Showing posts with label TAAC-North. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAAC-North. Show all posts

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Insider Attack Wounds Seven U.S. Soldiers - June 17th

An insider attack occurred on Saturday, June 17, 2017 on Camp Shaheen in northern Afghanistan. An Afghan soldier wounded seven U.S. service members - reportedly using an RPG. He is reported to have been killed during the incident. Resolute Support HQs released information about the attack on Twitter and in a news release stating that "Seven U.S. service members wounded, evacuated for treatment. Insider attack Camp Shaheen, Mazar-e Sharif under investigation."

Camp Shaheen is the headquarters base for the 209th Afghan National Army Corps with responsibility for all of northern Afghanistan. It is located about 20 minutes drive directly to the west of Mazar-e Sharif - one of the largest cities in northern Afghanistan. Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North, headed up by the Germans and staffed by member nations from NATO, is located to the east of Mazar-e Sharif by about a 10 minute drive on Camp Marmal. Many of the advisors working with the ANA travel one to several times a week between Camp Marmal and Camp Shaheen on day trips - using either ground convoy or a short helicopter flight.

This was the second insider attack by an Afghan soldier in a week. 2012 was the worst year for insider attacks with over 60 NATO members killed in 'green on blue' incidents in Afghanistan. Learn more about insider attacks in Afghanistan.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Security Update for Northern Afghanistan

Attack on German MeS Consulate. A suicide bomber rammed his truck into the German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan killing and wounding civilians in the area on Thursday, November 10, 2016. The consulate suffered major damage to its outside perimeter wall - leaving a huge crater in the ground and overturning nearby cars in the street. No German or Afghan members of the consulate staff were killed or harmed. Twenty members of the German staff were evacuated to Camp Marmal (nearby MeS). Read more in "Afghanistan: Fatal attack on German consulate in Mazar-e-Sharif", BBC News, November 11, 2016.

Video on North Afghanistan and Central Asia. In July 2016 the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conducted a 90-minute presentation and discussion on the security situation in Afghanistan and the impact on the Central Asia states across the northern border of Afghanistan. There is growing instability in Afghanistan and this includes the formerly peaceful areas of North Afghanistan.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dostum - "PhD in Killing Militants"

Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum (former warlord, communist, anti-communist, government minister, general, powerbroker, mujihadeen, etc.) is mobilizing supporters across northern Afghanistan (especially Faryab province where a significant Uzbek population is found) in the fight against armed militants (Taliban and others). The former general holds no formal military post but has great influence among many armed militias across northern Afghanistan. He has formed a temporary alliance with a life-long enemy - Atta Mohammad Noor - the powerful governor of Balkh province. Periodically he ventures into northern Afghanistan to lead 'offensives' against militants. Read more in "Afghanistan's Dostum unites friends, foes in anti-Taliban fight", by Anuj Chopra, Yahoo! News, November 21, 2015.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall of Kundez: The Aftermath

Taliban Announce Withdrawal from Kunduz City. After many days of fighting the Taliban announced that it was ceasing the fight in the city proper to avoid unnecessary deaths among its ranks in with the civilian population. During their brief occupation of Kunduz the managed to free inmates from two prisons, destroy government offices and facilities, and hunting government employees. In addition, they embarrassed the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Read more in "Taliban Withdraw From Kunduz After Days of Fighting", The New York Times, October 13, 2015.

Government Employees and Others Rounded Up? The Taliban did a lot of damage for the few days they occupied the city. Part of their operations involved the rounding up of government employees and others supporting the fight against the Taliban. Read more in "Screams From Northern Afghanistan Have Been Silenced", by Jade Wu, Small Wars Journal, October 12, 2015.

