Counterinsurgency Ops in Afganistan

7

7point62

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What we are trying to accomplish in Afganistan, with too few men, is identical--I mean identical--with what we in the Combined Action Platoons were trying to accomplish in Vietnam. Trying to maintain a presence in primitive hamlets, letting the locals know we were there to help, trying to hunt and disrupt the Viet Cong by night, being hampered in our efforts in the villages by Viet Cong intimidation and murder of suspected collaborators, thereby limiting the amount of reliable intel from local sources...you can read what I have just written and substitute "Taliban" for "Viet Cong" and you would be on the money.

Only the terrain is different. The people are the same. Dirt poor, scared sh*tless. And in every ville, the young men are gone...You'll find the old men, old women and kids...but the young men are off with the (Viet Cong), i.e. Taliban.

You can go into a ville and chit-chat with the village elders and promise them civic action, a new well, an irrigation ditch, school supplies, maybe your Corpsman can treat a few sores and dispense some pills...but then you move on and hump to the next ville or your next ambush site and the VC/Taliban move back in and exert their influence on people who are going to be predisposed anyway to side with their own countrymen--guys who speak their language and worship their Gods--than they would be predisposed to side with some well-meaning young men from freakin Minnesota or Texas. Young men who have to call in air support from time-to-time against an enemy who hides himself among the population thereby increasing the chances of collateral damage and casualties which further enhances the insurgent position.

On top of that, you have a corrupt official government in Saigon/Kabul that has exerted almost no influence--except perhaps in a negative way--on these remote and distant villages.

It is a clusterf*cking conundrum of major proportions and the only way out is either A. run like a scalded dog or B. Get as many men on the ground as you can, totally integrate your forces into the villes and village life; (forces, by the way, who have been fully indoctrinated to the ways of the locals, and who are embedded with well-trained indigenous troops.) No compounds, no barbed wire, no sandbags. You live in and near the villes during the day and you aggressively and actively patrol and ambush. You make the enemy move at night because your night eyes are better than his. And you move at night, too. You don't sit around on your ditty box in one place. You're in one village one day and the next day at dawn you show up somewhere else. Stay mobile, stay alive. Get your resupply by helo. Or eat what the locals eat. And that, combined with effective civic action and a maybe a concerted effort higher-up against the poppy trade, may give you some stability in Afganistan.

I know this because I have done it in two AO's with 12 men against a well-organized, resourceful enemy who's country enjoyed the support of two superpowers. If it can be done in Vietnam--and we did it in a number of places and would have done it more if we'd had the support of Westmoreland and if we'd worked the bugs out of it sooner--it can work in Afganistan.
 

AssadUSMC

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Well it looks like we're going to ramp up significantly in that AO when the new Prez comes online...

Hindsight is 20/20, but the timing of the Iraq incursion couldn't have been worse. The "roaches" in Afghanistan had merely scurried into their holes in Pak and now are coming back out with the lights off.
 

JBS

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Seems like a "surge" in Afghanistan may be in the works.
 
7

7point62

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I hope so. It's what we need if we're going to stay there. And we have to stay there at least until we root out that sonofabitch Bin Laden and cap him right between the peepers.

Anti-insurgency is the most difficult warfare there is because from the get-go your chances of failure are extremely high. And guerrilla forces are usually psyched for a much longer committment than you are. You can't fight it from a firebase or a compound. You gotta live it. You gotta be out there 24/7...Your enemy is committed to that...you gotta be too.
 

casca

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nice take on it... 3-24 has some nice vignettes that refer to exactly what you mention. And who says we can't learn from our past!!
 

doorkicker

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...the only way out is either A. run like a scalded dog or B. Get as many men on the ground as you can, totally integrate your forces into the villes and village life; (forces, by the way, who have been fully indoctrinated to the ways of the locals, and who are embedded with well-trained indigenous troops.) No compounds, no barbed wire, no sandbags. You live in and near the villes during the day and you aggressively and actively patrol and ambush. You make the enemy move at night because your night eyes are better than his. And you move at night, too. You don't sit around on your ditty box in one place. You're in one village one day and the next day at dawn you show up somewhere else. Stay mobile, stay alive. Get your resupply by helo. Or eat what the locals eat. And that, combined with effective civic action and a maybe a concerted effort higher-up against the poppy trade, may give you some stability in Afganistan.

