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How to beat the Taliban in Afghanistan / Pakistan (and win the war on terror)

Peter Dow

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Hi I am a newbie here and this is my first post and topic!

Introduction and summary

In this short 5-minute video, I reject of the idea of peace talks with the Taliban and present an outline of my proposed strategy to beat the Taliban (and win the war on terror).

VIDEO: Peter Dow's "no" to Taliban's surrender terms. Afpak strategy for victory in war on terror.

Transcripts from the video -

CBS said:
Scott Pelley said -

"Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made news Wednesday when he said the combat role for U.S. troops in Afghanistan could end next year instead of 2014. Today, he took a step back -- insisting that U.S. forces will remain combat ready -- even as they transition into their new role of training Afghan troops.

Another part of the U.S. strategy involves getting the Taliban to hold peace talks with the Afghan government. Clarissa Ward spoke with some Taliban representatives where they live, in Pakistan. "

Clarissa Ward said -

"They call him the "Father of the Taliban," one of Pakistan's most well-known and hard-line Islamists.

We visited Sami ul Haq at his religious school near the Afghan border. Many Afghan Taliban leaders and fighters studied there, earning it the nickname the "University of Jihad." ..

Peter Dow said:
I said -

"So the Deans of Jihad have dictated terms to the West, the terms they propose of the West's surrender to the Jihadis in the war on terror.

So what should the response of the West be? Should we surrender to the Jihadis, or should we fight to win?

This guy Sami ul Haq should be a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp along with his University of Jihad colleagues, his controllers from the Pakistani ISI and his financial backers from Saudi Arabia.

The US and Western allies ought to name Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as "state sponsors of terrorism".

There ought to be drone strikes on the University of Jihad. (Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak, Pakistan)

We ought to seize control of Pakistani and Saudi TV satellites and use them to broadcast propaganda calling for the arrest of all involved in waging terrorist war against the West.

It just seems very poor tactics for our military to be risking life and limb in the minefields of Afghanistan yet at the strategic level our governments and businesses are still "trading with the enemy".

As the Star Trek character Commander Scott might have said -

"It's war, Captain but not as we know it.""

The desire for "peace talks" with the enemy is where poor generals with a failed war strategy end up.

Why would NATO and specifically the US want to encourage "peace talks" with the enemy Taliban? Why not simply crush the enemy? What's the political or military issue here that might mean "peace talks" would be part of an exit strategy for the US and allies?

Key failures have been -

  • Weak strategic thinking and planning by US and then NATO generals has dragged out the Western intervention in Afghanistan since 2001 and caused far more casualties to our soldiers than was ever necessary.

  • The military general staff has lacked vision about the enemy and failed to comprehend and react appropriately to intelligence reports that Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadi terror groups are proxies for hostile states, typically managed from Pakistan and funded from Saudi Arabia.

This 2-hour video is of a British TV programme which explains in great detail the role of the Pakistani state via the ISI (Inter-services intelligence) has in supporting the Taliban's war against our forces in Afghanistan.

VIDEO: BBC Documentary - "SECRET PAKISTAN - Double Cross / Backlash" (2 hours)

  • Military strategic essentials have been neglected, such as - when occupying territory, always ensure secure supply routes from one strong point to another. Instead NATO-ISAF forces in Afghanistan have been deployed in isolated bases, deployed more like tethered goats as bait for the enemy than a conquering or liberating army.

  • Some combination of military incompetence by the generals and a preference for appeasement on the part of the civilian political leadership has perversely left the West bribing our enemies within the Pakistani terrorist-proxy-controlling state and continuing business-as-usual with our enemies in the Saudi jihadi-financing state.

My 4-point plan to beat the Taliban and win the war on terror

Its never too late to learn lessons and adopt an alternative competent and aggressive military strategy. I have already mentioned the outline points of my plan but I will explain those in a little more here and then provide a lot more detail in subsequent posts.

