Saturday, 23 July 2011

"Argendahb Awakening" - Tables turned on Taliban

From embedded reporter, J.D. Johannes:
Pictures and detail at "Outside the Wire"
This spring the US commander in the Argendahb Valley west of Khandahar flipped the Taliban's tactics upside down.                    Throughout Afghanistan, Army units go on patrol through the fields only to be shot at from behind the walls of the villages.                    Instead of living on Company-sized combat outposts of about 125 men and patrolling through the farm land that is strewn with mines to the villages then returning to the outpost, Mintz's men live in platoon and squad-sized patrol bases and strong points in the villages with their Afghan Army brothers. An average patrol base has about 25 men in it. The water is warm, the food is MREs and the living is dirty--a lot of Soldiers love it.                           By buying or renting a house in the village, building a few shooting postions on the roof and staying in the village 24/7 the tables are turned. The Taliban now has to cross their own mine fields and try to attack the US Soldiers who are in covered positions behind the walls. The US Soldiers patrol in the villages, the fields and roads between the villages and in a bubble of the fields around the villages.                   By living in the villages, the soldiers have not just weekly or daily contact with the population, but hourly contact. The Taliban, to have influence over the people, have to fight their way through a platoon of US Soldiers and Afghan soldiers.                  Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth Mintz' soldiers are killing Taliban, having constant contact with the people, and protecting the people from the Taliban who shoot into the village. A complete 180 from the usual scenario in Afghanistan, but the exact scenario that I saw first hand in Iraq's Euphrates river valley as local villagers stood up and joined with the Marines in taking on Al Qaida.
 (Reported elsewhere that in some areas, small groups of Taliban will show up in a village, "tax" and threaten, then leave before an armed response can be organized by the inhabitants. A small force at-the-ready in the village changes everything.)

No comments:

Post a Comment