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-   -   Sanctuary (or perhaps just area) denial operations at the Afghanistan village level (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=9327)

jcustis 12-24-2009 10:59 PM

Sanctuary (or perhaps just area) denial operations at the Afghanistan village level
 
A couple of recent threads detailing the Stryker Bde in the Arghandab area (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8082) and how Taliban take over a village (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9205) have caused me to rethink my attitude towards denial of insurgent freedom of maneuver.

Villages and other populated areas can be considered sanctuaries for insurgents until counter-insurgent forces wrest control away. As such, I'm curious what you all think are relevant factors when trying to deny access to an area, in both kinetic and non-kinetic forms. I think these sort of ops can be both enemy- and population-centric in a seamless way, and they need not be a black or white proposition that has been sensationalized in recent media offerings.

ETA: I guess it would be better to frame my question through the use of a hypothetical scenario (I'll call it a tactical decision game). Let's say we are dealing with Pashtun Taliban who have been slipping into a series of villages along the Helmand River at night, to conduct an intimidation effort against local civilians in order to secure poppy cultivation and onward shipment. They receive passive and active support in the process, ranging from areas to rest, cache supplies and arms/ammunition. When the feel secure enough, they remain in these areas and move amongst the people as they go about their daily routine, holding Sharia Law courts to keep the locals in line. Their endstate is to control a network of villages through subversion first, but intimidation if required. This network of villages, while producing funds via opium cultivation and other taxes, is also intended to serve as a footprint from which attacks against coalition forces can be conducted.

Timbers 12-24-2009 11:15 PM

Sanctuary Denial
 
The chance to disrupt the disruptors at very low cost seems to me a great opportunity.

A strategy of pinning down insurgents through denial of movement and then eliminating them at a convenient time appears to offer an effective way to decimate TB at low risk to allied forces.

slapout9 12-24-2009 11:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89782)
A couple of recent threads detailing the Stryker Bde in the Arghandab area (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=8082) and how Taliban take over a village (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9205) have caused me to rethink my attitude towards denial of insurgent freedom of maneuver.

As such, I'm curious what you all think are relevant factors when trying to deny access to an area, in both kinetic and non-kinetic forms. I think these sort of ops can be both enemy- and population-centric in a seamless way.

How the Taliban take over a village is similar to how a gang takes over a neighborhood.

jcustis 12-25-2009 12:06 AM

Quote:

How the Taliban take over a village is similar to how a gang takes over a neighborhood.
Indeed, and they can get away with it through carefully applied intimidation, "night letters", and outright murder during visits in the night.

Are we unable to stop them simply because we often do not have a durable presence in those villages, like a beat cop should have durable presence in his assigned neighborhood? Or is it more due to a lack of a mechanism for said villagers to anonymously report when the insurgents are maneuvering through their land/homes?

Put another way, does law enforcement succeed primarily from presence or speed in response?

slapout9 12-25-2009 02:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89786)
Indeed, and they can get away with it through carefully applied intimidation, "night letters", and outright murder during visits in the night.

Are we unable to stop them simply because we often do not have a durable presence in those villages, like a beat cop should have durable presence in his assigned neighborhood? Or is it more due to a lack of a mechanism for said villagers to anonymously report when the insurgents are maneuvering through their land/homes?

Put another way, does law enforcement succeed primarily from presence or speed in response?


Not really either one. Mostly a combination of surveillance and informants. Beat cops in the old days would be able to prevent a lot of it, but those days are gone. But criminals also have extraordinary economic leverage to, they can simply buy peoples silence, especially in poor neighborhoods. More neighborhoods are taken over that way then many people realize but intimidation and force will certainly be used if need be.

Surferbeetle 12-25-2009 03:39 AM

Used it for a business plan...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89782)
ETA: I guess it would be better to frame my question through the use of a hypothetical scenario (I'll call it a tactical decision game). Let's say we are dealing with Pashtun Taliban who have slipping into a series of villages along the Helmand River at night to conduct an intimidation effort against local civilians in order to secure poppy cultivation and onward shipment. They receive passive and active support in the process, ranging from areas to rest, cache supplies and arms/ammunition. When the feel secure enough, they remain in these areas and move amongst the people as they go about their daily routine, holding Sharia Law courts to keep the locals in line. Their endstate is to control a network of villages through subversion first, but intimidation if required. This network of villages, while producing funds via opium cultivation and other taxes, is also intended to serve as a footprint from which attacks against coalition forces can be conducted.