Point 1

* The US and Western allies ought to name Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as "state sponsors of terrorism". We ought to name in addition, the other oil-rich Arab kingdoms who are also financial state sponsors of terrorism. This has implications such as ending bribes and deals with back-stabbing hostile countries and instead waging war against our enemies with the aim of regime change or incapacitating the enemy so that they can do us little more harm. The war could be of varying intensity depending on the enemy concerned and how they respond to our initial attacks, whether they wish to escalate the war or surrender to our reasonable demands.

Point 2

* There ought to be drone strikes on the University of Jihad. (Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak, Pakistan) In addition, we ought to employ aerial bombing of all other bases for the Taliban in Pakistan. This may have to be extended to include certain Pakistani state bases which are supporting the Taliban - such as the Pakistani ISI headquarters mentioned a lot in the BBC documentary "SECRET PAKISTAN". If this is not handled very carefully, it could escalate into open war with the Pakistani military. I will explain how to manage Pakistan later.

Point 3

* We ought to seize control of Pakistani and Saudi TV satellites and use them to broadcast propaganda calling for the arrest of all involved in waging terrorist war against the West. These satellites are made, launched and maintained by Western companies and should be easy to take over. Other satellites provided to the enemy by non-Western countries could be jammed or destroyed. Air strikes against the enemy's main terrestrial TV transmitter aerials is another option to silence enemy propaganda.

Point 4

* When occupying territory, always ensure secure supply routes from one strong point to another. I will provide a lot of details about how this can be done militarily.
2. Bomb the enemy in Pakistan

More on point 2 of the plan. Air strikes, bombing raids, missiles, drone attacks on enemy bases in Pakistan.

Bomb Taliban Jihadi indoctrination bases in Pakistan.

I am suggesting that our forces bomb the Taliban Headquarters known as "the University of Jihad" or Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak, 50 kilometres (31 miles) east of the provincial capital, Peshawar.

More about the place in this BBC webpage

BBC NEWS | South Asia | The 'university of holy war'

The significance of this place is that it is the main recruitment and command centre for the Taliban which must be known to our military intelligence officers and so it is a mystery why they have not advised our generals to bomb this place before now or if they did advise our generals to bomb it why they didn't actually bomb it?

It makes no sense in a war to give the enemy headquarters a free pass and immunity from being targeted. It just makes their commanders feel untouchable which is not how we want them to feel. We want them arrested or dead or in great fear that soon they will be arrested or dead and bombing their HQ gives them that idea.

Our forces do not have ground forces close enough to use artillery to destroy this target so that leaves NATO to use its aerial power - drones and bomber planes, to bomb the target from the air.

So apart from not wanting to use nuclear weapons on such a weak target which would be over-kill, I think bombing using the very heaviest conventional bombs, MOABs or heavy bombing from B52s or C130s is appropriate.

So a "MOAB" would be one of those.

Ultimate Weapons- Mother of all Bombs (YouTube)

Which has a blast radius of 450 feet or 137 metres.

Heavy bombing could be used to totally level such targets, or turn the target site into one huge crater field - obliterate it. Give the Jihadis a demonstration that they won't ever forget!

Then if the Taliban and Jihadi leaders relocate to a new recruitment, indoctrination and command base, blast that to pieces as well.

Our forces will have to establish air superiority over the target areas to allow not only unmanned drones but piloted heavy bombers with a much heavier bomb load to over-fly the area reasonably safely.

How to manage Pakistan

If and when Pakistan objects to our plans to aerial bomb these enemy indoctrination bases we should tell them that because our view is that Pakistan does not control the ground there to our satisfaction - because Pakistani police or military have not arrested and handed over the likes of the Darul Uloom Haqqania and other Taliban leaders operating on the ground for removal to Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and not closed down the University of Jihad and other Taliban bases then the Pakistan military don't deserve control of the air space over that ground which they don't satisfactorily control.

So we can say "Sorry" if the Pakistanis don't like this violation of their sovereignty but the needs of war mean this is something we must do. We wouldn't intend to permanently deprive Pakistan of control over its air space; this would be a temporary measure until the war on terror is won.

