Afghanistan: March 26, 2002

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: The Army special forces have been performing exceptionally well, but are getting hurt by a problem they had back in Vietnam. When a raid is planned to go after some Taliban or al Qaeda, they now have to check with the locals to avoid hitting friendlies. But this often results in someone tipping off any bad guys in the area and the special forces effort is wasted. In a few cases, the al Qaeda hung around long enough to give the special forces a hot reception. So, going back to the Vietnam experience for a solution, the special forces, discuss upcoming raids in more general terms, and often don't make the raid. Or they manage to not mention the actual village that is to be visited. Thus, as in Vietnam, the security problem is taken care of and the enemy is kept guessing (and fleeing into the hills to avoid a raid that never arrives.)

The Navy SEAL commandos are performing well, but they don't have the training special forces troops receive for working this closely with locals. SEALs are classic commando troops. Still, like the other commandos in Afghanistan, they have made themselves very useful. In fact, the marine commanders are so impressed with the special forces, that they are planning to lift the prohibition on marines who want to apply for the army special forces and Delta Force. 

International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan:

Approximately 5,000 personnel:

Force Headquarters Multinational, built around headquarters of the 3rd (UK) Division 
Brigade Headquarters Multinational, built around headquarters of the 16th Air Assault Brigade (UK) 

Two infantry battle groups 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (UK)
German-led battalion, including Dutch, Austrian and Danish troops

Other infantry units France, Italy, Turkey 
Reconnaissance squadron France 
Engineer group UK, Greece, Italy, Spain 
Explosive Ordnance DisposalDenmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, 
Medical UK, Germany, Portugal 
Logistics UK, Bulgaria, France, New Zealand, Norway, Spain 
Helicopter support Germany, Spain 
Military Police UK, Germany, Romania 
Other specialist troops Finland, Italy, Sweden 
Air transport support UK, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Portugal

Another British force, 1,700 Royal Marines, has begun arriving. These troops will not be peacekeepers, but combat troops working with the Americans and other foreign combat troops (mostly commandos) in Afghanistan. 


 

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