More on Airstrike on Hospital. It appears that US analysts knew that the DWB location was a hospital. According to some sources the facility was being used by a Pakistani operative to coordinate Taliban activity within Kunduz. The hospital was suspected of being a Taliban command and control center harboring heavy weapons. The Pakistani, believed to have been working for the Pakistan Inter-Service Intelligence directorate, is assessed as being killed in the airstrike. Read more in "US Analysts knew Afghan site was Hospital", Associated Press, October 15, 2015.

Central Asian States Nervous. The Taliban capture of a provincial capital for the first time since 2001 has shaken the the Afghan security forces and Afghan government. Other folks are concerned as well - including the Central Asian countries to the north of Afghanistan (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan). Russia, seemingly engaged everywhere nowadays, is offering their security assistance. Read more in "After Fall of Kunduz, Russia Tries to Shore Up Defenses in Central Asia", EurasiaNet, October 10, 2015. See also "Russian troops could be deployed to Afghanistan's borders as the US leaves", Business Insider, October 15, 2015.

New Governors for Northern Afghanistan. President Ghani has appointed four new governors for northern Afghan provinces. This is in response to the security situation in northern Afghanistan that has steadily deteriorated since 2009. The leadership changes are taking place in Takhar, Faryab, Baghlan, and Sar-i-Pul provinces. Read more in "Can new governors turn the Taliban tide in northern Afghanistan?", IRIN, Octobere 8, 2015.

15 Days of Fighting. It took fifteen days of fierce fighting for Afghan government forces and their US allies to push the Taleban back out of Kunduz City. Read how it happened in "The fall and recapture of Kunduz", by Obaid Ali, Afghanistan Analysts Network (AAN), October 16, 2015.

Aftermath. A Kabul-based Afghan journalist is embedded with the Afghan special forces in Kunduz. He is interviewed about the state of the Kunduz siege in "Kunduz Frontline Report: 10 Days After the Taliban Siege", The Diplomat, October 10, 2015. The U.S. is reportedly making condolence payments for those injured in the air attack on the Kunduz hospital. See a news release on this topic by the DoD on October 10, 2015.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Fight for Kunduz

The fight for Kunduz City is continuing. Despite proclamations by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) spokesman every 24 hours stating that "Afghan security forces secured the city overnight" the fight rages on in some parts of Kunduz City. In the rest of the province the fight has probably been lost to the Taliban. Some correspondents are reporting that Resolute Support is very visible within the city supporting (advising?) the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF). This would, of course, include SOF advisors with the ANA Special Operations Kandak(s) that are within or around the city. It would also include SOF advisors with the special mission units of the MoI. It is quite possible that a platoon (or company) of the Resolute Support Theater Response Force (at the moment, probably members of 2-14 Infantry) are providing security at the Kunduz airport (speculation on my part). Read a summary on Kunduz and how it relates to the 'big picture' in a report by Vanda Felbab-Brown entitled "A dispatch from Afghanistan: What the Taliban offensive in Kunduz reveals",, October 8, 2015.

Taliban's Offensive in Northern Afghanistan

The eyes of the world are focused on the Taliban's recent success in taking and holding (for only a few days) the first provincial capital since 2001. Their takeover of Kunduz City shocked the Afghan public and others. The subsequent accidental bombing of a Doctor's Without Borders hospital in Kunduz City by a U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship further focused the world on Kunduz. However, not readily apparent to others is that the Taliban are mounting a late fighting season surge across all of northern Afghanistan. Other districts have fallen under the control of the Taliban in recent weeks across the north; including two in Faryab province (The Long War Journal, Oct 8, 2015). The European component of Resolute Support at Camp Marmal in Mazar-e Sharif has very little fighting strength to offer assistance. A handful of NATO SOF advisors are available to "advise and assist" Afghan SOF units (which number too few to make a real difference) but their ability to offer air support will now be curtailed due to the CIVCAS incident in Kunduz. The coming weeks will show that the ANDSF are resilient and can counter the Taliban offensive or that it is too weak (for whatever reason) and the Taliban may carry some real gains into the winter season.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Taliban Offensive in Northern Afghanistan