Hi Jon,

Know that your CAG-guy would be working his assessments of Security, Economics ($/hectare), and Governance of their side and ours for you. Here is something from the civilian side of things that might be of use to you as well.

From Marketing Strategy 3rd Edition by O.C. Ferrell and Michael D. Hartline (man they are proud of that book...my wallet cried for days):

Internal Environment
  • Availability and Deployment of Human Resources
  • Age & Capacity of Equipment or Technology
  • Availability of financial resources
  • Power & Political Struggles within the Firm
  • Current Marketing Objectives & Performance

Customer Environment
  • Who are our current & potential customers?
  • What do customers do with our products?
  • Where do customers purchase our products?
  • When do customers purchase our products?
  • How & why do customers select our products?
  • Why do potential customers not select our products?

External Environment
  • Who are the Competition?
  • Economic growth & stability?
  • Political Trends?
  • Legal & Regulatory Issues?
  • Technological Advancements?
  • Sociocultural trends?

Merry Christmas

Steve

Bob's World 12-25-2009 04:23 AM

Under current widely-held definitions of "sanctuary" (ungoverned spaces) both the insurgent and the counterinsurgent are really simply battling for temporary access through the exertion of force.

Better, I think, to take a more wholistic view on what truly contributes to "sanctuary":

1. Legal status: A border often provides this; but so does a non-state status like AQ has; or a quasi-state status like LH has, that takes them outside the rule of law.

2. Support of a poorly governed populace. Only a small portion of a populace may take up arms, but the factors that give rise to insurgency (causation) affect regular, peaceful people as well. When a popualce feel little loyalty to its government, it is ripe "sanctuary" for an insurgent to hide within and draw support from. BL, sanctuary comes far more from poorly governend populaces than from un or undergovernend spaces.

3. Some favorable terrain, vegetation, cover, concealment. Can be mountains, a swamp, deep forest, or urban, or some mix. Open desert doesn't work well.

So, a mix of legal status, a supportive or neutral populace, and cover/concealment. That is sanctuary.

Operations in the Arghandab, or nearby areas like Shah Wali Kowt and Khakrez to the north; or Zari -Panjiway to the South, or within Kandahar City itself can in fact temporarily deny physical sanctuary so long as one occupys the ground (and is willing to stay and not return to ones FOB at night..); but this is not the denial of "Sanctuary."

True denial of sanctuary requries targeting legal status issues of the insurgent; addressing poor governance issues of the populace; and then designing capabilities to work within the type of cover and concealment being employed in the area of operaitons. All these are things that require time and a holistic approach to address.

MikeF 12-25-2009 04:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bob's World (Post 89804)
Operations in the Arghandab, or nearby areas like Shah Wali Kowt and Khakrez to the north; or Zari -Panjiway to the South, or within Kandahar City itself can in fact temporarily deny physical sanctuary so long as one occupys the ground (and is willing to stay and not return to ones FOB at night..); but this is not the denial of "Sanctuary."

True denial of sanctuary requries targeting legal status issues of the insurgent; addressing poor governance issues of the populace; and then designing capabilities to work within the type of cover and concealment being employed in the area of operaitons. All these are things that require time and a holistic approach to address.

Very well put- particularly the last two paragraphs. To expand, coersion can be used by the USG or HN to clear the sanctuary. Coersion can be a mixture of population control measures, increased application of violence, and limited/resitricted civil affairs operations. These measures can destroy the existing enemy or encourage them to flee the area. Force should be focused on destroying the existing political, military, and judicial structures of the enemy. This use of military force can best be defined as occupation.

However, without real political reform (conflict resolution between HN and populace(a form of marraige counseling), land reform, and sustainable political and security systems) then the clearing efforts could be for naught.

Merry Christmas all.

Mike

jcustis 12-25-2009 07:40 PM

Quote:

Who are the Competition?
Excellent item to consider!...I think I will frame any question about a way ahead for my unit's operations with a single starting point: Why is the enemy here and what does he want?

From my experience, not a lot of time has been spent kicking that can around enough to ascertain precisely what is going on. Even after RIP/TOA, a good bit of recce needs to happen in order to confirm ground truth, since all friendly ops need a solid starting point.

