A few weeks ago I wrote about a Pentagon program called the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations. I was mystified at what is actually does, and how it measures progress and success—despite talking, at great length, of progress and success.
With some digging, you can get some sense of what it’s up to now. For example, the TFBSO is running projects through Department of the Interior contract vehicles (right?) to do things like build airports in Afghanistan.
Opening international travel routes in and out of Afghanistan is critical to bringing international and Afghan businesses together.
TFBSO intends to develop comprehensive Master Plans for Herat and Kandahar Airports. This effort builds upon the economic and security gains of Herat Province, Afghanistan, and status of Kandahar as Afghanistan’s newest and fastest growing international airport – two critical entry points for business and commerce in Afghanistan.
I guess I’m completely ignorant but I’m really curious as to what sort of non-opium business activity comes in through Kandahar (from outside the country, that is—I get that flying is your best bet of arriving in Kandahar unexploded by a roadside bomb). What’s so interesting about these plans is that in 2008, Ann Marlowe bragged about Khost building itself a new airport for this very purpose, though she never said who funded it and it looks like it still hasn’t yet been constructed.
Still, it’s noteworthy the TFBSO is addressing infrastructural constraints to economic activity in Afghanistan. It’s much better than their mad quest to get J.P. Morgan to purchase a literal gold mine.
Then there are secret farmers. Chenega Corporation, one of the ubiquitous Native Alaskan Owned Small Businesses that gets all sorts of exemptions and set-asides from the government, is hiring cleared agricultural specialists to operate in Afghanistan.
Company Job Title: Agricultural SME (TFBSO)
Chenega Job Title: Subj Matter Spec VII, Advisor
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
There’s nothing too nefarious about this—as a deployed DOD contractor it makes sense to have a SECRET clearance, as SIPR is how the Army talks to itself. But still: the war in Afghanistan has advanced to the point where importing American farmers to help Afghans farm now requires a security clearance. I’m pretty sure there’s a satirical story in there somewhere, but it’s just too ridiculous to even contemplate for the time being.