The Taliban have launched a major offensive in the past few weeks to make significant gains in northern Afghanistan. The Taliban has seized nine districts in five provinces in northern Afghanistan in the span of five days. While the world's eyes and ears are focused on the fall of Kunduz, Russians bombing the CIA's allies in Syria, Syria refugees in Europe, and elsewhere the insurgents have scored success after success in rural Afghanistan - especially in the north. Read more in "Taliban overruns another district in Afghan north", Threat Matrix, October 2, 2015.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Balkh PGov: Strongman of North Afghanistan

Governor Atta Mohammad Noor, the Provincial Governor (PGov) of Balkh province has been in his position for over ten years when he was first appointed by President Karzai. Atta is a former school teacher, turned mujahedeen fighter, turned warlord, and now governor. He has many supporters who say he has brought economic prosperity and security to Balkh province and the large city of Mazar-e Sharif. His critics say that political freedom is at a minimum, he is corrupt, manages a massive criminal patronage network, is suspected of human rights abuses, has his own private militias, and is just a powerful warlord appointed to a governorship. The international Coalition, in the past Regional Command North or RC-North, and now Train Advise, Assist Command - North (TAAC North) recognize the governor for who he is - a rich, powerful, influential governor with a firm grasp of the political, economic, criminal, and security environment. I spent many months at Camp Marmel (where the regional command for ISAF was headquartered) and it was apparent that the most powerful figure in northern Afghanistan was Noor. His information (intelligence network) is widespread and effective and he has good control over the police in his province. Read more in "Afghanistan's defining fight: Technocrats vs. strongmen", The Washington Post, April 12, 2015.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Extremists Flourishing in Northern Afghanistan

There are indications that parts of northern Afghanistan is slowly slipping into the grasp of militants. This has Central Asian nations north of the Afghan border quite concerned. Taliban groups, the IMU, and possibly newly-formed groups aligned with or part of the Islamic State have increased their influence. It would appear that the groups are cooperating with one another. Read more in "Militant Melting Pot: Extremists Flourish South of Turkmenistan", Qishloq Ovoz Blog - Radio Free Europe, March 11, 2015.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

TAAC-North Commander

A new commander has taken over as the leader for the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North (TAAC-North). TAAC-North is responsible for the TAA mission in northern Afghanistan. The lead nation in TAAC North is Germany and historically this country has always provided the commander. TAAC-North is based at Camp Marmal just outside of Mazar-e Sharif. The new commander is Brigadier General Andreas Hannermann. In 2008-2009 he was the German LNO to AFG GS, AFG MoD, and CSTC-C in Kabul. He replaced BG Harald Gante, who spent one year at Camp Marmal - first as chief of staff and then later as commander. Read more about BG Hannemann and TAAC-North.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Central Asia and Afghan Drawdown

Central Asian states are concerned about the spread of ISIS and the possible flow of insurgents northward from the Afghan nation. The situation in northern Afghanistan gets worse and worse as years go by. The ability of the Coalition under the new Resolute Support Mission to influence or shape events on the ground in what used to be referred to as Regional Command North (RC North) is minimal. Train, Advise, Assist Command - North, under German leadership, has little strength in numbers and very little combat power. Air support is non-existent and comes out of Bagram if at all. The small amount of troops not dedicated to staff, command, advising, or support are providing "force protection" and "guardian angel" services. Confined to Camp Marmal, except when advisors and their force protection detail head to the 209th Corp HQs, the Coalition sees very little on what is happening in northern Afghanistan. TAAC North's intelligence assets are very likely limited and probably blind on the true tactical situation. Relying on the intelligence provided by the 209th Corps, OCC-R, ANP, and ABP is problematic.

The Taliban, IMU, and other insurgent groups have made great inroads into northern Afghanistan and the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) have proven themselves not up to the challenge. There is a very real threat to the Central Asian states to the north. While ISAF may be blind to the situation the Central Asian states are aware of what the future may bring.

