On how a passive defense is inoperative and shameful in the counter insurgency war!!
Let’s see the «vital path» of the British in the current conflict. Of the “warlike fervor” of these «European technologically modern soldiers», give faith the operations carried out for years in Helmand province. After the war of 2001, which ended with the medieval theocratic radical intransigent regime of the Taliban, close to Lashkar Gal city, Helmand’s capital, up to 8 thousand British soldiers established themselves. That were successively relieved by their replacements in «tours of duty». This powerful contingent of professional experienced soldiers was unable in almost 7 years to fight, replacing the culture of opium in Helmand and appeasing the province, for the effective implantation in her of the Government of Kabul. To solve this operational Gordian knot of the ISAF, cutting it with a slit, it was decided…
The last great Offensive against the Taliban in Helmand: Marjah’s battle.
The “Operation Moshtarak” («Together», in dari, one of the afghan languages) began at Friday, February 12, 2010. For the operation approximately 15 thousand allied soldiers have met, from the ISAF and Afghanis. The USA contingent had around 4 thousand marines and 800 soldiers from the US Army. The Afghans were 2 thousand men and they accompanied the Americans in the attacks and occupations. The British were 4 thousand men and there were groups from Canada, Denmark and Estonia.
There were several operational aims in the “Operation Together”. The first was to aim a rapid and forceful blow to the Taliban, going forward to their usual spring operations. And showing them who have taken now the initiative. And as corollary, to try again to appeasing Helmand, for the effective and final implantation of the Government of Kabul in it. In the strategy of counterinsurgency is sought to clean the zone of the Taliban and to protect the inhabitants of their influence. It is supposed that the transcendence of the operations success will be indefinite. As the Government cannot request the loyalty of the people, if this is not defended effectively and permanently of the reprisals of the Taliban.
Also, it was the goal of eradicating the drug production in Marjah’s district. According with the UNO Agency for the Fighting against the Drug and the Organized Crime, 42% of the world opium is produced in Helmand’s province. And Marjah is one of the principal centers of the culture of the poppy and its chemical processing. The British were previously in charge of attacking its culture in the zone. But their efforts, up to the last summer, were insufficient and ineffective to achieve these two principal aims. In spite of the presence, at 40 Km from Marjah’s ville, of more than eight thousand British soldiers.
Another operational aim was giving field to the soldiers of the Afghan Army. Increasing their auto esteem and their military experience, trying his operational and organizational capacities and confirming his loyalties with the Government. Finally, it was wished that Marjah would be a «testing and checking center» for the different skills and techniques of pacification and civil development, of immediate and future application in the rest of the country. In a war against “national armed rebels”, these civil operations are the “other arm», complementary and necessary, of the successfully military actions over they.
The battle was carried out more in advancing and bombarding or shelling the suspicious positions. The allied troops were occupying and consolidating the successful advances. The external siege and the control of the possible escape routes of the guerrillas were in charge of the British and the auxiliary forces of Canada, Denmark and Estonia. That also defended the allied road links. The operation was completed in a month.
The Taliban, a light irregular infantry, without artillery or aviation, with a pedestrian and insufficient logistics, were beaten and removed from their combat positions in Marjah, dispersing finally, largely to the bordering provinces. And Marjah remained occupied by the Marines and the forces of the Afghan Army. A whole labor staid ahead now to earn the respect, the confidence and the loyalty of the villagers. And that they begin to accept the central Afghan government. Also it is necessary to offer them a future of peace, safety and prosperity. Replacing their current means of life, based on the opium poppy culture and the drug transport, by others that turn out to be reasonably profitable. And that do not move them simply to a subsistence agriculture without hope. Marines are excellent elite action forces. But in the vulgar and patient tasks of occupation and civilization of a more or less hostile and strange territory, they are mediocre, distant with people and no motivated.
In the province of Kandahar, the fief of the mulah Omar and the first national quarry of the Taliban, there were then almost 3000 Canadian troops, with the American and British forces. It was one of the first fighting «fronts» against the insurgency in the country, together with Helmand and the frontier Eastern provinces. As continuation of the cleaning in Marjah and at “load snort” of its military success, the allies decided to launch during the spring and the summer of 2010, the «Operation Kandahar», with almost the same operational aims that the first one. It was trying to make an intensive use of the operations of search and destruction of the enemy, to divide and disperse him. That would go at charge the elite units of of the armies, forming patrols of exploration, of combat and mixed, backed by Afghan soldiers and using the tactical aviation and artillery supports and the exploratory and precise fire capacities of the «drones». It was talked about the Battle of Kandahar. But, within a few weeks of initiated, his momentum was languishing. And losing initiative, creativity, will and applied force. And it was stopped speaking about her. In this epoch, the journalists detached in military units and populations in Afghanistan warned us that the «green outbreaks» of the insurgency were appearing, as vigorous and firm renews, within Marjah and Nad Ali…
In Afghanistan are present military forces from approximately 46 countries. Some of them are dedicated to support, garrison and rear tasks. As being a great coalition, without subordinating to it any of the interests that to each country dictate his needs and his political commitments, the coincidences between the allies are partial, have continuity solutions and are unstable through time. This intrinsic fragility of the coalition, is born in that almost all the allies do not practice State policies, but temporal or, worst enough, electoral. It is necessary to indicate that this owes largely to that there is not a clear perception of the Afghan problem. Not of his direct or indirect, immediate or distant nearness, to the national respective defense interests.
The great British military Complex Bastion in Helmand’s province.
Helmand is one of 32 provinces of Afghanistan. It spreads over 58.583 km ² at the southwest of the country and has a population around the million and half of inhabitants, of the pashtun and baluchi ethnias. The capital is Laskar Gah. In his Washer’s district, at the northwest of the capital, the Camp Bastion is installed. It is the principal military British base in Afghanistan. It can house between 20 and 30 thousand persons in all its facilities, British and American principally, depending on the Branch to which they belong and their missions, equipments and supplies. It occupies a total extension of 52 Km2, approximately 10 km per 5 km. It was designed to be the center of the logistic operations of the ISAF in Helmand. In addition, it is the major military British camp constructed outside their country after the II World War. Built by the British Engineers since the beginning of 2006, the Complex is placed in a desert zone and away from the populations and provided with long clear sights in all dirThe Latest British Misfortunes in Afghanistanections.
The Camp is divided structurally in different «sections». Bastion 1 and 2 are first erected. Bastion 2 contains also the Camp Barber (USA) and the Camp Viking (Danish). Bastion 0 was added about 2010 and it houses the facilities of the external contractors. The Bastion 3 is used for the specific training of counterinsurgency. The Complex also includes Camp Leatherneck (of the USMC) and Camp Shorabak, of the National Afghan Army. Camp Bastion’s airport, which possesses two landing strips, attends approximately 600 aircraft flights every day, in operations of combat, logistic and medicals. In the attached heliport are deployed the Westland WAH-6 Apache of multiple attack and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook of mixed transport. In these moments the Complex can handle and attend almost all the military and civil aircraft in use. The Complex also houses a great military campaign hospital. And large areas of this great base are protected by a nine meters high concrete wall, which spreads over a perimeter of more of 40km, inserted with special vigilance towers, with soldiers and high technology instruments.
(to be continued)