn more toward China and India.
UN Children’s Fund reports worst outbreak of violence in Syria in a year: According to Western observers, several civilians have died in Syria. Many of the victims were children and their families. A ceasefire is officially in effect in the civil war country. According to United Nations reports, there were nearly 24,000 violations of children’s rights last year, and the number of abductions and rapes have increased. In addition, according to a report by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), child labor increased for the first time in two decades.
zeit.de, welt.de, tagesschau.de
Unrest in Eswatini: The landlocked and impoverished kingdom of Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland, has been rocked by days of violent clashes between security forces and demonstrators calling for democratic reforms. Mswati III, Eswatini’s longtime ruler known for his extravagant lifestyle, is facing some of the biggest protests of his 35-year reign – but his whereabouts are in dispute. His opponents claim the king slipped out of the country on board his private jet on Monday as protests took a violent turn. Their claims have not been verified, but the swirling rumours have prompted Eswatini officials to issue a statement denying the “false media reports” and appealing for calm.
Hackers demand $70 million to end biggest ransomware attack on record: Cybersecurity teams are working to stem the impact of the single biggest global ransomware attack on record. An affiliate of the notorious Russia-linked REvil gang, best known for extorting $11 million from the meat-processor JBS after a Memorial Day attack, infected thousands of victims in at least 17 countries on Friday, largely through firms that remotely manage IT infrastructure for multiple customers, cybersecurity researchers said. REvil was demanding ransoms of up to $5 million, the researchers said. But late Sunday it offered in a posting on its dark web site a universal decryptor software key that would unscramble all affected machines in exchange for $70 million in cryptocurrency.
After withdrawal: Afghan Bundeswehr aides may initially remain in Germany only for a limited period of time spiegel.de
Myanmar: 25 dead in protests over 65th birthday of military junta leader faz.net
Tigray: 400,000 people at risk of starvation according to UN Security Council tagesschau.de
Military exercises: Russian fighter jets practice attack on ships at same time as NATO naval exercise n-tv.de
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: Federal Prosecutor General investigates employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution for passing on information mdr.de
NUMBER OF THE WEEK
In Germany, export licenses for defense equipment fell by 17 percent from January to June.
The US-Ukraine Sea Breeze naval exercises: The Sea Breeze military exercises, hosted by the United States and Ukraine and including 32 nations from as far away as Australia, are underway in the Black Sea and nearby areas, an increasing friction point between NATO and Russia. Those tensions were on display last month when the British destroyer HMS Defender crossed briefly through Black Sea waters that are considered internationally as Ukrainian but are claimed by Russia after its 2014 annexation of Crimea. Russian planes buzzed the vessel. Russia’s defense ministry said it also unleashed warning shots and bombs, but Britain denies any such actions took place.
New hypersonic weapon systems from major powers create additional risks: Hypersonic weapon technology is considered the greatest advance in missile technology in the last decade. Armed forces until recently relied on ballistic and cruise missiles, most of which reach supersonic speeds. However, hypersonic weapons are faster than conventional supersonic weapons and also exceed the speed of sound by several times. There are two main types: Hypersonic cruise missiles with scramjet propulsion and hypersonic glide missiles without their own propulsion system, which are launched into the atmosphere by a rocket. Both systems combine speed and precision. The US, Russia and China are taking a leading role in the military use of hypersonic technology and have already begun an arms race in this area. However, the interplay of speed, altitude, maneuverability, and precision requires further research, especially since the physical limitations due to low altitude atmospheric flight also raise questions in terms of speed and invisibility.
Private security firms are booming in Africa: The UN Security Council accuses Russian mercenaries of human rights violations in the Central African Republic. Western mercenaries and companies also operate in Africa — often in a highly opaque manner. Since the end of the 1990s, a new industry has been booming: military and security companies. Their services range from radar surveillance and spy flights to front-line operations. Other companies provide more logistical support to the armed forces of numerous countries: in medical care, in kitchens and laundries, or the supply of food and ammunition. At the same time, Russia and Russian military suppliers are encountering strong Western competition. Whereby their activities are no more transparent than Russia’s. In May 2018, footage of a drone appeared in US media showing an incident from October 2017. US special forces and soldiers from the Nigerien army were ambushed by Islamist militants in the West African country. Four US military personnel and five Nigerien soldiers lost their lives. Only because of these images did the strong presence of US forces in the Sahel come to light, as did the close ties between the US Army and private military contractors. The US Department of Defense reported that the ten soldiers had been deployed with a so-called intelligence contractor, a private provider of intelligence information. However, the Pentagon did not provide further details on the contractor’s identity and nationality.
„I very much regret that this jointly agreed procedure led to criticism. However, the troops‘ desire to return home quickly was paramount.“
German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer justifies the absence of the German government during the return of the last soldiers from Afghanistan.
Japanese researchers discover 3000-year-old shark attack: A skeleton found in southern Japan provides the oldest direct evidence of a shark attack on a human. The victim displayed nearly 790 traumatic injuries including incisions, punctures and fractures that showed no signs of healing, which suggest that the incident was fatal. The researchers published their findings in the August 2021 issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.