Showing posts with label Commando-Kandaks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commando-Kandaks. Show all posts

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Afghan Security News

News about Afghan SOF

"Clear, Hold, and Build?" The Afghan army - using its Commandos - has the "Clear" part of counterinsurgency down pretty good. It is the "Hold" and "Build" part that historically the ANDSF do not do well. Read an example of this weak area in "Northern offensives conducted by Afghan Army achieve impermanent gains"FDD's Long War Journal, January 31, 2018.

Afghan Commandos. Marty Skovlund Jr, a writer for Task & Purpose, recently visited Camp Commando (just outside of Kabul) where the Afghan Commandos are trained. He provides us with an excellent article describing the Commandos training, mission, and motivation. Read "With The Taliban On The Offensive, The Future Of Afghanistan May Depend On This Homegrown Commando Force", January 29, 2018.

New Afghan SOF Unit - Cobra Strike Kandak. In the effort to increase the size of Afghan Special Security Forces (ASSF) the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) has established a new school and unit. Learn more about the Cobra Strike Maneuver Course and the Cobra Strike Kandaks in "Afghan Special Operations build momentum with Cobra Strike Maneuver Course"DVIDS, February, 3, 2018.

Security Events and Incidents

"A Bloody Start to 2018". Why has there been an uptick in violence in Afghanistan - especially in Kabul? Some observers believe that it is the Taliban's response to President Trumps new strategy in South Asia, Trump's statements and actions against Pakistan, and the winter offensive conducted by the ANDSF (along with U.S. bombing). Read "Taliban attacks cast doubt on US' Afghan Strategy"Deutsche Welle, January 29, 2018.

Military University Attacked. On Sunday, January 28th two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at the gate of the Marshal Fahim Military University in Kabul. Two other attackers were killed in the fight and one attacker was captured by the ANDSF. The attack was the fourth major assault in a surge of violence in just over a week . . . and the fighting season has yet to begin. both the Taliban and the Islamic State - Khorsan Province appear to be increasing their attacks in Kabul.  "Eleven Afghan soldiers killed in latest attack in Kabul"Reuters, January 28, 2018.

More on Kabul Bombing. The recent bombing on Saturday, January 27th by the Taliban using an ambulance has resulted in 103 deaths and 235 wounded. It appears the emergency vehicle was waved through one checkpoint but then was stopped at a second checkpoint - when it detonated.

Some Good News? Evidently all is not all 'doom and gloom' in Afghanistan. Not if you read one of Resolute Support's recent press releases - "Afghan forces apply pressure to insurgents with renewed resolve"RS HQ, February 1, 2018. While RS HQs acknowledges that there have been some significant attacks in Kabul; it provides examples of how the ANDSF (especially SOF) are making headway. And there is this statement by Gen Nicholson (RS Cdr):
Our mission is boosting troop numbers, which really means that our Train, Advise and Assist Mission will go even deeper inside the schooling and education system, and with the forces on the battlefield.
 Analysis and Commentary on Security Situation in Afghanistan

Trends in Afghan Security. The folks at the Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN) have provided us with a detailed analysis of how security is trending in Afghanistan over the past several years. The news is not good. The writer, Thomas Ruttig - a man with extensive time in Afghanistan, looks at five major indicators of security in 2017 and compares it to data from earlier years. He finds that the Afghan War has become more violent and widespread in 2017. Read his very detailed analysis in "More Violent, More Widespread: Trends in Afghan Security in 2017", AAN, January 29, 2018.

Options for Success Limited. According to Bennett Seftel, director of analysis at The Cipher Brief, options for the Afghan conflict are not good. See "Afghanistan Quagmire Leaves U.S. With No Good Options", February 1, 2018.

Battle for Kabul and Beyond? The recent spate of terrorist attacks in Kabul highlight what may be a coming bloody year in Afghanistan. Read an analysis of the security situation in Afghanistan by Nafisa Hoodbhoy in "Analysts: Battle for Kabul Has Begun"Voice of America, January 28, 2018.

Info Withheld in SIGAR Report. The Pentagon and Resolute Support HQs has removed information previously published in the unclassified Quarterly Report to Congress. The January 2018 has little information about the Taliban's ability to 'control or contest' districts in Afghanistan. Previous reports always contained this info. Read "Watchdog: Pentagon blocks information on insurgent dominance in Afghanistan"Stars and Stripes, January 30, 2018.

Taliban Gaining Strength? Recent DoD and SIGAR reports along with analysis from outside media outlets and think tanks indicate that the Taliban certainly are not using . . . and depending on the metrics used . . . could possibly be tilting the 'stalemate' to the insurgency's favor. Read "The Taliban is gaining strength and territory in Afghanistan", NBC News, January 30, 2018.