Pakistan had their chance to arrest or kill the Taliban leaders in their Pakistan bases but now it is too late so we are going to flatten the Taliban bases in that part of Pakistan from the air and we need total air superiority over the target area in order to protect our pilots.

The Pakistan government and military has complained about drone strikes in parts of Pakistan but Pakistan has not gone to war with us about it, thankfully.

Hopefully, the Pakistanis will not want to contest air superiority with their military but if they do decide to fight to resist our air-superiority where we need it to bomb the Taliban then we must be prepared to take out all nearby Pakistani ground to air missile batteries and any air fighters they send against us to contest air superiority.

If the Pakistanis decide to fight us over control of Pakistan's air space then of course there is a risk this could escalate to all-out war if the Pakistanis really want to make a casus belli out of the sovereignty issue and the matter of us requiring to destroy the Taliban so possibly we should make it clear to the Pakistanis that the US President or the NATO supreme commander have the option to use nuclear weapons against Pakistani military bases anywhere in Pakistan if that was necessary to win an all-out war with Pakistan.

That's not our aim to escalate to an all-out war with Pakistan here but Pakistan should be careful not to escalate the situation from one where we need to go after the Taliban only into one where the official Pakistan military gets dragged into a war with us unnecessarily.

This risk of having to fight and win an all-out war with Pakistan is a lesser risk than failing to defeat the Taliban, withdrawing from Pakistan having achieved little to secure Afghanistan and thereby giving encouragement to Jihadis the world over to commit more acts of terrorism and war elsewhere in the world including in our homelands. So Pakistan should not force us to make that choice of two risky options because their defeat is preferable to our own defeat in our opinion.

Pakistan should avoid war with the West by stepping back and allowing us to destroy the Taliban in Pakistan because it is the Taliban and the Jihadis who are the true enemies of the Pakistani and Afghan people. We are the friends of the people of Pakistan and we will prove that by defeating their and our enemy, the Taliban and associated Jihadis.

Hopefully the Pakistanis will back off and let us bomb the Taliban without threat from Pakistan's air defences. We should tell Pakistan that we are doing them a favour which they will thank us for in the long run though we appreciate the embarrassment for them in the short term.

Targeting the University of Jihad, Akora Khattak

Here are the co-ordinates for Akora Khattak.

Geohack - Akora Khattak

34° 0′ 2.17″ N, 72° 7′ 18.06″ E

and if you look on Google Maps the co-ordinates for Akora Khattak seems to be centred right on the Darul Uloom Haqqania / University of Jihad.

That location is in a built-up area (of course the cowards would use civilian human shields) so using the MOAB is bound to do a fair amount of collateral damage to surrounding buidings and people. So the word should go out now - evacuate Akora Khattak and don't live within 5 miles of any such jihadi university otherwise you could be seriously inconvenienced.

The target area of the campus of University of Jihad looks to be about 100 metres x 100 metres. Hard to guess from the satellite photo.

Here is the Jihadis' own website for the base International Islamic University: Darul Uloom Haqqania which has a number of photographs and is helpfully in English.

Anyway a MOAB on that lot is certainly going to spoil their day and their terror-war plans.
4. Secure supply routes for Afghanistan. Overview from 'Warlord Inc.'

There's a lot of information here so I will start with a post presenting an overview of the issues and problems starting with this CBS news story which identifies a critical weakness in our military configuration - poorly defended supply lines whose vulnerability the enemy exploits to gain funds for its insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"U.S. funds our enemy Taliban's Afghan war" (YouTube)

U.S. Tax Dollars Fueling Afghan Insurgency
CBS said:
House Investigation: Private Contractors Paying Warlords, Criminals to Get Supplies to U.S. and NATO Bases
Lara Logan reports for CBS Evening News

(CBS) Billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are fuelling corruption in Afghanistan and funding the insurgency, according to a six-month investigation by the House subcommittee on National Security and Foreign affairs.

The committee's chairman, Rep. John F. Tierney, D-Mass., told CBS News: "the business is war and the war is business and you've got 'Warlord Inc.' going on over there."

