Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

“Marinestan”

May 22, 2010

And people wonder why the Marine Corps is leery..?

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, retired three-star Army General Karl W. Eikenberry, reportedly made a comment about there being 41 nations serving in Afghanistan — and a 42nd composed of the Marine Corps. One unnamed Obama administration official was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “We have better operational coherence with virtually all of our NATO allies than we have with the U.S. Marine Corps.”

Some officials call the new Marine enclave in Nimruz Province “Marinestan” — as if, out of a Kipling or Conrad novel, the Marines have gone rogue to set up their own independent province of operations.

Yet once again, it would be wise not to tamper with the independence of the Marine Corps., given that its methods of training, deployment, fighting, counterinsurgency and conventional warfare usually pay off in the end.

Read the entire story HERE.

Warfighter 101: The Taliban lamentations

October 6, 2009

“Information, the first principle of warfare. Know thine enemy, but first you must know yourself.” Was that Sun Tzu? A later strategist? Who cares really, it is fundamental knowledge, and GWB blew it. The other day I started reading a rather long article. One that should be required reading for every Officer and NCO in our entire Armed Forces as well as the Commander in Chief.

In war, it is, and has been for some time a well understood tactic that winning the brain game can ensure a victory. Sometimes even without bloodshed, or minimized actual violence. Destroy the enemy’s will to fight; demoralize him, make him believe in his heart and soul that he cannot be victorious. Target any leaders that will spring up among them, and destroy them, utterly. To drive the point home. Let them hear the lamentations of not only their women, as Conan would say, but of their fellow warriors as well. Make them believe that even their God has forsaken them… Victory will be assured.

We, as in the allied forces were about to make history. The Taliban were on the ropes and a real win, by outsiders, had never before been done in Afghanistan.

But then, we took our eye off the target. It was as if we were at a Trap Shoot and shifted from singles to doubles without taking out the first clay first…

Doubt my words? Read this, in it’s entirety. Yes, it is a long read. Nothing of true value is ever easy though. This is however invaluable , if you are to understand the psychology of warfare. Of victory, and war-fighting.

The Taliban in their own words

Unconventional Warfare, winning hearts, minds, and…

January 12, 2009

Unconventional warfare comes in many flavors. But little blue pills? I read this in the Patriot Post, and just started laughing…

Talk about Sua Sponte!

With a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, U.S. intelligence officials have started looking for new ways to sway the hearts and minds of the various tribal chieftains who control large swaths of the country and whose assistance is needed to defeat the Taliban. U.S. operatives say that money or weapons are not necessarily the best choice. A variety of services or other items are used, too, including tools, medicinal treatment for family members, toys or school equipment for children, travel assistance, and, in a brilliant display of outside-the-box thinking, occasional pharmaceutical assistance for aging leaders whose spirit is willing but whose flesh, uh, can’t quite keep up. Enter Viagra, the famous little blue pill that has revolutionized “senior moments” and, now apparently, U.S. intelligence-gathering capabilities as well.

In a country where multiple wives are common, along with the implied but unspoken sexual prowess of tribal chieftains and associated tribal authority which that represents, Viagra is using medical technology in a way that the Taliban simply cannot match. Describing a recent encounter, a U.S. operative gave an Afghan chieftain four blue tablets, then returned a few days later to a grinning chief who gladly offered a treasure trove of information on nearby Taliban movements and supply routes, followed, naturally, by a request for more pills. Other operatives report that they are given free rein of controlled areas after making their delivery. As one operative said, “Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people — whether it’s building a school or handing out Viagra.” Indeed, “make love, not war” may be one of the more memorable catch phrases from the hedonistic, anti-war 1960s, but who would have thought that it could ever describe an effective new military tactic?

Profiles in Valor: 10 Silver Stars

December 12, 2008

What follows shows the general sentiments of all spec ops personnel, be they Airborne Special Forces as in this incident, Navy Seals, Air Force PJ’s or any of the other organizations that fall into those classifications.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. – Capt. Kyle Walton remembers pressing himself into the jagged stones that covered the cliff in northeast Afghanistan.

Machine gun rounds and sniper fire ricocheted off the rocks. Two rounds slammed into his helmet, smashing his head into the ground. Nearby, three of his U.S. Army Special Forces comrades were gravely wounded. One grenade or a well-aimed bullet, Walton thought, could etch April 6, 2008 on his gravestone.

