Tag Archives: Afghanistan

New Rules of Engagement from Mattis

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Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has changed the rules of engagement for those deployed in Afghanistan, no longer requiring that troops must be in contact with the enemy before opening fire. This is a welcome change within the Afghan theater, as troops will now have more opportunities to aggressively take the fight to the enemy. Part of this change will also include the dispersing of more U.S. and allied advisers to lower-level Afghan units.

The new changes were addressed during this week’s congressional hearing, where Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford stated the White House had given authorized the chance to revise the current rules of engagement, updating them to the necessary tempo needed for fighting the Taliban. While the rules of engagement are officially classified, those in country can now be expected to take faster action when combatting terrorist forces.

“We are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces,” Mattis state. “It used to be we have to basically be in contact with that enemy.”

Addressing the House Armed Services Committee, Mattis also clarified “If they are in an assembly area, a training camp, we know they are an enemy and they are going to threaten the Afghan government or our people, [Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan] has the wherewithal to make that decision.” He said that more units will now have advisors for obtaining air support, describing this change as “now being able to bring this fire support to bear where we could not [before], whether it be for proximity or [because] we were not with those units.”

Changes were expected, mainly because in recent years, senior Washington officials have pushed for less restrictive ROEs in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. President Donald Trump said he planned to ”lift restrictions and expand authorities” during last months Afghanistan strategy speech.

While the improvement opens new doors for combatting the enemy in Afghanistan, Mattis made clear that U.S. forces would continue to do everything “humanly possible” to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage.

Kabul Suicide Bomb Kills 31 and Injures over 80

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Via multiple news sources

On January 10th a Taliban insurgent wearing a Suicide Vest (SVEST) and a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) detonated near the Afghan Parliamentary Building in Kabul, killing 31 and injuring over 80 people.  The attack began with the SVEST detonation near a van followed with a VBIED detonation after Afghan police arrived on scene.

An Afghan Police spokesman said the attackers targeted Afghan Intelligence Officials.  Officials believe both Afghan Intelligence personnel and civilians are among the dead.

This is the bloodiest attack in Kabul in recent months.

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The U.S. Military is sending a Marine Task Force Back to Afghanistan

Jan 3, 2017 0 Middle East - U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nathan P. Olson with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, prepares to set up a security perimeter after exiting an MV-22 Osprey from Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron-165, while forward deployed to the Middle East, Dec. 26, 2016. Marines with 3/7 compose the ground combat element, to include the dedicated TRAP force, for SPMAGTF-CR-CC within the Central Command area of operations, spanning 20 countries. SPMAGTF-CR-CC is currently forward deployed to several host nations, with the ability to respond to a variety of contingencies rapidly and effectively. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher D. Thompson)
Jan 3, 2017
Middle East – U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Nathan P. Olson with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command, prepares to set up a security perimeter after exiting an MV-22 Osprey from Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron-165, while forward deployed to the Middle East, Dec. 26, 2016. Marines with 3/7 compose the ground combat element, to include the dedicated TRAP force, for SPMAGTF-CR-CC within the Central Command area of operations, spanning 20 countries. SPMAGTF-CR-CC is currently forward deployed to several host nations, with the ability to respond to a variety of contingencies rapidly and effectively. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher D. Thompson)

The U.S. Military announced that they will be sending a 300 man Marine TF back to Southern Afghanistan this spring to help fight again the Taliban’s annual spring offensive.  The Task Force will primarily operate in Helmand Province and is expected to undergo a 9 month deployment.  The military anticipates this to be an ongoing rotation.

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USMC Lt. Gen Beyler stated, “Afghanistan remains a dangerous and dynamic environment, and our aim, training and advising the Afghan forces, is to preserve and build upon the gains they’ve made. Marines will face risk in this new assignment.”

According to the official release “Task Force South West, made up of Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force and led by Brig. Gen. Roger Turner, Jr., will train and advise key leaders within the Afghan National Army 215th Corps and the 505th Zone National Police.”

While the Marines haven’t been to Helmand since 2014 it is a well fought area for the corps.  It’s unclear as to how much their position will include actual field operation, however it’s likely they will see some of the tougher fighting this year.

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