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Old 04-20-2009, 03:32 PM   #1
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Word is…

Very glad to have information like this that comes my way from time to time. Name deleted.

Howdy folks,

April showers bring May flowers, right? I imagine that saying can also be used when describing the Taliban. Good weather with spring showers have allowed the enemy to begin the yearly pilgrimage from Pakistan into the eastern provinces of Afghanistan. The snow has finally melted from all the upper passes and the roads are trafficable for all types of transportation. Our brothers in the 82nd Airborne are finishing their final preparations and packing there bags for the trip over here. The 101st Airborne are packing up to head home as well. The Eighty Duece claims they are going to bring the fight to the enemy no matter where he is. And it's not a moment too soon. Once the U.S. initially defeated the Taliban in '01 and '02, our allies in NATO came on board. With that came a new set of rules that governs how troops here operate. The Security Council mandate created ISAF or International Security and Assistance Force. U.S., Brit, French, New Zealand, Polish and Dutch troops fall under this force. What it does is restrict the ability of forces to conduct "offensive operations without Afghan National Army involvement". In other words, "taking the fight to the enemy" is going to be mighty hard. The Afghan Army is no doubt brave, that is never the issue compared to the bumbling Iraqi's. The problem lies in the fact that the command structure for the Afghans is nearly non-existant. In the U.S. armed forces we have staff officers, each with a certain area he/she is responsible for. For example, the "2" is in charge of all intelligence aspects of a mission while the "3" controls the planning. The Afghan Generals do not use staffs. They call down to specific platoons and task them that way. So, no planning is really done without NATO doing it for them. As to the intel side, we can tell the Afghan's basically nothing. We cannot share information due to the fact that within 24 hours, Tehran and Islamabad will know it too. We, my unit, are under a different set of ROE (rules of engagement) called OEF or Operation Enduring Freedom. As an intel unit we are seperate from the ISAF chain of command. We can conduct any operation we see fit without Afghan approval. The problem is we just aren't big enough to do all the missions. Here's my point...unless NATO releases U.S. forces from the ISAF ROE, we will never be able to really fight the Taliban. Rumour is, the Obama administration is taking a look at the ROE and possibly changing it for the 82nd's arrival. I hope it's more than rumour. The Taliban is back, and they mean business. Al Qaida is more of a ghost, something to scare people with. This summer will be a decisive turn for Afghanistan. The presidential elections are also this summer. I think the one thing that makes me feel like we are making a difference is the fact that my unit is doing some things that have never been done here. The enemy is going to have a hard time hiding now. The all seeing eye from Texas is finding them in their beds, tracking their movements and killing them. When I signed up for this gig I had no idea the capabilities of our intel community. All I can say is i'm sure glad i'm on this side. Hope your all enjoying the spring weather back home. I'll be there soon enough.

blue skies,

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