Walton and his team from the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group had been sent to kill or capture terrorists from a rugged valley that had never been penetrated by U.S. forces — or, they had been told, the Soviets before them.

He peered over the side of the cliff to the dry river bed 60 feet below and considered his options. Could he roll the wounded men off and then jump to safety? Would they survive the fall?

By the end of the six-hour battle deep within the Shok Valley, Walton would bear witness to heroics that on Friday would earn his team 10 Silver Stars, the most awarded for a single battle since the start of the war.

Walton, a Special Forces team leader, and his men described the battle in an interview with The Associated Press last week. Most seem unimpressed they’ve earned the Army’s third-highest award for combat valor.

“This is the story about Americans fighting side-by-side with their Afghan counterparts refusing to quit,” said Walton, of Carmel, Ind. “What awards come in the aftermath are not important to me.”

The mission that sent three Special Forces teams and a company from the 201st Afghan Commando Battalion to the Shok Valley seemed imperiled from the outset.

Six massive CH-47 Chinook helicopters had deposited the men earlier that morning, banking through thick clouds as they entered the valley. The approaching U.S. soldiers watched enemy fighters racing to positions dug into the canyon walls and to sniper holes carved into stone houses perched at the top of the cliff.

Considered a sanctuary of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin terrorist group, the valley is far from any major American base.

It was impossible for the helicopters to land on the jagged rocks at the bottom of the valley. The Special Forces soldiers and commandos, each carrying more than 60 pounds of gear, dropped from 10 feet above the ground, landing among boulders or in a near-frozen stream.

With several Afghan commandos, Staff Sgt. John Walding and Staff Sgt. David Sanders led the way on a narrow path that zig-zagged up the cliff face to a nearby village where the terrorists were hiding.

Walton followed with two other soldiers and a 23-year-old Afghan interpreter who went by the name C.K., an orphan who dreamed of going to the United States.

Walding and Sanders were on the outskirts of the village when Staff Sgt. Luis Morales saw a group of armed men run along a nearby ridge. He fired. The surrounding mountains and buildings erupted in an ambush: The soldiers estimate that more than 200 fighters opened up with rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and AK-47s.

C.K. crumbled to the ground.

Walton and Spc. Michael Carter dove into a small cave. Staff Sgt. Dillon Behr couldn’t fit so the Rock Island, Ill., native dropped to one knee and started firing. An F-15 made a strafing run to push back the fighters, but it wasn’t enough.

Sanders radioed for close air support — an order that Walton had to verify because the enemy was so near that the same bombs could kill the Americans.

The nearest house exploded; the firing didn’t stop.

“Hit it again,” Sanders said.

For the rest of the battle, F-15 fighters and Apache helicopters attacked.

Behr was hit next — a sniper’s round passing through his leg. Morales knelt on Behr’s hip to stop the bleeding and kept firing until he, too, was hit in the leg and ankle.

Walton and Carter, a combat cameraman from Smithville, Texas, dragged the two wounded men to the cave. Gunfire had destroyed Carter’s camera so Walton put him to work treating Morales who, in turn, kept treating Behr.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer, a medic from Pullman, Wash., fought his way up the cliff to help.

“Heard some guys got hit up here,” he said as he reached the cave, pulling bandages and gear from his aid bag.

Walton told Walding and Sanders to abandon the assault and meet on the cliff. The Americans and Afghan commandos pulled back as the Air Force continued to pound the village.

Walding made it to the cliff when a bullet shattered his leg. He watched his foot and lower leg flop on the ground as Walton dragged him to the cliff edge. With every heartbeat, a stream of blood shot out of Walding’s wound. Rolling on his back, the Groesbeck, Texas, native, asked for a tourniquet and cranked down until the bleeding stopped.

The soldiers were trapped against the cliff. Walton was sure his men would be overrun. The narrow path was too exposed. He sent Sanders to find another way down. Sometimes free-climbing the rock face, the Huntsville, Ala., native found a steep path and made his way back up. Could the wounded make it out alive? Walton asked.

“Yes, they’ll survive,” Sanders said.

Down below, Staff Sgt. Seth E. Howard took his sniper rifle and started climbing with Staff Sgt. Matthew Williams.

