Sunday, August 23, 2015

RS HQs Advise and Assist Cells

ACC-SW with ANA 215th Corps G3
Photo by Lt. Sharon Mulholland
As the United States military drawdown continues in Afghanistan the ability to station military advisors at the Afghan National Army corps level has diminished. Two of the ANA corps are now "uncovered" by permanent advisors. Instead an Advise and Assist Cell (ACC) advises these two corps from afar via phone and email as well as by conducting periodic visits. Resolute Support Headquarters has provided us an overview of one such Advise and Assist Cell mission in a recent news release (August 16, 2015).

In late July 2015 the Resolute Support Advise and Assist Directorate deployed a small team to a remote region of Afghanistan (we used to call this RC Southwest where thousands of U.S. Marines, Brits, Danes, and others were stationed). The ACC's advising mission was interrupted by the 215th Corps responding to a district in Helmand province that was under attack. Now Zad district was the scene of heavy fighting. The ACC had the opportunity to see the 215th ANA Corps battle staff in action.

The head of the Advise and Assist Directorate (ADD) in Kabul, BG Paul Lebidine, is quoted in the news release as saying that the ANA knows how to fight and that they have courage; but that the ANA really needs advise in gaining long term sustainability - therefore RS HQs is concentrating advising efforts on the detailed processes necessary to run a large scale army. The ANA lost the battle for Now Zad district and as of mid-August the Taliban flag was flying over the district center.

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