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Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

It’s about time

Sonic Must Die:  Death to the Hedgehog!

GEN McChrystal has taken command in Afghanistan, and one of the first things he began to do is look at the way that troops are currently disposed and the planned dispositions of incoming “surge” troops around the country. Under the former commander, existing FOBs were being expanded to make room for the influx of new troops. This often had unintended but not completely unforeseen consequences. This was a continuation of the Big Box FOB behavior which has proven unsuccessful in the past.
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GEN McChrystal appears to be willing to challenge assumptions and question accepted patterns of behavior. Moving out of the hedgehogs and out into the villages and valleys to be close to the population would produce significantly different results than have been seen to this point.

UPDATE (Related):  A discussion on whether GPF (General Purpose Forces) should be attached to SOF in Afghanistan, or vice versa.   From Mongo’s Montreaux, in Iraq:

If, in our current COIN fights, SOF/GPF integration is so all-fired important, let’s turn the paradigm around: let’s attach infantry companies (commanded by captains) to SF companies (commanded by majors). Better yet, let’s attach infantry battalions to SF Groups and SEAL Teams. That would ensure that the forces are integrated. Of course, the infantry guys would be ruined forever (from thier commander’s point of view) because they’d learn to think for themselves, would prioritize mission accomplishment over placating the command, and would go to the gym and do PT in any clothes they wanted (the horror, the horror).

I can’t speak for ArmyBro, but based on discussions with him I think his thoughts would be inline with Boss Mongo’s.  Why screw with the effectiveness of SOF by putting them under command of Conventional Forces that are “regimented, hierarchical, and inflexible”?  ArmyBro’s team experienced one incident I think proves the point that commanders would stroke out if Conventional Forces were exposed to SOF.  The command flew in people specifically to, politely put, straighten out the ETT because they were *gasp* wearing ballcaps instead of boonie hats or soft caps on the COP, in addition to only shaving every second or third day 🙄 .  Never mind that the team’s only water supply was bottled, and their daily hygiene was provided via baby wipes.  Word is that incoming soldiers have been told to stay away from the team as they’ve “gone native.”  LOL   If commanders don’t want soldiers around a couple of harmless old (sorry ArmyBro) National Guard guys, they sure as heck won’t want them around SOF.

Frankly, I’m hoping General McChrystal’s strategy includes getting rid of the FOBBITS who’re more concerned with strictly implementing Army regulations regarding uniforms, reflective belts, and the like in a war zone.  Maybe then we’ll begin to be able to turn Afghanistan around.

(all via The Dawn Patrol)

1:02 pm EDT
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Polish troops managed to capture twenty-nine Taliban fighters and seize machine guns, mortars, explosives and equipment for setting land mines. They also destroyed antennas in Ghazni, southeast Afghanistan, which the Taliban used to communicate with supporters in Pakistan.

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“The operation was a huge success,” said Dariusz Kacperczyk, spokesman for the Polish Operational Command. Polish soldiers who participated in the offensive are euphoric. “We finally started fighting. No longer do we just defend ourselves, but attack the enemy,” say the soldiers.

Way to go guys! Keep it up.

12:37 pm EDT

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I was conducting my usual news search this evening when I ran across this story not long after it was posted by The New York Times.  I couldn’t believe it.  This is wrong.  Just plain wrong.

U.S. Captain Hears Pleas for Afghan Detainee
New York Times
By RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
Published: May 24, 2009

GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Capt. Kirk Black, who trains the Afghan police in this impoverished province, developed a practiced skepticism about claims of innocence during a decade as a Baltimore police officer.

But last January, when relatives of an Afghan imprisoned at the Bagram military detention center begged him to look into the case, he agreed to listen. Eventually he became convinced that the detention was a case of mistaken identity and put the family in touch with a lawyer.

Soon, Captain Black was facing a potential legal battle of his own. One of his senior commanders ordered him not to discuss the case, and the military sent an officer to investigate him. He retained military defense counsel.

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In March, Captain Black said, he was ordered by a commander several rungs above him to “toe the party line” and not discuss Mr. Khan’s guilt or innocence. He was also ordered not to allow two journalists who visited his base to accompany him on routine trips to Waghez.

A few days later, as part of an official military investigation, a more senior officer unexpectedly arrived at Captain Black’s base to question him about conversations with Mr. Khan’s family and with this reporter. The investigating officer also sought a sworn statement from this reporter, who declined.

A military spokesman in Kabul did not respond to questions about why the decision was made to investigate the captain — or whether he would be punished.

WTH?  Investigate him for what? Trying to help Afghans? Isn’t that his job?   Incidents like this, and the Haditha Marines, and CPT Roger Hill and 1SG Tommy Scott, and so many others make my blood boil.

I also discovered Michael Yon linked to the story with, Injustice and Captain Black.  He thinks there’s something to the story.

1:33 am EDT

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Vampire 06 at Afghanistan Shrugged is a Team Chief for an Embedded Training Team with the Afghan National Army.  His latest post, What Price Victory for an Afghan ETT?, will give you an inside look at a little piece of COIN (Counterinsurgency).   While you’re there, be sure to read I Shoot You Because I Care! (Heh.  Loved that one!), as well as ETT: Mutt Soldiers.  Take some time to read his prior posts.  Heck, just bookmark the blog.  Go back later and read more, and stay up to date with his new posts.  You won’t be sorry.  You’ll get some real insight into what ArmyBro and the rest of our ETTs do over there.

2:42 pm EST

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“We are trying to help people anyway we can,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Magnum, 3rd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division command sergeant major. “Whether we’re mentoring the ANA or giving them aid, it is part of being an American. It is what we do; we help people.”

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“It defies belief of what they don’t have,” said Army Col. Kevin Hulett, ARCAC logistics mentor with the Illinois National Guard. “There are kids around our FOB with no shoes, no socks in two or three inches of snow sticking their hands through concertina wire and grates saying, ‘gimme something, gimme chocolate.’ They have less than the homeless people back at home.”

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Air Force Staff Sgt. Candance Benson, Joint Operations non-commissioned officer, Air Force Staff Sgt. Marjorie Moore, Joint Intelligence Operations Center NCO, and Tech Sgt. Ramona Boulware, Logistics NCO, fill humanitarian assistance bags. Volunteers filled bags with a variety of foods, schools supplies, clothes, and toys.
Photo by Pfc. Derek Kuhn

Full story at DVIDS.

1:24 pm EST

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The Army’s new winter clothing set, Gen III ECWCS, actually works.   (Not that I didn’t believe you, ArmyBro; I just have a thing about you getting cold.  🙂 )

Itch Free In The Mountains of Afghanistan.

The new wardrobe handles temperatures from minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit to above freezing (45 degrees Fahrenheit, or -45 to 7 degrees Celsius).

(via The Dawn Patrol)

11:40 am EST

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In Rollin’ in Hash, Michael Yon posts a photo-essay he received from one of our soldiers in Afghanistan.   The complete photo-essay is a pdf download.  It’s rather long, but worth your time.  You may find the commentary regarding IEDs and their aftermath somewhat distressing, but the photos are not graphic.  Overall, it’s interesting and informative.  I found this particular photo and commentary to be of great interest.

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1:22 pm EST

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