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Denying ground/canalising in Afghanistan

I know that obstacles and mines need to be covered by fire, but I wonder whether that is as true as it was - anti-handling devices, drones........

British forces are taking casualties moving over ground that isn't worth holding - no strategic importance - and is worthless for agricultural purposes.

Could the policing/fighting task be simplified by clearing huge areas of the country and using a bucketload of razorwire and mines to ensure they couldn't be re-colonised? Most of the country is shit anyway, and simply provides entry and escape routes - bit of compensation for the poor benighted bas****ds who live there, lay mines..

Imagine how much easier life would be if 70% of what has to be controlled at the minute is represented on the map as shaded areas that can be forgotten about. Preserving the mine-free status of the remaining routes might be easier, and anyone wanting to move would be forced through checkpoints.
You mean like the Russians did, and one of the major causes of injuries among our troops now?

I think we're also signatories to a treaty or two that might preclude us from mine sowing.
Has our agreement not to use mines robbed us of a highly valuable defensive asset? I've always been dis-quieted by our inability to use this weapon to deny the enemy ground.

I'd be interested to hear from a sapper/engineer type as I'm nowhere near being an expert. Am I right in thinking that even with careful mapping and modern techniques, mines can move around under the surface, sometimes by metres?
Toasted_Giant said:
Am I right in thinking that even with careful mapping and modern techniques, mines can move around under the surface, sometimes by metres?
Yes, they fcuking migrate, you wouldn't think it but the fcukers love to fcuking travel, causes; rain, ice, earth tremors, Planetary rotation, subsidence or just a fcuking need to get a better view....
I know we have some Arrsers who are experten in this field.

As for mine movement, Libya and the dramas there is a really good case in point. Mines moving sub-surface, mines surfacing and moving etc. Libya is still throwing Teddies re. mine removal, as construction development East and South of the coastal MSR is effectively stalled till the areas can be cleared of mines we, the Germans, French and Italians laid.

There is also the consideration of having to pull the things back up, if and when we get peace in the region. The first thing the Afghan Government, such as it is/will be will want at that time, is the Mines gone. There will be a tremendous cost associated with that.

The way to deny the countryside to the Taliban, is to get the countryside to deny the Taliban.
As you say then doctrinally mines/wire/obstacles are only really effective if they are covered by view/fire? If we cant cover the ground with the small numbers we have then how are we going to ensure the integrity of the barriers if they can only be checked by a patrol every few days/weeks? Afghanistan is pretty damn big place. Stringing razorwire across all the bits that people dont want seems like a big task that the afghan civpop wont necessarily support (except if they can rip it out and sell it...) and is more likely to be a distraction than a worthwhile task in my humble opinion.

Ahhhh! The sign of a military on the defensive, propping up failing policy, and with far too few troops to man-the-line. Siege mentality!

I thought we were in Afghanistan to rebuild the country and win hearts and minds. Nevertheless, we have a cunning plan put forward to begin a legacy that will cause greavious injury and hardship to locals for generations to come.
If we don't control the Poppy, if we can't get growing , selling and distribution of Poppy brought under our total control, any conversation on that beknighted place is academic.

I sometimes idly muse on creating an administrative region solely dedicated to producing Poppy , and applying jellied gasoline to any crops outside that mandated area.

We then dedicate our and NATO assets to protecting that area, simultaneously denying the Taliban and assorted riff-raff income, forcing them into desperate measures, rendering them easier to cull en-masse.

Our NATO allies just won't commit to Afghanistan at the present time for one simple reason.

They can't see the percentage in it.
PartTimePongo said:
Our NATO allies just won't commit to Afghanistan at the present time for one simple reason.

They can't see the percentage in it.
More like Kharzai and his inner circle refuse to be more liberal with their percentage.


Minefields would be a waste of time in my opinion. The Taleban are not known for moving outside the Greenzone of built areas. To mine areas we wanted to defend would mean mining areas such as villages and farmland, which would probably do little to make the locals like us.
I for one think it would be a bad idea to start mine laying around Helmand.

Mainly because the Army would probably call me back up and I'd be first parading the Barminelayer before I knew it!
Terry does not regard minefields as obstacles. He calls them 'explosives supplies'. He would de-seed any minefield we laid and use the mines against us. 'Legacy' munitions are a big enough problem/embarrassment as it is.

And this is quite apart from the hearts and minds issues, legal issues, and the fact already pointed out that the Russians have already tried this.
minefields are more bother than theyre worth....what we really need are airborne drones, and a ton of them. would it be be beyond the realms of feasibility for us/uk to produce a ton of reapers, and have them constantly patrolling the borders with hellfires and bombs? have the troops hold strategic points, and let an eye in the sky look out for movement.

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