At the top, Howard used C.K.’s lifeless body for cover and started to shoot. He fired repeatedly, killing as many as 20 of their attackers, his comrades say. The enemy gunfire slowed. The Air Force bombing continued, providing cover.

Morales was first down the cliff, clutching branches and rocks as he slid. Sanders, Carter and Williams went up to get Behr, then back up to rescue Walding. As Walton climbed down, a 2,000-pound bomb hit a nearby house. Another strike nearly blew Howard off the cliff.

Helicopters swooped in to pick up the 15 wounded American and Afghan soldiers, as well as the rest of the teams. Bullets pinged off the helicopters. One hit a pilot.

All the Americans survived.

Months later, Walding wants back on the team even though he lost a leg. Morales walks with a cane.

The raid, the soldiers say, proved there will be no safe haven in Afghanistan for terrorists. As for the medals, the soldiers see them as emblems of teamwork and brotherhood. Not valor.

“When you go to help your buddy, you’re not thinking, ‘I am going to get a Silver Star for this,'” Walding said. “If you were there, there would not be a second guess on why.”

SOURCE

Profiles of valor: U.S. Army Sgt. James Brasher

November 23, 2008

United States Army Sgt. 1st Class James Brasher was serving as platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, Company A, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment in December 2007. His company was part of Operation Mar Kararadad, a mission to clear the Taliban stronghold of Musa Qal’eh, Afghanistan. On the night of 7 December, the company flew by helicopter to a point just outside the city and occupied a hill overlooking it. At dawn, the company began taking enemy fire from a town at the bottom of the hill, so they moved to clear the town. At one point, Sgt. Brasher killed an attacking jihadi before he could injure or kill any U.S. soldiers, and Brasher also took out an enemy position with a fragmentation grenade.

Brasher then led his men against other enemy positions as they systematically cleared the town. Repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire, Brasher continued to lead the Americans in pursuit of retreating insurgents, killing several more. The Taliban consolidated behind a defensible compound, but Brasher kept fighting even after he was hit in the right forearm and bicep by an enemy round. In fact, the medics had to force him to take medical care. On 9 October 2008, Brasher was presented the Silver Star for “daring acts of intrepidity and gallantry in the face of a numerically superior and determined force,” according to the citation. “SFC Brasher’s fearless actions and dedication to mission accomplishment enabled Second Platoon to destroy over 20 well trained Taliban fighters. His quick decisions and aggressive stance against the enemy saved the lives of his men.”

Taliban resurgence?

July 21, 2008

On Sunday, 200 Taliban fighters attacked 45 American soldiers at a remote outpost in Afghanistan. The Taliban militants crossed the border from nearby Pakistan under cover of darkness, surprising the American troops, who had not yet completed the defenses of their new, makeshift outpost. But despite being outnumbered more than four to one, the valorous American force inflicted grievous losses on the Taliban, who were driven off after a four-hour firefight. Nine American soldiers were killed and at least 15 more were injured. While Leftmedia outlets like The New York Times are pointing to the incident as proof that we are losing in Afghanistan, we think it shows that our courageous soldiers are capable of winning against overwhelming odds, especially when they are given the right strategy and support.

To that end, the Pentagon has dispatched the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln to the Gulf of Oman, where it will provide air support for U.S. special forces. Democrat and Republican lawmakers have confirmed that the White House has authorized a plan to deploy commandos deep into Pakistan’s tribal areas, where al-Qa’ida and the Taliban have been operating freely. The decision comes after a tumultuous debate among President Bush’s staff. In light of Islamabad’s failure (and even unwillingness) to rein in the Islamic terrorists within its borders, we believe that President Bush’s decision to take more aggressive action inside Pakistan is the right one. As the improved situation in Iraq clearly shows, an insurgency can be defeated, but only when its havens are no longer safe.

source: Patriot Post

and a time for war…

October 21, 2007

One of the most troubled regions in the world is about to have yet another round of warfare. Will this suceed in pacifying the area? I seriously doubt that it will. After all, when has there been peace there in all of known history?

source: http://atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IJ19Df01.html

Pakistan plans all-out war on militants
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

An all-out battle for control of Pakistan’s restive North and South Waziristan is about to commence between the Pakistani military and the Taliban and al-Qaeda adherents who have made these tribal areas their own.

~snip~


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