Committee investigators found that private contractors in Afghanistan have been paying local warlords, criminals, government officials and a list of others for security on Afghanistan's roads, to get much needed supplies to U.S and NATO bases. But even worse, anecdotal evidence indicates that U.S. tax dollars are also going into the hands of the Taliban, who own many of the roads and areas through which the trucking convoys have to pass, reports CBS News chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan.


Download Warlord, Inc. Extortion and Corruption Along the U.S. Supply Chain in Afghanistan - Right-click, Save Target As ...

Hillary Clinton said:
We have to do a better job in the international side to coordinate our aid, to get more accountability for what we spend in Afghanistan. But much of the corruption is fueled by money that has poured into that country over the last eight years. And it is corruption at every step along the way, not just in Kabul.

You know, when we are so dependent upon long supply lines, as in Afghanistan, where everything has to be imported, it’s much more difficult than it was in Iraq, where we had Kuwait as a staging ground to go into Iraq. You offload a ship in Karachi and by the time whatever it is – you know, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfasts or anti-IED equipment – gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money.

– Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
December 3, 2009
Supplying along a land route (road and/or railway) through friendly territory is easy enough. Supplying through a war-zone, or bandit country requires a military approach, something like this.

Secure supply route border defences plan diagram

My plan is to establish a secure wide border either side of the supply route to keep enemy mortar and rocket launcher teams out of range of the supply line.

Apparently, the Taliban are being supplied indirect fire weapons from Iran so defenders need to be prepared to expect attacks using weapons such as 120 mm heavy mortars, with a range of 6200 metres and 107 mm rocket launchers with a range of 8500 metres.

So regretfully there is no avoiding the requirement for compulsory purchase of land and eviction of occupiers along a 19 kilometre or 12 mile wide corridor, the whole length of the supply route.

More aggressively NATO might like to consider long-range missile attacks against Iranian weapons productions facilities in Iran to dissuade the Iranians from supplying the Taliban.

Secure border for a supply route - 19 kilometres or 12 miles wide


Secure supply route border defences plan diagram (large - 960 x 1374 pixels)

As can be seen in the diagram, the border perimeter defences are much the same whether you are securing a railway or a road.

Diagram features. Explained for secure Afghanistan supply routes.

  • Dangerous ground Enemy forces such as the Taliban, Afghan warlords or Iranian proxies may be attacking the supply route from here
  • Vehicle barrier - deep trench / giant boulders / steep slope - so that truck bombs cannot be driven onto the route
  • STOP - Police check-point - police check civilians are unarmed and those in police or military uniform are genuine. Needs to be very robust so as to survive an enemy truck bomb.
  • Barbed wire - enough to keep out people and larger animals - so more than a horse can jump or cattle can trample over
  • No Pedestrians! Cleared ground Target zone for the machine gunners. A hostile intent should be assumed if an intruder is seen here and the intruder should be shot. The ground needs to be cleared of cover so that intruders can be easily spotted and cannot sneak their way past the machine gunners.
  • GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes 3 man crew. Armour should be able to withstand an RPG hit and contains one machine gun with an effective range to 1000 metres, such as PKM or better. One every 1000 metres on both borders should be manned 24/7. Binoculars, automatic rifles such as AK47 and night vision for 3. Two or more other gun positions per 1000 m on each border are normally unmanned and don't need the expense of real guns sitting there all the time. Such extra positions confuse attackers and serve as firing positions for mobile reaction teams to occupy in emergencies and who can bring additional weapons with them.
    Which machine gun?
    For the on-duty-shift manned pillboxes, I suppose the better (longer effective range, heavier the bullet) a machine gun the better. At a minimum the plan needs a machine gun with a 1000 metre effective range to keep Taliban RPG out of range of the pillbox.

    Ideally I suppose a heavy machine gun (say 12.7 mm ammo, 1800 metres effective range) with its longer range would be best for stopping an advance of the enemy and would give enemy snipers and heavy machine guns at long ranges something to worry about though I think the plan would work well with a medium machine gun (say 7.6 mm ammo, 1500 metres effective range).