Surferbeetle 12-26-2009 12:26 AM

More non-kinetics
 
Quote:

Excellent item to consider!...I think I will frame any question about a way ahead for my unit's operations with a single starting point: Why is the enemy here and what does he want?
I like it.

If the staff have time perhaps they can diagram for you the business plans......of the orchard farmers, poppy farmers, fertilizer suppliers, small animal farmers, militia's, etc.? Supply chain or value chain analysis is very illuminating...and we have the muscle to help or harm at key points in the chains.

From the help standpoint, and from an armchair view, I wonder about the potential for some sort of small business development, training, co-op effort run and staffed by locals and perhaps assisting across the economics, governance, and security spectrum?

jcustis 12-26-2009 12:37 AM

Quote:

From the help standpoint, and from an armchair view, I wonder about the potential for some sort of small business development, training, co-op effort run and staffed by locals and perhaps assisting across the economics, governance, and security spectrum?
What's a realistic life cycle required for something like that to be effective, do you think? Seven months? Twelve? Fifteen? I like the idea, but there has to be a logical endstate, and it's always next to impossible to get there without being on the ground for the right duration to start, sustain, and transition those types of efforts at the right time.

I like short, big impact efforts the same as the next guy, but they always strike me as though we are just giving the guy fish.

Surferbeetle 12-26-2009 12:49 AM

Quote:

What's a realistic life cycle required for something like that to be effective, do you think? Seven months? Twelve? Fifteen? I like the idea, but there has to be a logical endstate, and it's always next to impossible to get there without being on the ground for the right duration to start, sustain, and transition those types of efforts at the right time.
During my last long trip to Iraq, we worked as specialty teams for a DIV. Some of my friends were able to analyze land locations, coordinate for permissions, and get a facility built for a business center. The follow-on folks were able to move things further with local staffing, equipment, etc. I just checked for their website...no longer up (as least I haven't found it yet) but it was up a year or two ago. There are 2008 you-tube videos for this business center.

The next question that has to be considered is what are the metrics to be and what's acceptable? Their way is not ours...

Locally provided grants and funding are also very interesting to think about. Are there nearby NGO's or IO's who want to work?

jcustis 12-26-2009 12:55 AM

Quote:

Under current widely-held definitions of "sanctuary" (ungoverned spaces) both the insurgent and the counterinsurgent are really simply battling for temporary access through the exertion of force.

Better, I think, to take a more wholistic view on what truly contributes to "sanctuary":
On this note, what do we call it then when an element like the Taliban are operating almost at will inside a district area, which is in turn inside a coalition AO? What better phrase could be used?

Surferbeetle 12-26-2009 01:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89844)
On this note, what do we call it then when an element like the Taliban are operating almost at will inside a district area, which is in turn inside a coalition AO? What better phrase could be used?

Sanctuary as presented is a western POV.

Suggested noun or phrase: emigrant, combat emigrant, or combat emigrants...as opposed to immigrant.

If I speak the language, know the culture, know the land, and can come and go as I wish...I live there...I am no short-term tourist, even if I don't plan to live there forever.

Having lived on the economy in a number of countries it's my observation that one eventually becomes part of the community at some level. Thus my comments regarding the need to understand the economics in order to understand the area.

Slap has a more holistic analytical method - the 4F's - Family, Friends, Finances, and who's Fooling with who. I believe the policing model is worth deeper examination in order to be successful in the COIN fight.

Finally, we might also consider the reports of Hezbollah troops intermarrying with locals (This headline from Lebanonwire: Hezbollah political manifesto asserts intermarriage between resistance and army to face Israeli aggressions ) in terms of permanence and commitment. Again, not our way, but a way...

Firn 12-26-2009 09:23 AM

One aspect that has been touched by some already is the importances to address the realm of polity, politics and polity in the villages, districts, provinces and regions to fulfill (our) overarching political purpose. We all know that Afghanistan is a mosaic composed of different ethnics, cultures, families, tribes, alliances, religions (or interpretations of), terrain, infrastructure.... and so on. The recent conflicts have reinforced the reliances on both the family, the village, the tribe and a coalition/warlord and the identity found through them.

To deny the Taliban it might be necessary to give the lower levels of governance (and of the coalition too) greater autonomy and power, in certain regions and villages even over the local security forces. Doing so might make - togheter with other policies - COIN their fight too. It is a risky way, but maybe less so than not taking it.


