Thursday, October 19, 2017

Afghan Army Unit Nearly Wiped Out

via NYTimes
 An Afghan Army unit in the south of the country was almost completely wiped out on Thursday, defense officials said, in an attack by the Taliban that used what is becoming one of the group’s deadliest tactics: packing vehicles captured from security forces with explosives and driving them into military and police compounds.

At least 43 soldiers were killed in the predawn attack, out of a unit of 60 based in Maywand District in Kandahar Province, the Afghan Defense Ministry said in a statement. Only two soldiers were found unhurt. Nine were wounded, and six were missing.
Story here. 

Small unit actions.  Counterinsurgency.  Global war on terrorism.  Generational war.  We're doing it all wrong.

You want to know the genesis of the fight in Afghanistan and Iraq?  We're having a rerun of Vietnam.

My theory of things goes like this.  Remember Amos?  He participated in writing the "revised" counterinsurgency manual.  When did he cut his teeth in Marine Squadrons?  Near the end of the Vietnam war.  What does every person that fought in that conflict say?  That we were winning but pulled out too soon.

What was the Marine Corps' prized "development" in the fight in Vietnam against an insurgency?  The Combined Action Program.  What are we doing on a global basis today?  A modernized Combined Action Program.

Our strategy is bad.  Our concept is broken. 

In short.  We need to rethink this thing.  If it didn't work for the first almost 20 years of war then it won't work for the next 20 years.  We're doing the same thing and expecting different results.

But back on task.

The current govt in Afghanistan is the former "Northern Army".  When Special Forces and CIA Covert Action Teams rode in on horseback and toppled the Taliban, we inserted the Northern Army into the govt to replace them.

The problem?

The NA has always been the weak horse in Afghanistan.  The reality is stark but obvious.  We teamed with a weak partner.  They will NEVER be able to stand on their own.  They will never form an effective govt and they will never be able to have a self sustaining military.

As things currently stand, we can't win in Afghanistan.  At least not as long as we're chasing hearts and minds instead of putting steel on target.

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