Taliban fielding battalion-sized forces

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Aug 20, 2008.

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    Taliban fielding battalion-sized forces, military records reveal
    Murray Brewster

    OTTAWA–Taliban militants reportedly amassed a 600-strong fighting force and dragged out bigger weapons only 10 months after being routed by NATO forces in a landmark 2006 battle west of Kandahar, newly released documents have revealed.

    The heavily-censored records, released to The Canadian Press under access to information laws, provide a candid glimpse of the insurgency and the heavy odds faced by Afghan security forces and their Canadian trainers as they battle to hold territory.

    Much has been made of the scope and complexity of the ambush that killed 10 French soldiers on Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan. But the documents – withheld for months by the Canadian Defence Department – suggest Taliban commanders have long been gaining critical battle experience in Kandahar, using Afghan security forces as target practice.

    As many as 100 insurgents were involved in Tuesday's attack on a French and U.S. reconnaissance patrol in the Sarobi district.

    But Canadian army daily situation reports show Afghan forces and the Canadians mentoring them were encountering Taliban organized into formations ranging from 200 to 600 fighters in June 2007.
    More on the link
  2. And this should be seen as a good thing, surely? The one thing "we" are not so good at is this sneaking about in ones and twos and playing "asymmetrical warfare"... If the Taliban want to stage Bn+ attacks then should not this be welcomed? No one does "industrial warfare" like we [the West, collectively] does... I would offer up the example of Vietnam where fighting the VC on "their" terms negated the advantages in the "Western Way of War" [See Victor Davis Hanson "Why The West Has Won"] and played to the strengths of a non-regular, "militia" / guerrilla way of way. The US "victories" in Vietnam (or rather non-defeats?) would come when the VC / NVA et al abandoned the Davy Crockett type bush warfare and attached en masse: The Ir Drag Valley ["We Were Soldiers"] and the Tet Offensive of '68 (Military victory, but ultimately viewed as a defeat). So this is the thrust of the argument - 200 to 600+ Taliban attacking in the "style" of a US / UK Bn BUT with only AKs, RPGs, AKMs and NOT the associated kit one would expect in a Western Bn should (and I can only say should) provide easier pickings and easier targets for first rate, first World "industrialised" troops: Airpower alone should have a field day against what would really be noting more that a brave but ultimately doomed forced of lightly armed and un-armoured (gifted) amateurs: No counter air to be encountered, no armour, no artillery above 81mm motors or 107 Recoilless Rifles etc... Anyone have any objections to cluster bombs and napalm in such a situation? Just me thinking so please - anyone - feel free to debate the point to slag me off and show the error in my thinking...
  3. well said pony.as long as the mod,government etc. allow it,flatten the bastards.
  4. I think you're bang on the money.

    However, I suspect that the situation on the ground is not quite what your interpretation would suggest.
  5. A pal (ex USMC) said the Sceptics had a term for MICVs, Trucks, FUPs etc: "Packaging for Group Destruction"... That's what got me thinking about this.

    Question (anyone...) - How long, under present "conditions" does it take to kill / sufficiently incapacitate c. 600 En?

    I would estimate (no actual knowledge, but that's never stopped me...) that 6 to 12 months. At that rate replacements can be drip fed into the ORBAT. Take our two, three, four, six HUNDRED in the space of an afternoon / 48 to 72hrs and the effects should be far more pronounced...

    Like I say just me babbling and the good thin is we do not appear to be foolishly luring them to mount these sort of attacks, but that are getting ballsey off their own bats... Ten dead / 20+ wounded Frenchmen may serve to embolden them and next time they may try and push it a bit further... If we can foresee this as a change in tactics we should embrace and welcome it and get busy bombing up the GR7s and A-10s...
  6. Feck the GR7s and A-10s! Lets wheel those MOABS out! I love the smell of napalm in the morning... especially if it's drenched over a square mile of sand!
  7. Too true, but the problem with all that is political. With all that imcoming, as the French found out, leads to a lot of cas coming back. We might well take a good portian out, but the fallout from tha cas taken will only help the Tali, and also serve to convince the general population that we cannot win, which in turn will make the political situation worse, a la vietnam.

    All in all, i do not think it is a good thing at all.
  8. And God created JDAM, and yay, those on the the end off it said SIHT!!! AGHH! FCUK!!! AGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
  9. Circus Pony said..

    No it should be seen as a deeply worrying thing. In spite of reconstruction and much lauded initiatives, the Taleban is growing in strength and support. They are also better funded and better equipped in spite of our efforts.

    Actually, we are very good at it, it's the way we seem to have been fighting thus far.