Firn

Bob's World 12-26-2009 10:21 AM

Two answers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89844)
On this note, what do we call it then when an element like the Taliban are operating almost at will inside a district area, which is in turn inside a coalition AO? What better phrase could be used?

First, all of Afghanistan is divided into Coalition AOs, so that fact in of itself has no impact on what regions of that country are possesed of the combinaiton of poorly governed (and or overtly coerced) populace, favorable cover and concealment, and also utilized by both nationalst insurgents and other non-state UW elements taking advantage of that legal status outside the law to operate there

Question, if one removes the insurgents and other non-state UW agents from a region, has one either "defeated" the insurgent there or "denied" the sanctuary? So long as you have an enduring and persistent presence, perhaps.

To truly deny the sancutary you must address the motivations of the popualace to provide support. Some of this is building the confidence that you will stay and not merely take what you yourself need from the populace, and then leave and abandon them to the certain retaliation of the insurgent when he flows back in behind you. Most of it though, is a combination of the commitment to stay and to address the elements of governance that are precieved as "poor" by that particular populace. Such commitment to ones populace will have a chance to truly deny the insurgents and his UW enablers such internal sanctuary within a state.

That is if the populace percieves that governance as legitimate (it can earn legitimacy through doing this);

If the popualce percieves it is respected by and can receive justice from this govenrance.

A governnace that treats a populace with disrespect or injustice, or that is not seen as legitmate will have a very hard time addressing issues of sanctuary within its borders.

BorderEnforcementAdvisor 12-26-2009 03:35 PM

Denial Operations / Interdiction
 
I am currently stationed in Iraq where I am advising the Iraq Department of Border Enforcement. Among my peers we have had numerous discussions in regards to denial/interdiction operations. Obviously we want to stop the flow of foreign fighters and outside influences into the country. One of the questions we posed was what; is our current doctrine in regards denial/interdiction operations. After much time researching this topic very little doctrine exists; David Galula states in his book, Counterinsurgency and Doctrine,
“Every country is divided for administrative and military purposes into provinces, counties, districts, zones, etc. The border areas are a permanent source of weakness for the counterinsurgent whatever his administrative structures, and his advantage is usually exploited by the insurgent, especially in the initial violent stages of the insurgency. By moving from one side of the border to the other, the insurgent is often able to escape pressure or, at least, to complicate operations for his opponent.”
The only doctrine I have been able to find is FM 31-55 Border Security and Anti-Infiltration Operations written in 1968. It is currently out of print and I ordered it through Amazon.com. Since then new doctrine has been written. But very little has been written on border and anti-infiltration operations. In the early 1980 the Low Intensity Conflict FM came out, I am not sure of its number. In 1986 Counter-Guerrilla Operations FM 90-8 dedicated about four paragraphs to the topic of securing the borders. FM s 3-24 and 3-24.2 discuss very little about border operations. They state the obvious that securing the borders is important. FM 3-07 Stability Operations makes reference to securing borers, but does not provide a guide to developing a plan to secure the borders. So the point of my post is where is the doctrine and why have we allowed ourselves to become so far behind in this topic.

jcustis 12-27-2009 12:19 AM

Good start to an important issue folks. Here is what I am hearing. Some material has indeed come from previous bits and pieces in other threads.
  • ENEMY ASSESSMENT
  • Determine why the insugent/narco-terrorist/thug is operating there, what he wants and/or needs.
  • Determine the avenues of approach that are used to gain access to these areas of operation, the choke points along them, and other key terrain along the route that can be of advantage to friendly forces.
  • Determine who's who in the zoo, both for and against you, and sitting on the fence.
  • Determine if the local populace is complicit in the insurgent's activities or in fact merely compliant due to the intimidation encountered.
  • Strive to understand why, in a culture that embraces honorable struggle and protecting things tribal and familial, the able-bodied males do not (or cannot) protect themselves, if threats against them and their families have an impact..
  • Look at the 4F's - Family, Friends, Finances, and who's Fooling with who.
  • Determine how local governance is viewed...is it legitimate? Is support provided to the insurgent a matter of poor governance or under-governance (thanks BW for this specific point, as it certainly means different things)?
  • Determine what IO the enemy is conducting in the village/area, and determine its effectiveness [*need a model to look at effectiveness of enemy IO]
  • Determine if the insurgent is using the economic fabric against you. Can you leverage off of the goings-on in the market?
  • When security forces enter the area, where are the insurgents likely to go? Do they even leave at all, or rather just melt into the background to watch and conduct counter-recce against you as friendly forces bumble about?
  • Although his actions do not necessarily follow a shape-clear-hold-build in precisely the same fashion as our operations, he is nonetheless conducting operations along a similar continuum. At what point are his operations...is he shaping through night letters but not yet invested in the village, or perhaps already attempting to clear through murder and intimidation of local officials, elders, or intelligentia? Is he transitioning between phases, and can that be exploited?
  • *The bullets above can form the backbone for an effective situational template which, while not traditional in terms of what we are taught in formal PME schools, has to be built nonetheless. The more daunting task is portraying the information and ensuring that the collections plan accounts for information gaps as part of a continual loop. The effort also has to account for collections that will confirm/deny the analysis so that it remains current and reduces the latency.