Afghan Security Institutions (ASI) and ANDSF

Retiring the 'Old Generals'. There are a lot of Afghan generals on the payroll; many of whom don't have a real job. Even worse is that some of those that do show up for work are corrupt and inept. One of the key elements of professionalizing the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces that Resolute Support has encouraged the Afghans to adopt is changing out the senior leadership. But there are those who oppose this approach (of course). (Tolo News, Jan 29, 2018).

Spies Within ANDSF? Are there informers who report to insurgents currently working within the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Defense? MININT Wais Ahmad Barmak believes that is the case. Read "Insurgents Have Spies Among Security Forces, Barmak Says"Tolo News, January 28, 2018.

Peace Talks?

Talking to the Taliban? Not so Much. One of the aims of the U.S. government is to use all means available (military, diplomacy, etc.) to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table for a political settlement. On Monday, January 29th this was all put aside by President Trump when he said "I don't see any talking taking place . . ." during a televised meeting at the White House. The remarks were 'off the cuff' and probably reflected his thoughts after several recent bombings by insurgents in Kabul that killed a lot of innocent people.


Drone Contract. AAI Corporation has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to provide UAV support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Read "AAI Corp. to provide intelligence services in Afghanistan",, January 29, 2018.

Facts and Figures. Statistics can be shaped into many different forms to help convey a message or sway the conversation. The Afghan conflict is certainly a war with many different points of view - many that use data points to present their respective perspectives. Scott Peterson writes on this in "Afghanistan by the numbers: inside the fight over facts", February 2, 2018.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mobile Strike Kandak (MSK) of ANASOC

The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) intends to create seven additional Mobile Strike Kandaks (MSK) in the next four years. Camp Morehead, home of the Afghan Commando School, is really pushing the students through the Commando Course. It makes you wonder if SOF Truth #2 is being observed. A total of 1,056 Afghan soldiers graduated from the 21st Commando Qualification course on December 6, 2017. The majority of the CDOQC class were previously assigned to the same conventional Afghan National Army battalion (kandak). 650 of the recent graduates will go on to attend the Cobra Strike Mobility Course at Pul-e-Charkhi in early January. The first Commando MSK will graduate from the course in late April 2018 in time for the spring offensive against the Taliban. The transformation of traditional ANA kandaks into Commando MSKs will provide the regionally-aligned Special Operations Brigades an operational reach to pursue insurgents across rugged terrain in all weather conditions. Info from "Game-changing Commando class graduates", DVIDS, December 6, 2017.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

ANA Commandos

The Afghan National Army (ANA) has some elite units that are able to conduct very complex operations against the insurgents. These units are the Afghan National Army Commandos and the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF). Sgt. Maj. Faiz Mohammed Wafa is the top enlisted man of the Afghan Commandos. He has been fighting the Taliban since he was twelve years old when he joined the Northern Alliance. Now he is at the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) at Camp Commando (formerly Camp Morehead) near Kabul. Read more about the intense training an Afghan Commando undergoes and about Sgt. Maj. Wafa in "With the U.S. in the Background, Afghan Commandos Step it Up", National Public Radio (NPR), April 27, 2015.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Badakhshan Offensive

The Taliban scored some initial successes in the opening rounds of the 2015 fighting season in Badakhshan where it overran some army and police posts. Now the Afghan military is planning some operations to try and reverse those gains. Most of the fighting will be done by units of the 209th Corps based in Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh province. The corps hqs is there but its three brigades are spread out across northern Afghanistan. One of those brigades has responsibility for Badakhshan province and several other nearby provinces. Those troops will likely be augmented by a Special Operations Kandak of Afghan National Army Commandos. In addition, one or two special police units may find its way from Kabul to the conflict area. Read more in "Afghan military prepares for major counterinsurgency operation in north"Stars and Stripes, April 14, 2015.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Video - Afghan Commandos

This short 3 minute long video by NATO Channel (posted Feb 6, 2015) provides a glimpse of what it takes to be a member of the Afghan Commandos. There are currently nine Commando Kandaks with plans for an additional one (maybe?).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Afghan Commandos Are Ready

The U.S. Army Special Forces has been working with the Afghan Commando Kandaks for a number of years; ever since the first Commando Kandak was established in 2007. There are currently nine Commando Kandaks with plans for establishing a 10th. The Commando Kandaks have become more capable every year and are currently able to operate independently of advisors - although advisors are still present. With the increasing capability of the kandaks U.S. Army Special Forces have been able to draw down their forces in Afghanistan. As of December 2014 there will be only one battalion-sized U.S. Special Operations Task Force. There will be, however, some specialized units remaining to conduct counter-terrorist missions as well as numerous Special Operations Advisor elements to work with the higher level staff elements of the ANA at ministry and institutional level. Read more in "With U.S. leaving, elite Afghan commandos take up mission", Fayetteville Observer, December 15, 2014.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