    Not when it's on ground and timing of their choosing, which it has been as the French found out. If you want them to attack en masse, you have to control the ground, the time and provide sufficient reason for them to come in and be broken. Controlling the Opium crop and their funding would be a good start. Not destroy it, to create even more pissed off recruits.
    Like 'shock and awe'? We're not fighting an enemy trained to fight using conventional tactics. You're asking the Taleban to stand still so we can hit them. That is not going to happen is it. I can guarantee the Taleban have got the timings down to a spilt second for reactive fire, from Mortars to Fast Air. Like highly skilled bank robbers, they know exactly how long they have before the other team turn up to banjo them stupid.

    Their attacks are based on engage and bug-out. The very very worrying thing is that in areas they have put in a massed effort, are ones where we couldn't get a big QRF out to engage, like the American SF det last month, like the French this week They knew that , they go for targets in force, that cannot be reinforced quickly.

    Please do, but start with Dien Bien Phu. A fortified position, with Artillery and Air Support, with a large conventional force in defence, many of whom were veterans of conventional warfare. What happened?

    What do you base this assumption on? General Sir Gerald Templar in Malaya fought according to 'their rules' and won. We did the same in Kenya, and the same in Indonesia. We won all those. The Americans had great success in small team insertions, until impatience and pressure at home , as well as the threat of the collapse of the South Vietnamese Government during Tet, led to Westmoreland screaming for more and more troops. In the end, the Americans bombed the NVA back to the table in Paris, through Linebacker 1 and 2.

    Your thrust, is based on a flawed premise. They will come and attack us on ground and time of our choosing. They just won't, unless the bait is sufficient to force them to do so. The Taleban are fighting to their strengths, lots of cheap manpower and firepower and high mobility.

    It is the way they have always fought, from the 1st Afghan War, through to the defeat of the Russians, to the present day. Lightly armed , high mobility, constantly hampering our ability to engage them conventionally by hampering our mobility through IED's or Road/track denial.

  10. Some of the sizes quoted should be taken with a pinch of salt. The source of this information tends to be from the ANP who are notorious for over quoting quantities of attackers in a bid to get us to send Air or flood the area with ISAF troops.

    The likelihood of the Taleban engaging our forces in such large numbers is low due to the pasting they took when confronting us conventionally through 06 -07.
    That is not to say conventional opportunistic attacks will not take place as was proved the other day.
  11. The Taliban are certainly trying(very !!).Moving to a phase where they attack in large numbers,is a risk for them,as they will not come out well,from a pitched battle on the ground chosen by ISAF.It reminds me a bit of the Dhofar war,when the enemy decided on at least 3 occasions to come out in strength,and chose the ground well.On the first we met the main enemy force,going across our front.The only cover was rapidly constructed sangers,made from the small stones around,and folds in the ground.Even 'though the enemy had no air,they used mortars,spaghins and airburst RPG to good effect.This contact was judged a draw.They tried twice again,and did not win either time.Once was at Mirbat.

    If ISAF can hold their nerve,and try to keep on good ground,they can survive these large encounters,with good air and good leadership IMHO.However casualties will be produced,by these large encounters.IEDs and mines are a constant threat,best avoided by keeping off roads,using helis,and doing a lot of tabbing.
  12. PTP - good points - when I was on Herrick I did a fairly detailed run down of the Talibs in MSQ and the numbers stacked up in one particular engagment to a couple of hundred (not ANP figures - the result of detailed analysis). Did we win there? Depends on your definition of winning but it was quite obvious that despite those numbers and despite the assets deployed that they are masters of what they do - as PTP says they know how long to hang around etc etc.

    All this gung ho bulls!t about Javelin, A-10 etc etc is not addressing the problem - we have to dominate them by owning their territory and we can't and won't ever be able to do that because we quite simply don't have the numbers.
  13. Agreed and if they should get their hands on decent ground to air weapons their present tactics may well prove to be a seminal point in the present campaign. If the Iranians up the anti against the west they may make every effort to supply such devices.
  14. Absolutely true. No use our patrols venturing out into a village, clearing Taliban then leaving it for them to move back into later.

    It's all about hearts and minds, and looking more like a battle of wills and attrition.
  15. As a long-ceased soldier looking at this from a civilian viewpoint I see the increase in capability to mount large scale attacks as very significant. Sooner or later, they are going to get right inside a compound and we will have an Alamo situation. Any enthusiasm I might have for our presence there would evaporate very quickly. 600 Taliban would have great influence over 600 odd in Westminster beyond anything so far. My time of serving and where served convinced me that the terrorist always wins once his cause has a critical mass. Long since achieved by Taliban.