    The disadvantage about the heavy machine gun is it is a more difficult 2-man carry when the team decide to move it to another pillbox to confuse the enemy but the extra range and fire-power of a heavy machine gun may well be worth the carry.

    I am very keen to suggest armoured sights which allow the machine-gunner to fire accurately despite incoming sniper or machine gun fire intended to suppress the pillbox.

    If a tank-crew machine-gunner can fire from inside his tank by virtue of armoured sights, without being suppressed, so should a well designed pillbox, in my opinion.

    Squad automatic weapons or light machine guns (say, 5.56 mm ammo, 900 metres effective range) would be better stored in the APC to be quickly carried into the empty pillboxes to defend an emergency attack and such lighter machine guns are also useful in the APC for responding to an attack anywhere in the secure corridor.
  • Access road Where authorised traffic and people can access or leave the supply route.
  • Mortar teams' ground Defender mortar teams arriving from mobile response depots should set up somewhere here to fire at the enemy in the dangerous ground. The mortar teams' ground should have features to help to win mortar duels with the enemy such as observation points on higher ground or tall structures to serve as observation towers.
  • Safe building ground Somewhere relatively safe to build a heliport, runway, supply store or other facility or base.
  • Supply route The road and / or railway we are defending
  • Crossing Where the access road crosses a supply route railway
  • Station - Railway station to load and unload supplies and people onto and off the supply trains.
  • Cross-roads - A four-way junction where the access road crosses the supply road.
  • Mobile reaction depot - contains single armoured fighting vehicle. This is also where the off-duty mess is so that soldiers are available to react to sustained attacks anywhere along the supply route. One every 2km. Contains additional infantry weapons and ammunition such as additional machine guns, automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, mortars and the rest.
  • Armoured personnel carrier Such as an up-armoured humvee. Most mobile reaction depots have one of those. To transport soldiers to the proximity of the enemy attack where soldiers dismount to fight.
  • Infantry fighting vehicle or armoured combat vehicle. With stronger armour and able to fire on the enemy from enhanced weapons mounted to the vehicle, as well as able to perform the soldier transport role of the APC. Ideally the defenders would prefer the more powerful IFVs to the battle taxi APCs but fewer mobile reaction depots house IFVs because IFVs cost more and so fewer are available to the defenders than the lower performing APCs.

Secure supply route protection force organisation

I am proposing a dedicated force within the Afghan army to secure main supply routes through Afghanistan.


Ranks in increasing order of seniority -

  • Gunner
  • Master Gunner
  • Team Leader
  • Shift Officer
  • Depot Commander
  • Reaction Captain
There will be higher officer ranks yet to be specified.

Duties of the ranks.

1. Gunner - infantry soldier, serves as a member of a 3-man team which serves on one GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes position normally for an 8-hour shift.

A Gunner performs other routine duties for an hour or two each day in addition to his 8-hour shift at the gun position at the nearest Mobile reaction depot under the supervision of his Team Leader, Shift Officer and Depot Commander at which location he has quarters in the depot mess.

A Gunner can also be called to emergency duty when required.

