first published on March 7, 2018 by Josh
If there is one thing that the Taliban should have learned throughout the on-going campaign in Afghanistan, it’s that coalition forces will not hesitate to hit you with a missile. Specifically, the FGM-148 Javelin Missile system, which was fired off in massive numbers throughout Operation Enduring Freedom to eliminate Taliban fighters of all types. Mortar team on a mountain top slamming your patrol base? Shoot them with a Jav. IED team trying to make an escape into a nearby abandoned compound? Hit them with a Jav. Taliban conducting a drive by on your position from the back of a motorcycle? Time to pull out the Jav again.
Here’s the kicker for the Taliban. Most of the time, when they encountered the Jav it was their one and only experience with the weapon system. Generally speaking, when the Jav is fired, the target is destroyed. For the Taliban this means they only get to discover the true might of the FGM-148 Javelin Missile system a singular time. In the process of making that discovery for the first time, there is a strong chance that they are literally blown away by the weapon system. After the fact, only bits of Taliban fighter remain and those pieces are no longer able to swear allegiance to the terror organization. The weapon system is that effective.
When it comes to morale boosts, there is very little on the battlefield that has the impact of a successful javelin attack against your enemy. There is something extremely gratifying about watching the missile go down range towards your enemy, and then explode. After the fact, you know that your enemy is no longer a problem, and the battlefield becomes silent. In comparison, the only thing that can get a group of troops equally as excited to watch is close air support coming in to absolutely dominate the enemy for you. One can only imagine the psychological impact these powerful weapon systems have on the enemy who is receiving the damage.
The video below was recorded on OP Shal, in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan in 2011. A group of soldiers on the OP spotted a Taliban mortar team on a distant hilltop, and decided to strike the enemy quickly to decisively end the fight before it could turn into an all out brawl. The reactions of the soldiers as the missile exits the Javelin’s tube, and heads directly for the Taliban team is classic. It makes you wonder what the Taliban were thinking moments before they were removed from existence because they made the stupid decision to try and hit an American position. I’m sure they were no where near as excited about the outcome. You know what they say about playing stupid games though.