Read more in "Central Asia and Afghanistan as the Drawdown Deadline Arrives", Gandhara Blog - Radio Free Europe, December 29, 2014.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Taliban Camp in Faryab Province

The Taliban have released a video showing their members training in a camp in the northern province of Faryab. Faryab is located in the Train, Advise, and Assist Command - North (TAAC-N) area of operations. The video, released on December 18, 2014, is one hour long. In the video Taliban fighters are shown undergoing weapons training to include firing weapons from a vehicle. Read more in "Taliban publicize training camp in northern Afghanistan"The Long War Journal, December 21, 2014.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Georgia Troops for Resolute Support

The country of Georgia has been a reliable and valued troop contributing nation during the ISAF mission. The country will continue its efforts on behalf of its allies and Afghanistan with its commitment to the Resolute Support mission. A reconnaissance company from the 4th Mechanized Brigade of the Georgia Armed Forces is heading to northern Afghanistan to serve as part of the Train Advise and Assist Command - North under German leadership. The Georgian company of about 170 soldiers will be the rapid reaction force at Camp Marmal near Mazar-e-Sharif. The country has committed about 700 troops to the Resolute Support mission. The 51st Light Infantry Battalion is serving at Bagram Air Field - having deployed there in November 2014. Read more in "Georgian Troops Head to Mazar-i-Sharif", Civil Daily News Online, December 16, 2014.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Germany and Resolute Support

Germany will continue its presence in northern Afghanistan under the Resolute Support mission after December 2014. It will keep over 800 troops in Afghanistan as well as a few CH-53 transport helicopters. Read more in "Germany says to keep up to 850 soldiers in Afghanistan", Reuters, November 18, 2014.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Turkmen in Fight Against Taliban

The Taliban have grown in strength and capability in northern Afghanistan. Allied with fighters from the IMU, Pakistan, and other foreign nations the local Taliban threaten a number of districts in Kunduz. Northern Afghanistan is home to ethnic Turkmen and they are in a constant battle with the Taliban to defend their villages and homes. The 209th ANA Corps (based across northern Afghanistan) have been unsuccessful in finding and defeating the Taliban except on some rare occasions. The Taliban generally enjoy freedom of movement in much of northern Afghanistan Read more in "Turkmen-Afghans in Kunduz reject the Taliban's ways", Central Asia Online, November 5, 2014.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Turkmenistan and Border Incursions

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) presence in northern Afghanistan is extremely limited. The current force array consists of less than 4,000 personnel (mostly from European nations) posted at Camp Marmal (near Mazar-e-Sharif). There is only one small contingent of troops posted at an international border crossing; otherwise the U.S. and ISAF must rely on reports from the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and principally from the Afghan Border Police (ABP) on what is happening along the border. The ABP is less than competent and extremely corrupt; so any news coming from that organization is questionable. Reports are surfacing about border incursions by Turkmenistan armed forces but they are not coming from the Afghan government or ISAF. Read more in "Turkmenistan Armed Forces Reportedly Cross Afghanistan Border", EurAsia Net, September 18, 2014.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kunduz province at Risk

In the north of Afghanistan, long considered to be the most non-violent and secure region, there is trouble brewing. The past few years has seen the emergence of insurgent groups that have the capability to overrun district centers and hold them for long periods of time. Kunduz is a particularly troublesome spot with insurgents gaining territory and winning local support among the population. As the European ISAF troops (led by the Germans) collapsed from the east and west of Regional Command North into the center at Camp Marmal (Mazar-e-Sharif) the operational reach of ISAF diminished significantly. Two districts in Kunduz province fell to the Taliban in mid-summer and they were only recently taken back by Afghan security forces. Read a comprehensive review of the situation in Kunduz province in"Taleban Closing in on the City: the next round of the tug-of-war over Kunduz"Afghanistan Analysts Network, September 2, 2014.