Small Wars Journal

Afghanistan is Building Up its Commando Force to Fight the Taliban. But at What Cost?

Afghanistan is Building Up its Commando Force to Fight the Taliban. But at What Cost? By Dan Lamothe – Washington Post

CAMP COMMANDO, Afghan­istan - A major buildup of ­Afghanistan’s commando force, part of a strategy to fight insurgents who contest or control nearly half the country’s districts, could have a detrimental effect on conventional army units, already beaten down by years of combat, corruption and desertion.

The plan, announced last year, calls for the number of commandos to nearly double, from about 11,700 to 23,300 by 2020. There will be at least 14,000 in coming days, after current classes complete their 14 weeks of training, said Army Col. Larry Niedringhaus, the U.S. Special Forces officer in charge of an advisory group involved in training.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani formed the plan with Pentagon backing in an effort to invest in units with a track record of success. While conventional Afghan military and police units have often struggled with the Taliban in combat, the commandos are generally seen as more prestigious and effective on the battlefield.

But as more Afghan soldiers are sent to commando school after basic training, fewer of them are available to fill holes in the conventional Afghan army units…

Read on.

Comments

johnalberto

Mon, 05/14/2018 - 7:13am

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fashioned the plan with Pentagon backing so  one can put money into units with a musicreport of success. even as traditional Afghan military and police units have regularly struggled with the Taliban in combat, the commandos are typically visible as greater prestigious and effective at the battlefield.

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AlexJuvion

Tue, 05/01/2018 - 5:25am

Recently I read about Ten journalists were killed in Afghanistan yesterday in a suicide bomb attack and now reading come to know that the country is building up its commando force to fight the Taliban to stop such kind of incidents. Hope people will spread peace in world not a terror.

Alex,

Education consultant at Quality Assignment.

J Harlan

Mon, 04/30/2018 - 5:46pm

Not only does the over expansion of so called special operations forces denude the rest of the army of potential leaders it ensures the "conventional" force knows it's second or third class and leaves the "C" team in command of those units. Hardly a recipe for building a good army. A better answer is to have a "commando" course which soldiers attend and then return to their units and pass on what they learned such as French Army commando schools. A version of Ranger School would also be useful.

Another problem to watch for is unity of command. As SOF expand they may or already copy the US model where there is no geographic unity of command. That's a mistake. Everything that occurs within a province should be done under the authority of a single commander. There should be no SOF operational command above unit. The SOF higher HQ should be a force provider to geographic commanders.

I wonder how much of this push for expanding ANASOC is tied to efforts to keep the money rolling in by the companies tagged to "train/ advise/ develop" ANASOC units.  

During my time as a "dirty, nasty contractor" in Afghanistan working with ANASOC, I clearly recall my team leader, a retired SF E7 18F, warning us about our unit achieving "full operational capability" or FOC...."We have to be careful about the brigade reaching FOC because we might lose our jobs...".  Military advisers are supposed to "work themselves out of a job" but not so with contractors.  Instead of sending more advisers to Afghanistan, the Army may want to consider sending more contracting officers (KO) or contracting officer representatives (COR) to the theater to ensure compliance with the multitude of contracts to "assist" the ANSF.