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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Train, Advise, Assist, Accompany, and Enable (TA3E)

Photo: ANA Soldiers from the 215th Corps conduct CASEVAC training at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC) on Camp Shorabak. (Photo by SGT Lucas Hopkins, RS HQs, November 19, 2017).

40th ID to head TAAC South. The California's Army National Guard 40th Infantry Division (Mech) will form the core of the hqs and staff of Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South (TAAC South). In November elements of the 40th ID participated in a training event at Hohenfels, Germany to prepare for the deployment. (DVIDS, Nov 18, 2017).

TAAC South Checks Out CASEVAC Training at 215th Corps. Advisors with Train, Advise, and Assist Command - South visited Helmand province to observe CASEVAC training with the Afghans at the 215th Corps that took place at the Helmand Regional Military Training Center (RMTC). (DVIDS, Nov 19, 2017).

Canada and Afghanistan. The CEO of Afghanistan, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, recently conducted a tour of North America. During his visit he expounded upon the need continued support by the international community for Afghanistan. Abdullah met on the sidelines of the Halifax Forum to ask Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for more help in military training. See "Afghanistan looks to Canada for more training support", CBC News, November 19, 2017.

Intel Analysts Ready for Afghan SFAB Deployment. Intelligence Analysts (35F) play a critical role in determining the enemy's capabilities, vulnerabilities, and probably courses of action. Most Intel Analysts work at a desk behind a computer. For a 35F with a Security Force Assistance Brigade the job will most likely take him 'outside the wire' as a member of combat advisory teams. The 1st SFAB will soon deploy to Afghanistan in early 2018. Read "Outside the Wire: Intel Analysts in Army's 1st SFAB get career-building opportunity", DVIDS, November 7, 2017.

The Colors of U.S. Army's Beret. The formation of the SFABs got very contentious with the plans to issue a beret with a shade of green close to the famed Green Beret of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The Army quickly announced a change of plans - it would issue a beret with a shade of brown. Read more about the color of berets in "Earning it: A complete history of Army berets and who's allowed to wear them", by Meghann Myers, Military Times, November 20, 2017.

More SFAB. Read more news stories and articles about the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

40th Division to Take Over TAAC South

The California Army National Guard's 40th Infantry Division will soon be in charge of Train, Advise, Assist Command - South (TAAC South). The 40th ID (Mechanized) is preparing to deploy in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel (OFS) and will be taking operational command of the southern part of Afghanistan. In preparation elements of the division staff participated in exercise Allied Spirit VII at the U.S. Army's Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) in Hohenfels, Germany in November. Read more in a news report by the U.S. Army. (DVIDS, Nov 18, 2017).

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Troubles in Helmand Province

The Taliban have not taken the usual break in fighting during the 2015-2016 winter season. The snow has fallen but the conflict continues in several parts of Afghanistan. One area where the conflict continues is Helmand province in the southwest of Afghanistan. Only two or three of the districts of Hemand province are controlled by the government; the Taliban control the other eleven (?) districts. The Afghan government disputes this assessment; guess it depends on what you mean by district control. Sangin district is noted as the latest to fall -  although the government maintains that it still controls the district and the ANDSF are attempting to (or have) relieve(d) the small district center compound. The Taliban are supported by the Ishaqzai tribe who constitute a sizable part of the population of the province. The U.S. alienated this tribe early in the Afghan conflict pushing them into the Taliban fold. While the Taliban will likely control 95% of Helmand it is doubtful that the Taliban will take the provincial capital Lashkar Gah as the 215th Afghan Army Corps is located there.

ANA and ANP Not Up to the Task. There is still a large amount of corruption, numerous "ghost soldiers and policemen", poor leadership, a lack of coordination among the security forces, and a lack of intelligence. The western nations constant refrain is that the ANDSF are able to stand up to the Taliban - it is obvious that this is not true in some areas of Afghanistan (Helmand for one).

Refugees Flood Provincial Capital. Many Helmand residents fleeing the fighting have gone to Lashkar Gah but safety may be fleeting as the fighting is now at the suburbs of this provincial capital. (The New York Times, Dec 28, 2015).

U.K. SOF units were rushed to the province to shore up the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF) - see a UK MoD statement confirming this. See also a news report by BBC News (Dec 22, 2015). According to the UK MoD the UK troops are advisors sent to the former Camp Bastion (now called Camp Shrabak) and they are not engaged in combat (Hmmmm.). There are about 450 U.K. troops throughout Afghanistan in a mentoring and advisory role. Learn more about the UK's involvement in Helmand province in "UK troops in Afghanistan: Timeline of key events", BBC News, December 22, 2015.