Some excellent points, but I disagree with the need of a troop surge. From KAF to BAF, KBL to Herat a great deal of troops are doing nothing more than becoming highly proficient at Guitar Hero :rolleyes: I'm not saying it's the troops fault for being stuck on their asses on these bases, but PMTs/ETTs are a far cry from effective SASO since hardly any combat operations are taking place.

But you absolutly hit the nail on the head with integrating forces into the LN's backyards while staying mobile. CA/PSYOP can build the relationships in the jurgas, but the ETTs/PMTs should stay mobile actively driving the counter insurgency with the LNs they "mentor". I wouldn't necessarily advocate going on the locals' diet though...I was infested with parasites.:p Most of the ETTs/PMTs I've seen have been a hodge-podge of AD/RC component folks just thrown together too...not exactly a recipe for success.

The problem with Afghanistan is not only bogus poltics from the puppets in KBL, but it's also ISAF...nobody communicates to eachother. Out west is a great example...you have Albanians guarding Italians who receive medical care from Spaniards all on the same compound while bumping shoulders with Estonians...and this is the closest trauma center US troops can use...Nobody understands eachother!:( Forget about trying to coordinate a medevac or CAS :doh:

We need to be focusing efforts from Farra to Kandahar (everything between) and then along the entire eastern border...but until Pakistan stops harboring the terrorist it's a moot point unfortunatly.

Kind of funny...while everyone in Iraq is being drawn back into the major military bases from the smaller cities, etc.. Everyone in Afghanistan needs to be pushed out of all of the massive bases and into the villages.:)

My $0.02 from 3.5yrs in the 'Ghan.
 

AWP

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doorkicker, I love you in a nonhomosexual way. If you pass through Bagram, let me know.
 
7

7point62

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So I'm hearing now that a BDE from the 82nd is going to be sent to OEF, broken down into 12-14 man teams, paired up with Afghan counterparts to train, FID/COIN, etc., and I guess conduct combined ops.

Anybody heard what kind of indoc these paratroopers are getting? Is it comprehensive stuff taught by SF? Or is it quick and dirty language/culture basics and send em?

It sounds like a step in the right direction...but effective combined/COIN ops requires some degree of tactical sophistication and political finesse on the part of junior NCOs, and the more they learn going into it the better.

(BTW, DK, FF enlightened me sometime back on the ISAF League of Nations Clusterfuck, which you confirm. Too bad there's so much deadwood cluttering things up)
 
7

7point62

Guest
So I'm hearing now that a BDE from the 82nd is going to be sent to OEF, broken down into 12-14 man teams, paired up with Afghan counterparts to train, FID/COIN, etc., and I guess conduct combined ops.

Anybody heard what kind of indoc these paratroopers are getting? Is it comprehensive stuff taught by SF? Or is it quick and dirty language/culture basics and send em?

It sounds like a step in the right direction...but effective combined/COIN ops requires some degree of tactical sophistication and political finesse on the part of junior NCOs, and the more they learn going into it the better.

(BTW, DK, FF enlightened me sometime back on the ISAF League of Nations Clusterfuck, which you confirm. Too bad there's so much deadwood cluttering things up)
 

doorkicker

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So I'm hearing now that a BDE from the 82nd is going to be sent to OEF, broken down into 12-14 man teams, paired up with Afghan counterparts to train, FID/COIN, etc., and I guess conduct combined ops.

Anybody heard what kind of indoc these paratroopers are getting? Is it comprehensive stuff taught by SF? Or is it quick and dirty language/culture basics and send em?

It sounds like a step in the right direction...but effective combined/COIN ops requires some degree of tactical sophistication and political finesse on the part of junior NCOs, and the more they learn going into it the better.

(BTW, DK, FF enlightened me sometime back on the ISAF League of Nations Clusterfuck, which you confirm. Too bad there's so much deadwood cluttering things up)
Unfortunatly I wouldn't count on any sort of serious work-up for Division. The BDE will most likely go in and assume whatever PMT/ETT missions are currently in place. :p

FID is not just about the mission...but it's about the people conducting the mission...PV2 Joe Snuffy in 82D could probably give a fuck less about earning the respect/learning the culture of the indigs he's working with. :confused:

Group will have their hands full in the South/East with a small showing in the West most likely. :)
 
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