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Into the Valley of Death

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  • #31
    Great post S-2, agree the almalgamation of posts will be good
    sigpicFEAR NAUGHT

    Should raw analytical data ever be passed to policy makers?

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    • #32
      More From Rubin

      Got to looking and found this from October, 2006 in Zabul. Interesting look at aid and ammo expended in equal measure nearly simultaneously. Another good story-

      Taking the Fight to the Taliban-NYT Oct. 28, 2006

      There are some interesting insights to the Afghan-Pakistani relationship as well as tribal relations between ethnic groups like the Hazaris, largely shia, and the pashtun, virtually all sunni and many damn near wahabbist. It's also interesting (as in her other article here) how commonly Taliban transmissions are monitored.

      No digital encryption. Straight FM broadcast and monitored religiously. Sometimes it backfires when an Afghan turncoat is doing the listening and instead calls taliban mortars on friendlies, as suspected here by the reporter.

      Here's another that came out a week before-

      In the Land of the Taliban-NYT Oct. 22, 2006

      Rubin chats up the local bad guys and visits w/ them in Quetta and Islamabad. The involvement of Pakistan is ridiculous.

      I mean REALLY RIDICULOUS.
      Last edited by S2; 26 Feb 08,, 03:33.
      "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
      "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

      Comment


      • #33
        Nagl Weighs In On Rubin

        From the SWJ Blog, LTC John Nagl (Learning to Eat Soup With A Knife)writes-

        "The cover story of yesterday's "New York Times Magazine" is the best reporting I've seen on Afghanistan, ever.

        The story is about CPT Dan Kearney's B/2-503 IN. 2-503rd is commanded by my friend LTC Bill Ostlund and is responsible for the Korengal River valley, the site of the toughest fighting now happening in Iraq or Afghanistan. The people in the Korengal River Valley don't support the coalition or the Afghan government; 2-503 has no one to drink tea with and nowhere near enough troops to provide security to the population.

        The story illustrates clearly how many more troops we need in Afghanistan--NATO, Afghan, and US--and how hard counterinsurgency is when you don't have anyone to partner with; Battle Company soldiers are simply strangers in a strange land. If you don't have time to read it, at least look at the photos.
        Once you see them--some of the best combat footage of any war, ever--you'll read the story.

        God bless Dan Kearney, Battle Company, 2-503 IN, and the people of the Korengal River Valley."


        I hope more of you will read this reporting. All three stories are through-the-roof good. Coupled w/ the VANITY FAIR article and video footage, it's just as Nagl describes above.

        It's the heart of darkness.
        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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        • #34
          Just read the NY times piece......powerful stuff. Those poor guys, you can literally see through the reporter's words how the madness of it all is slowly eating away at them.
          That Captain is one tough leader.
          For Gallifrey! For Victory! For the end of time itself!!

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          • #35
            Captains

            It's conceivable to make captain now by age 24 1/2 or 25. That's about 180 men in a light infantry company. The level of responsibility these young officers and N.C.O.s exercise is stupendous. The stress is through the roof. These guys are 24/7 balls-to-the-wall.

            I'm blown away by this war along the border. Unless this stuff is read, video watched, and photos studied, you don't remotely understand.

            It's a mind-blowing trip of the first order.
            "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
            "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

            Comment


            • #36
              S-2,

              Very interesting read on that article, I didn't realize it was necessarily that bad in Afghanistan. I'm not all that read up on Afghanistan, do you know what the exact breakdown of American troops is there (what units, is it SF, or infantry, or something else)?


              Thanks,

              Herodotus

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by Herodotus View Post
                S-2,

                Very interesting read on that article, I didn't realize it was necessarily that bad in Afghanistan. I'm not all that read up on Afghanistan, do you know what the exact breakdown of American troops is there (what units, is it SF, or infantry, or something else)?


                Thanks,

                Herodotus
                I'm not sure what the ODA strength is anymore, but US troop strength (white ops) is someone in the vicinity of 13K. That's essentially 2(+) or 3(-) infantry brigades.
                "So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand." Thucydides 1.20.3

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                • #38
                  Another Perspective

                  Even at three brigades (a division), these new brigades seem built on TWO battalions of infantry, one DS arty and a RSTA Cav battalion.

