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Old 04-13-2013   #121
Bill Moore
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Default One transition challenge

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/13/wo...ref=world&_r=0

Taliban Attack Highly Regarded Afghan Army Unit

Quote:
According to Afghan security officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the nature of the Taliban victory, the 13 soldiers constituted the entire complement at the checkpost. One police official said that a force of 200 Taliban fighters had opened fire with heavy weapons and finally set the post on fire; most of the deaths were from the flames.

It was one of the bloody insurgent attacks in the current spring offensive that have helped drive the rate of government fatalities to the highest level of the war. Afghan soldiers and police officers are dying at more than double the rate of a year ago, according to military officials.
One of my nagging concerns with the VSO program, Afghanistan Army, etc. is that their successes have been enabled with our fire support and our mobility assets. I assume the claim of 200 Taliban fighter is greatly exaggerated (at least I hope it is), but none the less if the Taliban can mass 40-50 fighters to attack these outposts they'll likely be effective if ASF or ISAF can rapidly provide fire support or quickly deploy reinforcements to the unit in trouble. That gets to another point, how could is their communications architecture to call for help?

Once we downsize and hand over the fighting to the Afghans I suspect we'll many of the VSO successes get rolled back and smaller distributed Afghan security force check points get pulled back into larger fire bases if they're unable to support them adequately. Seems like we have seen this picture before somewhere, maybe several somewheres.
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Old 04-13-2013   #122
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Massing that many fighters against an important target is not unprecedented. Our AUP det had a HF unit with a jury-rigged field expedient antenna, but couldn't use GSM tech because there were zero cell towers in the area. The district Governor had a sat phone, but that was the lone device.

Expect to hear much more of the same as we seek a decent interval.

Last edited by jcustis; 04-13-2013 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 05-15-2013   #123
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Default Afghan ANA SF: assessment

A NYT report, after being embedded with an Afghan Commando unit:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/15/wo...it_ee_20130515

The two Taliban attacks within Kabul in 2012 were well covered on SWC, so it is interesting this US SF trainer's comment:
Quote:
The Afghan Army hadnít performed that well in two previous tasks....Both counterattacks had to be heavily mentored. It came out O.K. in the end ó but only after a lot of prompting from our side.
Now if this the rating given to an elite unit one wonders how basic kandaks fare:
Quote:
Although the unit based here is considered the most proficient in the country, allied officials said that it conducted 85 percent of its missions unilaterally, but still required coalition support for the other 15 percent.
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Old 05-17-2013   #124
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Default ANSF attrition rate just over a third per year

As the alliance strategy for drawing down in Afghanistan depends on the ANSF "standing up" finding the attrition rate is over a third is not good news:http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/01...f-352000-goal/

A UK newspaper report, which I missed in March 2013, based on a British assessment of the ANSF:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-8555238.html

Hat tip to this subject comes from a blogger's analysis 'What Is the Attrition Rate for Afghan Special Operations Forces?':http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/16...ations-forces/

Quote:
Afghan Special Force size cites merely the authorized number of commandos, not the actual number that were assigned at the time, which, as of late November, 2012, was only 83% of the authorized level.

Now note that the Defense Department stated that 621 new commandos were trained from April through September of 2012. Yet, if we look at the SIGAR data, actual assigned force level dropped from 10,617 to 10,193 in the closest comparable time period (May through September of 2012). Taken together, those numbers suggest that over 1000 personnel disappeared from the ranks during this time period. If we are generous and take this loss of 1000 as representing how many are lost in six months instead of five, we still see an overall loss of 2000 commandos per year. For a force size of just over 10,000, that is an attrition rate of almost 20% a year.
A 20% annual attrition rate in the elite Afghan units, who are reported to be far more reliable, motivated and trained, makes me wonder from afar what the main ANSF attrition rate is.
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Old 05-18-2013   #125
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I would not surprised if desertion (aka "vacation") rates exploded once it sunks in that yeah, when we said we were leaving, we meant it.
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Old 06-27-2013   #126
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Default ANSF Slimming down by attrition

From a UK government report, which was spotted today via Twitter and within is an indicator of attrition rates on Table Two: ANSF Attrition Rates and I have only shown the Actual Rate:
Quote:
ANA: 2.5%
AAF: 0.9%
ANP: 1.5%
Uniformed Police 1.4%
Border Police 1.8%
ANCOP 1.5%
Others may find it helpful:https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...ess_Report.pdf
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Old 07-02-2013   #127
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Default ANP losses in June 2013

On the separate ANP thread IIRC there are posts on the casualty rate.

Today FP has:
Quote:
...the Afghan interior ministry announced that 299 police officers were killed and 618 were wounded there in June, the month local security forces officially took the lead on securing the country.
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Old 07-03-2013   #128
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Attrition rates among the ANA are more than anything else an indicator that Afghans in general do not agree with the security construct the West has designed and forced upon them.

ISAF does not implement an operational design and plans designed and prepared by GIRoA and the ANA. We (ISAF) tell them what we think needs to be done, where we think it should be done,and how we think it should be done.

The need for an ANA and the plan for the size of the force and how that force is trained,organized and equipped was also forced upon GIRoA and the ANA by the West.

