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The Final Marine Corps Mission in Sangin

Published Sept. 16, 2021

The final Marine Corps mission in Sangin shows a world where the Afghan National Army is able to stand on their own two feet. So, what went wrong?


At the conclusion of actual combat operations in 2018, small unit leaders from the United States Marine Corps and U.S. Army were leaving strong-pointed Afghan Army and Afghan Police positions where the government of Afghanistan could mostly stand on its own two feet. Looking at the situation from 2018 to 2021 with hindsight, is it possible for us to see what went wrong in Afghanistan?


From a combat stand-point, the Afghan National Army had every advantage going into this fighting season. Their only real weak-point was the fact that they had 400 combat outposts and positions littered around the country that could only be resupplied by air. From the start, the Afghan National Army was trained by U.S. service members to act and fight like U.S. service members. While it was impossible to get them all to act with honor, courage, and commitment, we didn't train them to morally be like us. We trained them primarily to fight and operate like us. That means, we trained them to fight like a first world military, with all of the logistical and supporting arms available to us.


For years, this strategy worked. The Afghan National Army and Police was able to hold an Afghan Government leaning stalemate against the Taliban due to the ANA and ANP's ability to fight and operate in the most austere locations of the country. This was their key weakness however, and once American support was pulled, the situation quickly began to deteriorate on the ground. The situation largely deteriorated because of the simple fact that it is logistically challenging to maintain the line of scrimmage in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.


The Afghan Airforce had a grand total of two cargo planes to resupply 400 positions. They also had very limited air superiority in the form of a small fleet of fixed and rotary wing assets. On top of this, a majority of these aircraft were serviced by under-experienced crew members who relied heavily on the support of outside American contractors. This was not enough for the ANA and ANP to stand-up and fight back against the Taliban in regions where the Taliban was better supplied and more capable of running the fight. Without supplies like, beans, bandages, and bullets, the bad guys were easily to overtake the Afghan National Army simply because the ANA could not logistically hold the line.


This is just my opinion however. It's interesting to look back at this footage from Sangin in 2018 now. With minimal support from the U.S. Airforce and American contractors, the Afghan National Army may have been able to hold the line long enough for an entire generation to fully develop under the warmth of freedom. Unfortunately, a poor decision was made to pull all logistical support from the Afghans, which I firmly believe led to the downfall of the government there. It's all hindsight however now. We'll probably never get to see Afghanistan living in the modern age of man. They'll be forever trapped in the 8th century by the barbarians we've allowed to run roughshod over the people.


We'll probably be dealing with their force projection ourselves soon enough.


josh brooks

Published Sept. 16, 2021

The final Marine Corps mission in Sangin shows a world where the Afghan National Army is able to stand on their own two feet. So, what went wrong?


At the conclusion of actual combat operations in 2018, small unit leaders from the United States Marine Corps and U.S. Army were leaving strong-pointed Afghan Army and Afghan Police positions where the government of Afghanistan could mostly stand on its own two feet. Looking at the situation from 2018 to 2021 with hindsight, is it possible for us to see what went wrong in Afghanistan?


From a combat stand-point, the Afghan National Army had every advantage going into this fighting season. Their only real weak-point was the fact that they had 400 combat outposts and positions littered around the country that could only be resupplied by air. From the start, the Afghan National Army was trained by U.S. service members to act and fight like U.S. service members. While it was impossible to get them all to act with honor, courage, and commitment, we didn't train them to morally be like us. We trained them primarily to fight and operate like us. That means, we trained them to fight like a first world military, with all of the logistical and supporting arms available to us.


For years, this strategy worked. The Afghan National Army and Police was able to hold an Afghan Government leaning stalemate against the Taliban due to the ANA and ANP's ability to fight and operate in the most austere locations of the country. This was their key weakness however, and once American support was pulled, the situation quickly began to deteriorate on the ground. The situation largely deteriorated because of the simple fact that it is logistically challenging to maintain the line of scrimmage in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan.


The Afghan Airforce had a grand total of two cargo planes to resupply 400 positions. They also had very limited air superiority in the form of a small fleet of fixed and rotary wing assets. On top of this, a majority of these aircraft were serviced by under-experienced crew members who relied heavily on the support of outside American contractors. This was not enough for the ANA and ANP to stand-up and fight back against the Taliban in regions where the Taliban was better supplied and more capable of running the fight. Without supplies like, beans, bandages, and bullets, the bad guys were easily to overtake the Afghan National Army simply because the ANA could not logistically hold the line.


This is just my opinion however. It's interesting to look back at this footage from Sangin in 2018 now. With minimal support from the U.S. Airforce and American contractors, the Afghan National Army may have been able to hold the line long enough for an entire generation to fully develop under the warmth of freedom. Unfortunately, a poor decision was made to pull all logistical support from the Afghans, which I firmly believe led to the downfall of the government there. It's all hindsight however now. We'll probably never get to see Afghanistan living in the modern age of man. They'll be forever trapped in the 8th century by the barbarians we've allowed to run roughshod over the people.


We'll probably be dealing with their force projection ourselves soon enough.


josh brooks

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