first published on December 23, 2015 by Josh
In a video recently released by Reuters, and RFE/RL, we see exactly why Helmand is once again falling into the hands of the Taliban.
In 2011 I was living between a multitude of positions, primarily out of up-armored gun trucks, all around Helmand province. We traveled all over southern Afghanistan as a Jump platoon, escorting higher ranking officials, ensuring they stayed alive while they got their combat action ribbons.
My platoon went as far north as Lashkargah where the Scottish Mountain Division was operating, and as far south as Garmsir. We often made trips to the Typhoon positions of Marjah, and we even did a little bit of work across the Helmand river in the empty desert. There are very few places inside of Helmand Province that we did not stop by for a visit.
In that time, I had the opportunity to sit in on hundreds of security council meetings and provincial shuras centered on local security. We worked with one of the strongest Kandaks in the province, and some of the best ANP officers the country had to offer. I got to watch each of these groups meet with great success in their operations, all across the province, with minimal assistance from ISAF.
I watched from a distance as the Marines on FOB Geronimo established a secondary School of Infantry. A school designed to take the Kandak soldiers, and improve on the basic fundamental skills they came to their unit with. The Marines who ran this school were top notch individuals, but they did not instruct the ANA soldiers alone. They were assisted by some of the fiercest, and most intelligent individuals the Afghan National Army had to offer.
When the Marines left Helmand Province in 2014, this is not what we left behind.
I don’t think it’s extremely necessary to point out the obvious with what you just watched. It is however, painfully obvious why the local security forces are failing. Even the videos we see coming out of Syria lately, demonstrate better weapons handling, and war-fighting tactics than this.
Where have all the effective Afghan national fighters gone? Where is the crazy Afghani-Rambo that every position had? Where are the insanely effective Afghan local leaders like Haji Abduhl Manaf, and Colonel Goulamand?
I am both confused, and concerned at what I see in the above video. We all know for a fact, that the ANA and ANP had no shortage of idiots in their ranks. We’ve all worked with them, and many of us have nearly had our heads blown off by their incompetence. However, it seems like since we left the area, these are the only guys left patrolling the streets. Where did all the Afghan warriors go?