Bottom line is that the entire assessment of the security problem and current solution to the security problem in Afghanistan is a Western product, based on Western perspectives and designed and implemented in Western terms. Not surprisingly, this solution appears to be as inappropriate as it is unsustainable.

Once ISAF stands down and responsiblity (sovereignty?) finally is relinquished to GIRoA we can expect everything to quickly shrink down to what GIRoA believes is both necessary and affordable. If it is 1/10th of the ISAF perspective I will be very surprised.

But no one should be surprised by the attrition rates among the ANA. These young Afghans, more so than the US military supporting them, are also essentially being sent to a foreign land to fight a conflict they do not neccessarily believe is necessary, within an organization and manner largely inconsistent and incompatible with the context of their culture.

My standard quote on a COIN vs FID mindset below applies. We applied our COIN mindset with predictable results.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 07-08-2013   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Attrition rates among the ANA are more than anything else an indicator that Afghans in general do not agree with the security construct the West has designed and forced upon them.

ISAF does not implement an operational design and plans designed and prepared by GIRoA and the ANA. We (ISAF) tell them what we think needs to be done, where we think it should be done,and how we think it should be done.

The need for an ANA and the plan for the size of the force and how that force is trained,organized and equipped was also forced upon GIRoA and the ANA by the West.

Bottom line is that the entire assessment of the security problem and current solution to the security problem in Afghanistan is a Western product, based on Western perspectives and designed and implemented in Western terms. Not surprisingly, this solution appears to be as inappropriate as it is unsustainable.

Once ISAF stands down and responsiblity (sovereignty?) finally is relinquished to GIRoA we can expect everything to quickly shrink down to what GIRoA believes is both necessary and affordable. If it is 1/10th of the ISAF perspective I will be very surprised.

But no one should be surprised by the attrition rates among the ANA. These young Afghans, more so than the US military supporting them, are also essentially being sent to a foreign land to fight a conflict they do not neccessarily believe is necessary, within an organization and manner largely inconsistent and incompatible with the context of their culture.

My standard quote on a COIN vs FID mindset below applies. We applied our COIN mindset with predictable results.
Yep.

Funny thing is Kalev Sepp made a list of COIN best practices, and this was one of them:
Quote:
Indigenous regular armies, although fighting in their own country and more numerous than foreign forces, were subordinate to them. Conventional forces trained indigenous units in their image—with historically poor results.
From:http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/milreview/sepp.pdf

The ANA is a poor man's US Army and is completely ineffective at conventional tactics without ISAF forces around. I remember when our OMLT was pulled away and all of the sudden, the ANA needed the most basic, rudimentary supplies to last more than 6 hours away from their base. Now, that begs the question as to whether Afghanistan needs an large Army good at conventional tactics, or whether it needs a more effective paramilitary force with embeds.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-08-2013 at 08:27 AM. Reason: Fix quote
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Old 01-24-2014   #130
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Default ISAF on ANSF: tactics an army does not make. They have to be more than that.

I expect many SWC readers no longer watch Afghanistan closely, but thanks to FP's Situation Report for highlighting a press conference by Lt Gen Milley, of ISAF:
Quote:
Well, yeah, let me -- as I said, they did very well tactically. So we are transitioning right now from combat advising to functional advising. And what does that mean? So it's -- it's our assessment that the Afghan combat units, kandaks, battalions, companies, really do not need, with very few exceptions, tactical advisers with them on combat operations on a day in and day out basis.

We know that the Afghan battalions and companies can fight. We know they can shoot, move, communicate. They can conduct combined arms operations. We know that all of the maneuver brigades and -- all 24 of them -- are either partially capable, capable, or fully capable. We know that the corps can conduct, plan, coordinate, synchronize, and execute combined arms operation. That's important.

But tactics an army does not make. They have to be more than that. They have to be more than tactics. You have to have -- in order to sustain yourself over time, you have to have institutional systems that are in place where they can, in fact, replenish their forces, they can do personnel management, they can budgeting, they can do intelligence operations, infuse all types of intelligence, where they can train pilots and conduct rotary-wing and fixed-wing operations.

They've got to be able to sustain themselves logistically. They've got to be able to get spare parts and run entire distribution systems, so vehicles and weapons systems and other pieces of equipment don't break down. We've got to get their special operations capabilities, which are very good, but get them up to a very high level. You've got to develop a ministerial-level capability in order to do budgeting and planning and programming and those sorts of things.

...We want to improve their fires. We anticipate that it will be some years before they have a full-fledged capability for counterinsurgency fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, so we want them to have the capability to retain tactical overmatch through the use of indirect fires, through the use of mortars and artillery, and they made a lot of progress on that this past year.

...So right now, they're doing very well at like -- things like basic training and some small unit tactics. But we've got to also work with them to support and build a training management system that works over time without foreign help.

So the big ones -- aviation, ministerial development, special ops, intelligence, medical, C-IED [counter-improvised explosive device], fires -- those piece parts, those systems, those functions we want to shore up here in the next year or so. Some of them may take longer than a year. I think most of them -- medical, counter-IED, fires -- we'll be able to get that progressed pretty well during this year.
All remarks we've heard before, but the transcript has comments on the ANSF successes, with some official stats:http://www.defense.gov/Transcripts/T...nscriptID=5355
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