U.S.SOF. U.S. Special Forces troops are also deployed to Helmand - most likely advising the Afghan Special Operations Kandaks.

Strategic Importance of Helmand? Well, . . .  it depends on who is talking. The U.S. Marines, U.K., Danes, and a few other nations expended a lot of money and the human toll was significant - so they have some strong feelings about the importance of the province. The Brits lost about 100 personnel in the Sangin area along with many more severely wounded. The U.S. Marines also took significant casualties. How would the loss of Helmand province affect Kandahar, Herat and Kabul? Probably not much in the eyes of some analysts. The biggest loss to the government would be the drug trade revenue taken from corrupt army, police and government officials as well as local power brokers. The Taliban would gain a significant source of revenue and a secure area from which to operate - as well as score an important IO victory. They may also consider moving leadership from the safe sanctuary of Pakistan into Helmand province (or at least spread an IO message that this has happened).

R.S. Says Not So Strategic. Perhaps the biggest indicator of the strategic importance of Helmand is by taking a look at where the Resolute Support Train, Advise, and Assist Commands (TAACs) are positioned. There are six field corps of the Afghan Army located at Herat (207 Corps), Mazer-e Sharif (209 Corps), Laghman province (201st), Gardez (203rd), Kandahar (205), and Lashkar Gah (215th). The 215th does not have an advisory team stationed at the Corps HQs. That should tell you something.
Location of TAACs w/ ANA Corps

Inside the TAA Mission in Afghanistan

The columnist Franz-Stefan Gady provides us with an inside view of the NATO Train, Advise, and Assist Mission in Afghanistan. He spent some time with the TAAC-South advisory team in Kandahar learning how they conduct their mission. Of note are his observations about the significant use of Guardian Angels to prevent or mitigate insider attacks by Afghan security force members, the reduced footprint of the advisory effort, and the difficulty of how to measure the effectiveness of the Afghan security forces. In addition, the article stresses the importance of the effort in eight areas of focus - called the "8 Essential Functions" by Resolute Support HQs. It is interesting to note that one of the advisors profiled is a 1LT - mostly likely (unless former enlisted) on his first tour of duty in combat - and advising Afghan officers senior to him in rank, age, experience and with many years of combat in Afghanistan. That, of course, says something about the U.S. advisor selection process! Read "How NATO Advises Afghanistan's National Security Forces", The Diplomat, December 22, 2015.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

7th ID now at TAAC South

The 7th Infantry Division has assumed the responsibility for running the Train, Advise and Assist Command - South at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The transfer of authority ceremony was held on June 10, 2015. BG Paul Bontrager will be the commander of TAAC-South. Read more in "7th Infantry Division assumes responsibility of TAAC-S", DVIDS, June 10, 2015. (Photo by Capt. Susan Harrington, RS HQs).

Friday, April 17, 2015

TAAC-South Commander Profile

BG Viet Luong, the 1st Cavalry Division's Deputy Commander of Maneuver, has been deployed to Afghanistan with about 60 1st Cav unit members since January 2015. He is in charge of the Train, Advise, Assist Command - South (TAAC-South) based at Kandahar Airfield. Many of the troops in his Afghan command are from the 101st Airborne Division. In addition he commands Coalition personnel from other countries including Australia, Bulgaria, and Romania. His last deployment to Afghanistan was in 2011 when he was a brigade commander with the 101st Airborne Division. The members of the 1st Cav - who form the principal staff of the TAAC - will redeploy in the summer to their home base. They will be replaced by staff from the 7th Infantry Division.

A detailed biography of BG Luong is posted on the Resolute Support portal at this link.

More info on TAAC-South is available on the Resolute Support portal at this link.

Read more about BG Luong in the news story "A closer look: 1st Cav's ongoing mission in Afghanistan", Fort Hood Herald, April 15, 2015.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

RC South now TAAC South

Regional Command South is now known as Train Advise and Assist Command South or TAAC South. As part of the draw down of ISAF forces and the transition to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to be in the lead for security the ISAF mission will end in December 2014. The NATO mission will continue under the Resolute Support mission - which will be primarily Security Force Assistance. There are sixteen partner nations in TAAC South. Read more in "RC-South transitions KAF to TAAC-South", Fort Hood Sentinel, October 16, 2014.