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Some technical difficulties prevented me from getting a post up earlier this week however here we go! The big news this week in the DOD in my opinion is the announcement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on a flight to Brussels that the United States would indeed be transitioning out of Afghanistan by late next year…
Now, having spent 2010-2011 there I can personally say that the Afghans were not yet close to being able to stabilize themselves independently. Our daily patrols consisted of two forms of troop leading procedures (TLPs) that my NCOs and I implemented, one for ourselves and one for the Afghan National Army (ANA) Soldiers we had assigned. It got to the point where we had to visually inspect their weapons systems wether crew served or individual because they would be negligently discharging their weapons all the time. They would literally shoot into the neighboring villages on accident no joke.
While the Secretaryy of Defense certainly has a tactical view that I didn’t have, those same Soldiers assigned to us were by Afghan standards as being pretty good. We also were blessed to have Afghan Special Forces along side us on occasions which were under the direct instruction of our own Green Berets for 10 years and those men could stand next to my Infantryman.
There is also a clear threat to the Afghan Security Forces (ANSF) of infiltration by the Taliban, countless attacks on NATO forces have occurred from internal forces. While the ANA and ANSF have very capable Soldiers and leaders they are not yet ready, again in my opinion to stand alone and maintain 360 security internally.
(First pic is one of my Team Leaders pulling security while an Afghan Policeman doodles, second pic is of me on my first patrol in Afghanistan inside a small outpost in eastern Afghanistan before a patrol, one of my last smiles in country)
Like any good military operation this one will be planned, re planned, implemented and than when all hell breaks loose re thought in a great after action review. Problem with this operation is that it has cost thousands of US, NATO and Afghan lives to get this far, and we hope as any good Soldier that our leaders are doing right by those who make policy, we of course implement it.