                  2nd Platoon, B Company 2-503 (Airborne) represents about 2-3% of our available boots on the ground.

                  It's a stone-cold fight out there on the edge. Not enough troops to control movement. The taliban appear to move at will through this region. Not enough to control local villages. Not enough to interdict.

                  We go where we want, to be sure. So do they. Nagl and anybody else knows that whether you wish to provide a covering force while interdicting their ingress routes or ACTUALLY EXTEND GOV'T CONTROL, it'll take MUCH more.
                  "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                  "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Meinertzhagen's Comment From SWJ

                    A poster from the 173rd Airborne made these comments about the Korengal. He correctly identifies the photo of that I'm so enamoured as actually in a valley a bit further south. Good post by him-

                    "After days of reading the blogosphere’s reaction and commentary, I feel compelled to address some of my strong concerns with the article, as a currently deployed soldier in the 173rd who has walked the terrain in the Korengal. The article, while certainly important in that it succinctly illustrates the challenges we face as a Brigade here in Northeastern Afghanistan in a national forum, portrays a no longer accurate snapshot in time. The author’s time at the KOP occurred prior to and during a major, Battalion-plus operation whose effects along with the grinding, daily efforts of Battle Company, have radically altered the Korengal Valley in our favor. LTC Fenzel’s article in this month’s Military Review regarding his experience as the CTF Devil DCO in 2005 states that, “The most contested region in RC East during OEFVI was the Wahabbiist stronghold in the Kore¬ngal River Valley, in the center of Kunar province.” That very statement would remain valid if applied to the operating environment only a few months ago. Since then we have gained a much stronger foothold not only in the physical territory of the valley, but most importantly, in the trust and confidence of the valley’s residents. This success is obviously reflected in huge reduction in kinetic activity in the valley, but more importantly and enduringly, in our ability to begin construction of a paved road into the Korengal Valley using never before available valley-native labor. The aforementioned Chai, previously only consumed by “the other unit having chi down the valley and singing kumbuyah with the locals” is now a part of daily patrols and weekly shuras in the Korengal.

                    None of this recent success belies the tremendous sacrifice borne by the soldiers of Battle Company that will be with each and every soldier who has served there for the rest of their lives. It is easy to question our presence in one of the least developed, most disconnected and hostile locations on Earth, but Battle Company is both shaping their battlespace and enabling security throughout Konar.

                    On another note, the photo below is the one described by S-2. It actually depicts an overwatch position near Chowkay south of the Korengal. The river in the distance is the Konar River."


                    He suggests that things are dramatically changed in just the last two months since these articles and video were taken and sounds as though he intimately knows the A.O.

                    This is great news and a resounding victory, if so, for the men of B Company 2-503. This land has heretofore been inpenetrable. Utterly.

                    This is the MILITARY REVIEW article to which Meinertzhagen refers-

                    Combating A Modern Insurgency: Combined Task Force Devil In Afghanistan-Military Review
                    Last edited by S2; 29 Feb 08,, 18:20.
                    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Elizabeth Rubin on CSPAN

                      For those that read the NY Times articles, Elizabeth Rubin, is on CSPAN this morning.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Waltzing Matilda Reply

                        Thanks. Do you know what time?
                        "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                        "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          S-2 Reply

                          You just missed it. She was on Washington Journal today between 6:00 and 6:30am. My guess is that they will replay it later, so check your local listing.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            I am watching BBC report on Afghan war, where the presenter- Alistair Leithead and British forces are saying that Americans are the real champs in COIN now, though it was one of their fortae's before. I am extremely impressed with Commander Eduardo Herendez of US reconstruction team. Good work.
                            Last edited by Adux; 01 Mar 08,, 16:58.

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                            • #44
                              McConnell Comments

                              Q & A before the Senate Armed Services Committee on CSPAN right now.

                              McConnell states that a recent assessment showed the taliban in control of about 10-11% of the land-mass and all those within. The GoA controls about 31%. THE REST IS LOCALLY CONTROLLED (armed warlords).

                              This is a long war with, like Iraq, multiple enemies of peace, stability, and good governance. A REALLY long war.
                              "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                              "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                A Few Photos From the Neighborhood

                                Along the Pakistani border w/ the U.S. Army-
                                Attached Files
                                "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
                                "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

                                Comment

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