    FRIENDLY FORCES ASSESSMENT
  • Determine if force, applied by the coalition side, can destroy the existing political, military, and judicial structures of the enemy, and influence them to leave the area.
  • Determine if patrols and the siting of patrol bases are causing adverse disruption, considering the fabric and rhythm of the village(s) (thanks Infanteer for this relevant snippet). Are you a help or a hindrance?
  • Determine if the siting of patrol bases provides a permanence that visiting patrols do not provide, and facilitates true information collection from locals who feel safe enough to provide walk-in tips.
  • Is the area most influenced by the imam/mullah, or by the malik? How much does that matter, and is any one particular type of influence good, bad, or complementary? Would the the village be better served by having the malik as the dominant influence or would a religious leader do better? Which of the two could support your efforts the best? Although you may be able to influence one, the other, or both, are they the right targets you should be trying to influence in the first place?

Does a model exist for building sit temps in a 4th Gen/UW/Irregular Warfare environment?

MikeF 12-27-2009 12:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcustis (Post 89885)
Good start to an important issue folks. Here is what I am hearing. Some material has indeed come from previous bits and pieces in other threads.
  • Determine why the insugent/narco-terrorist/thug is operating there, what he wants and/or needs.
  • Determine who's who in the zoo, both for and against you, and sitting on the fence.
  • Determine if the local populace is complicit in the insurgent's activities or in fact merely compliant due to the intimidation encountered.
  • Strive to understand why, in a culture that embraces honorable struggle and protecting things tribal and familial, the able-bodied males do not (or cannot) protect themselves, if threats against them and their families have an impact..
  • Look at the 4F's - Family, Friends, Finances, and who's Fooling with who.
  • Determine how local governance is viewed...is it legitimate? Is support provided to the insurgent a matter of poor governance or under-governance (thanks BW for this specific point, as it certainly means different things)?
  • Determine if force, applied by the coalition side, can destroy the existing political, military, and judicial structures of the enemy, and influence them to leave the area.
  • Determine what IO the enemy is conducting in the village/area, and determine its effectiveness [need a model to look at effectiveness of enemy IO]
  • Determine how disruptive patrols and the siting of patrol bases are, considering the fabric and rhythm of the village(s) (thanks Infanteer for this relevant snippet). Are you a help or a hindrance?
  • Determine if the siting if patrol bases provides a permanence that visiting patrols does not provide.
  • Determine if the insurgent is using the economic fabric against you. Can you leverage off of the goings-on in the market?
  • Is the area most influenced by the imam/mullah, or by the malik? How much does that matter, and is any one influence good, bad, or complementary?

Very good start. Don't forget terrain and maneuverability. I'd also recommend:

-Determine enemy's avenues of approach (mounted/dismounted)
-Determine trafficability of routes (Stryker/MRAP)
-Determine/verify map reconnaisance (crossing points on rivers, LZs, etc)
-Determine/verify key terrain

And the big one-

-Determine if there is a sphere of influence OUTSIDE of this area that can achieve your desired goals without boots on the ground (ex. Sistani or Sadr). If so, can he be co-opted for mutual benefit?

jcustis 12-27-2009 01:17 AM

Quote:

-Determine if there is a sphere of influence OUTSIDE of this area that can achieve your desired goals without boots on the ground (ex. Sistani or Sadr). If so, can he be co-opted for mutual benefit?
That's a little big for the scale that I'm looking at right now, but I like the direction of atk.


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