Showing posts with label Logar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Logar. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fighting Season Not Quite Over

The Taliban have continued their attacks this winter. Usually attacks go down significantly when the cold weather and snow approaches. But last year and again this year the pace of the fighting has not decreased as much as in past years. Some of these attacks are highly effective - such as the attack against the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Pul-i-Alam, Logar province. Just 50 miles south of Kabul, this provincial police station suffered a devastating attack by four Taliban suicide bombers dressed as police officers. They killed at least 20 people and wounded many more. Read about the attack in "Taliban bombers kill at least 20 in Afghan attack", Stars and Stripes, February 17, 2015.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Mohammad Agha District: Empty Streets

Logar province has at least three districts - Charkh, Kharwar, and Azra - already under the control of the Taliban. Except for the respective district centers where the Afghan National Police keep a small contingent the Taliban generally rule. A fourth district is not fairing very well either. Mohammad Agha district in northern Logar has become a dangerous place as well. The Taliban roam the district at will during the night approaching villagers for shelter, food, money, and information. The Taliban run local councils (a shadow government) that conduct the administrative and military affairs at district level. Mohammad Agha district is a strategic location for the Taliban as it is the underbelly of Kabul and also serves as a crossroads for the movement of fighters, supplies, weapons, ammunition, communication, money, and intelligence into the adjacent provinces of Nangarhar, Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Wardak, and Ghazni. Read more in "The Empty Streets of Mohammad Agha: Logar's struggle against the Taleban", Afghanistan Analysts Network, December 15, 2014.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Logar Province at Risk

According to Afghan members of parliament and Logar provincial council members three of Logar provinces' districts are mostly under the control of insurgents. The officials say that the districts of Charkh, Kharwar, and Azra are controlled by armed opponents. Estimates are that 95% of each district is not controlled by government security forces - so basically, that means that the government controls the district center. This is not new news. 95% of these three districts have been under the control of insurgents for a number of years. ANSF and ISAF declarations otherwise are simply false. Just because government forces control the district center does not mean they control the district. The district center is just a walled compound housing the district governors office, two to three other district level officials (if they even show up for work), the district police station (with 20-80 personnel assigned), and perhaps an ANA element (usually company sized or less). The government forces rarely go outside the district center walls unless an ANA kandak from another adjacent district comes in for a periodic "clearing operation". Once the ANA kandak departs the government forces (ANP and ANA) cloister inside the district center walls - rarely venturing out. These three districts have been like this for years; nothing has changed.  Read more in "Logar Districts on the Edge of Collapse: Officials", Tolo News, December 12, 2014.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Suicide Car Bomber Kills 11 ANSF

A suicide car bomber killed eleven members of the Afghan security forces and wounded over 20 civilians near a police checkpoint in Azra district eastern Logar province in Afghanistan. Read more in "Suicide car bomber kills 11 police, soldiers in Afghanistan", Reuters, November 1, 2014.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Video: SFAAT visits COP Kherwar, Logar Province

A Security Force Assistance Advisory Team (SFAAT) accompanied their Afghan National Army (ANA) counterparts on a clearing operation in the areas surrounding Combat Outpost Khewar in southern Logar province. COP Khewar was built in 2009 by the U.S. Army and for three years infantry companies occupied the COP; alongside their ANA counterparts. In 2011 the COP was turned over to a company of the ANA and the U.S. departed Khewar district. Watch a 13 minute video featuring the SFAAT advisors from "Dragon Troop" based at FOB Shank (also known as "Rocket City"), a "Show of Force" run and close air support by U.S. fighters, and some sniper activity in "VIDEO: US troops sent to advise Afghan forces drawn into firefight", Stars and Stripes, September 26, 2014.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Logar Province in Transition

The United States and Coalition partners are quickly reducing their footprint. In most all provinces there is no Coalition presence. In a few provinces we now have only a few scattered SFAATs, SOF teams, and some support troops. One of these provinces is Logar. FOB Shank (Logar province) used to have more than 4,000 Coalition troops and now it is greatly reduced in size, scope and mission. The ability to provide enablers to the ANSF is vastly reduced. At one time ISAF could provide QRF, MEDEVACs, fires, aerial ISRintelligence, DOMEX, logistical support, and close air support. Now it provides very little.

A WaPo correspondent is currently making his way through the Regional Command East (RC East) area and one of his stops included Logar province. In a recent article he provides us some atmospherics. See "In Afghanistan's Logar province, a plea for air support", The Washington Post, September 19, 2014. Two topics stand out for me in this article - generators and air support.

Generator at OCC-P Pul-e-Alam
Some things never seem to change - as in the request for generator maintenance support and training mentioned in the news article. For years the Coalition has provided the ANSF with generators to run their bases, district centers, and provincial offices. Although a noble cause (providing generators) it also produced a number of problems. There was no fuel allocated to run the generators - when fuel was allocated it was stolen prior to arriving at the generator location or shortly after arrival (see SIGAR Audit 1-4). Generators would often break down because the Afghans did not conduct daily and weekly maintenance - even after receiving maintenance training (although many did not get the training). Most of the generators were too big for the sites - a large generator consumed too much fuel and often suffered breakdowns due to insufficient loads. Many generators were simply stolen. Some generators were installed but never run because of lack of fuel. The presence of generators prompted requests for air conditioners, computers, and other electrical appliances. For me, whenever I see a generator I will think of Afghanistan as "The Graveyard of Generators".

The use of close air support was key to the success and survival of American troops in Afghanistan. Air support could mean the difference between winning an engagement against the Taliban or suffering casualties. The Afghans began to rely on U.S. air support as well. When we started holding back enablers in 2013 (to include close air support) there was wide-spread dissatisfaction among the ANSF. Many advisors reported that ANA operations would come to a screeching halt when they found they could not get air support from the United States. So when the writer mentions the request of air support; that too, tells me not much has changed. Of course, the Afghan making the request has a valid point. He knows the U.S. is leaving but would prefer the air support continue for at least another month - which would coincide with the end of the traditional fighting season. Surely this is a reasonable request.

So . . . things are changing - ISAF is withdrawing; but . . . some things never change.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Video - ALP Aids in Development and Stability in Baraki Barak

The Afghan Local Police (ALP) have provided a measure of stability and security in Baraki Barak district of Logar province, Afghanistan. With this increased security Afghan government officials have been able to introduce development and agricultural programs to help the residents of the district improve their lives through agricultural assistance programs. See the video here:

"Security Increases Lead to Development Initiatives in Baraki Barak"
CJSOTF-A DVIDS, March 16, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

ALP Provides Increased Security to Baraki Barak District

The formation of an Afghan Local Police or ALP element in Baraki Barak district (Logar province) has increased security in the surrounding area allowing government programs to take place which will provide increased development and governance. The ALP are advised by U.S. Special Forces mentors as well as a team from the Afghan National Army Special Forces or ANASF. Read a recent news release from the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A) on how the increased security brought to the district by the ALP have helped workers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock (MAIL) provide vocational training on growing apples in the orchards of Baraki Barak district. See "Increases in security lead to development programs in Baraki Barak district", DVIDS, March 12, 2013.