7th Special Operations Kandak - Helmand Province

The United States Marines and British troops have departed Camp Leatherneck and Camp Bastion. However, the Afghan National Army will remain in Helmand province. One of the best ANA units that will continue to operate in the area is the 7th Special Operations Kandak located at Camp Shorabak. The commando battalion has been operating in Helmand for about five years. They serve as a quick-reaction force as well as perform night operations targeting insurgents and high-level criminals. The kandak suffers from a lack of consistent rotary wing support - which decreases their ability to conduct surprise raids and to MEDEVAC their wounded. Much of the commando's fight is in Sangin district - whose security affects the regions around Kajaki and Musa Qala. Enlisted commandos receive the equivalent of $300 US dollars a month. (This post is a condensation of a news story - "Afghan commandos respond to call of duty"Khaama Press, November 14, 2014).

Friday, February 28, 2014

Video - Commandos of the ANA

The Afghan National Army (ANA), like every other army in the world, has some very specialized elite units that conduct special operations. These specialized warriors are found in the Special Operations Kandaks of the ANA. The selection to become a Commando in the ANA is ten days long. If the Soldier is selected he then attends a twelve week long Commando training course. Learn more about ANA Commando training in this short video entitled "The Commandos - Special Forces Unit of the Afghan National Army", NATO TV, February 6, 2014.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Afghan Commandos Train with Afghan Helicopters

Afghan National Army commandos from the 8th Special Operations Kandak conducted tactical training with Afghan National Security forces helicopter aircrews in Pul-e-Alam district of Logar province in Afghanistan. The training was designed to sharpen skills needed while using Afghan helicopters. Tactics rehearsed included getting on and off the helicopters, providing security at helicopter landing zones, and employing helicopters to move from one location to another. Read more in "Afghan commandos, aviators perfect battlefield helicopter capability", DVIDS, February 2, 2014. (Photo by Bill Mesta, CJSOTF-A, January 20, 2014)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Slovakia's 5th Special Forces Regiment in Afghanistan

Slovakia has been a firm ally of the ISAF forces in Afghanistan. The country recently sent more advisors in January 2014 to continue the advisory mission. A contingent from the Slovak 5th Special Forces Regiment arrived to work on Camp Moorehead near Kabul, Afghanistan. The Slovakian soldiers are part of Commando - Special Operations Advisory Group where they will train and advise Afghan special operations soldiers. The regiment is based in Zilina, Slovakia and is directly attached to the Slovak Armed Forces General Staff. It has a strength of 400 personnel (a far fewer number are deployed to Camp Moorehead). The unit regularly train with the 10th Special Forces Group (with a forward battalion located in Stuttgart, Germany). (Photo by MSG Michael Carden, CJSOTF-A; photo of newly arrived Slovak special operations advisors at Camp Moorehead).

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Afghan Commando Training

Some Afghan National Army units are better than others. This is true of almost all armies; there are the general "run of the mill' units and then there are the "special operators". The "special" units have a stricter selection criteria, more physical demands, and a higher expectation of intelligence (or education - in Afghanistan this means literacy). In the Afghan National Army you will find the better units with the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC). There are two special operations brigades and nine special operations kandaks (battalions). The commandos and the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF) undergo intense training at Camp Moorehead and other locations in Afghanistan before assignment to one of the nine special operations kandaks.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Jalrez District Wardak Province Insider Attack Attack Update - Fatalities Identified

More details have emerged on the recent insider attack by a suspected member of the Afghan Local Police that killed two U.S. servicemen and several members of the Afghan National Security Force in Jalrez district, Wardak province, Afghanistan. The Department of Defense has released names of the two U.S. fatalities in the attack - CPT Andrew Pedersen-Keel and SSG Rex Schad. See "DoD Identifies Army Casualties", DoD News, March 13, 2013. USASOC has also released a press release on the death of CPT Pedersen-Keel - a Special Forces detachment commander. In a separate press release the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) stated that Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) dispatched elements of the 6th Special Operations Kandak (SOK) to the Jalrez district immediately after the incident to help secure the district.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Some Afghan Army Units Provide Hope for the Future

Commandos from 3rd Company, 7th Special Forces Kandak listen
to OPORD briefing in Washer district, Helmand province.
(photo by SGT Ben Tuck)
If there is a glimmer of hope associated with the performance of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) as ISAF withdraws from Afghanistan it resides in the highly-trained Afghan Special Operations forces. Among these forces the two formations that stand out the most are the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF) and the Afghan Army Commandos. Both Afghan units have been formed, trained, and advised by the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) headquartered at Bagram Air Field and with special operations teams of SEALs, Special Forces, and Marines scattered at COPs and FOBs throughout Afghanistan.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Afghan Air Force - 379th Rotary Wing Squadron Now Operational

The Afghan Air Force is finally getting there - sort of. Plagued with a late start, incompetence, corruption, poor leadership, drug smuggling scandals, barely literate airmen, use of aircraft to move opium and VIPs instead of wounded Soldiers and much needed supplies, failed aircraft maintenance programs - the Afghan Air Force has been the laughing stock of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). So it is good to see some good news once in a while that showcases the Afghan air capability. In this case it is the Afghan Air Force's 379th Rotary Wing Squadron. It is working on operations with the Afghan Army Commandos. Read more in "Afghan air force conducts air assault with Afghan special ops", USAF, March 7, 2013.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Recruiting Continues for Afghan Local Police (ALP) Program in Afghanistan

Members of the Combined Joint Special Operations Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) and their Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts (typically the ANA Special Forces and ANA Commandos) are continuing their efforts to expand the Afghan Local Police (ALP) program into new villages and communities. The photo seen here shows members of U.S. special operations and the 8th Commando Kandak in a village in Zabul discussing the ALP program with villagers. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Jacob Dillon - CJSOTF-A Media Operations Center).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Afghan COIN Instructors Provide Training in Counterinsurgency to Other Afghan Units

An instructor with the 8th Commando
Kandak provides range commands
during training. (U.S. Navy Photo
by MCS 2nd Class Jacob Dillon)
In the process of transition to Afghans taking the lead in planning operations and doing the bulk of the fighting it is important to yield training duties to the Afghans as well. At the Counterinsurgency Training Center this path is now traveled.  A recent news release by the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTM-A) we see an example of this "training transition".  See "205th Afghan National Army Corps Receives COIN training from Afghan Instructors", NTM-A, February 12, 2012.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

USSF and 6th Commando Kandak Conduct Operations in Wardak Province

The 1st Company of the 6th Commando Kandak, U.S. Special Forces, and other units conducted an operation in Wardak Province in Afghanistan.  The intent of the operation was to clear the village of insurgent forces and return peace and stability to the area.  Read more in "ANA Commandos, USSF complete step towards peace in Perong Valley", CJSOTF-A Media Operations Center, February 18, 2011.

Monday, February 14, 2011

3rd Commando Kandak and USSF Conduct Operation in Shah Wali Kot District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and coalition forces set out to provide security and assist the local population during a clearing operation in a remote village in Shah Wali Kot District, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Feb. 8, 2011.

District Chief of Police Bacha Khan and his policemen, Afghan Commandos from 2nd Company, 3rd Commando Kandak, along with U.S. service members from Special Operations Task Force – South, searched the village throughout the day and detained 20 suspected insurgents.

Also found were 80 pounds of homemade explosives and various improvised explosive device making materials.

Leading a squad during the operation was Afghan Commando Sgt. Hafiz Rahman, a 28-year-old who has been in the Afghan National Army for seven years. He said this operation has shown him progress.

“The people are respecting us,” Rahman said. “They ask us if we want tea, or ‘do we want bread?’ They are thankful for the security.”

Children during the operation brought Commandos blankets in the evening, and offered them food throughout the day.

“Afghans are tired of the Taliban,” Rahman said. “We just want to live in peace.”

The operation took place without any civilian casualties, or any property damage. No shots were fired during the detention of the suspects.
Source:  "Afghan Police, Commandos, US Special Forces clear northern Kandahar", DVIDS, February 11, 2011.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

ANA Commandos and Special Forces Conduct Operation in Tangi Valley of Afghanistan

"CAMP MOREHEAD, Afghanistan— A force of more than 100 Afghan National Army Special Forces, Commandos, U.S. Army Special Forces, and soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division recently completed a two-day joint operation in the Tangi Valley of Eastern Afghanistan.

The goals were to uproot and remove an insurgent force consisting of improvised explosive device builders, a logistics cell that supported anti-coalition activities, and a large fighting force, all of which had been present in the valley for some time."
Read the rest of the article in "ANA Commandos, US Forces, partner to complete mission", DVIDS, January 26, 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

3rd Commando Kandak - A Success Story of the ANA

The Afghan Commando Kandaks are the elite units of the Afghan National Army (ANA).  Trained by U.S. Army Special Forces - these units are the tip of the spear for the ANA.  Read about the 3rd Commando Kandak in the following story. 

"Commando Squad Leaders Separated by Age, United by Country", ISAF, December 25, 2010.