Gunners must be able to
  • see well
  • operate the machine gun
  • fire accurately
  • reload the machine gun,
  • change the barrel on the machine gun
  • use the guns' optical sights and night sights
  • use the binoculars and night-vision equipment
  • be comfortable in a GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes position,
  • point out where the No Pedestrians! Cleared ground is and where it ends and where allowed ground behind the gun positions is,
  • understand that he is forbidden to enter onto the No Pedestrians! Cleared ground on or off duty, even if ordered to do so by anyone in his team because he may be shot if he does so,
  • understand that he is ordered on and off his duty shift at the GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes position only by his own Shift Officer and own Depot Commander and he cannot be relieved of duty by his Team Leader nor by a more senior ranking Master Gunner, nor by any other Shift Officer nor Depot Commander nor by any more senior officer whom he does not know.
  • understand that while on duty he is not to surrender his personal assault rifle (such as an AK47) to any person, even to someone in his own team. Therefore his Team Leader cannot relieve him of duty nor demand that any Gunner surrender his personal weapon,
  • understand that it is the Gunner's job when on duty, his job, to shoot on sight anyone on the No Pedestrians! Cleared ground coming or going, even someone dressed in Afghan army uniform, of whatever rank who could be an intruder dressed in disguise or even be a colleague who is deserting in that direction. If he is not manning the machine gun at the time he is to use his personal assault rifle to shoot the person on the No Pedestrians! Cleared ground if they are in range, but he is not to follow in hot pursuit anyone onto the No Pedestrians! Cleared ground because again he may be shot.
  • understand pillbox defensive tactics as follows.
Pillbox defensive tactics
Sadly, the Taliban are not so obliging as to try to rush a machine gun position since one machine gun could probably take them all out if they were all to charge it clambering through barbed wire over open ground.

The pillbox machine guns would not be used for suppressing the enemy and therefore blasting away at where you thought an enemy was to keep his head down is just a waste of ammunition and overheats the guns to no good purpose.

The tactics to be employed for the pillboxes are different from a fight on a random battlefield where both sides are evenly vulnerable to fire and so suppressive fire make some sense.

Suppressive fire is of use on a random battlefield to keep the enemy's head down while other comrades move to get a better attacking position. Well the defenders won't be changing position. They will keep their positions in the pillbox so suppressive fire make less sense here.

Our machine gunners should have armoured telescopic sights and therefore only bother actually firing if you have the enemy clearly in your sights and then the first shot is the one that counts.

Some machine guns have a single-shot fire mode with telescopic sights and those are the machine guns we need. Single-shot will most likely be the mode used most often when you spot someone trying to sneak their way past the guns or if you can see a sniper or heavy machine gunner at an effective range, say 1800 metres or less for a heavy machine gun with telescopic sights, less for a lighter machine gun.

I seriously doubt that the enemy would ever do a mass charge across open barbed wire ground which would necessitate firing on full-auto and changing barrels but if they do then fine it is their funeral.

So yes, the gunners would need to know how to change a barrel but if they ever do, I will be questioning their tactics.

If an enemy is blasting away from a machine gun at extreme ineffective range - 2000 metres or more at the pillbox and only the occasional round is even hitting the pillbox then even though it is tempting to return fire blasting back at the position I would not even bother returning fire because that simply gives away your position and may not hit him at extreme range anyway.

Such distant firing is probably to lure the defender to return fire and identify which pillbox is manned, so as to know which pillbox to target with RPGs, recoilless rifles or guided missiles or distant fire could be to distract your attention and rather than fire back, grab your binoculars or night vision and see who is trying to sneak up on the position or past the guns. When you spot them and have an easy kill - then open fire, but in single-shot mode because that is all you will need.

The tactics change if you have a well-armoured position that cannot be suppressed.

I repeat the pillbox machine-gun is not to suppress the enemy. We want the enemy to stick their heads up and get closer to shoot at the pillbox, so the defenders can carefully target them and kill them on single-shot mode. We want the enemy to think they can sneak past the guns so we wait until they are an easy kill and only then take them out.
  • perform other duties as supervised by the higher ranks.
2. Master Gunner - skills-based promoted ranks for Gunners with additional specialist skills such as
  • weapons maintenance,
  • binocular and night-vision maintenance,
  • vehicle driving and basic maintenance - checking and maintaining tyre pressure, fuel and oil levels, etc.
  • infantry fighting vehicle specialist
  • mortar team skills,
  • first aid,
  • communications - operating telephone (landline and mobile / cell ) and radio.
Master Gunners get an appropriately and differently designed skills badge and salary increment for each specialist skill learned. So typically that would be a badge with a machine-gun icon for weapons' maintenance, a badge with an APC-icon for vehicle driving and basic maintenance and so on. A Master Gunner with more badges and skills outranks a Master Gunner with fewer badges and skills.

3. Team leader A promoted post. The most experienced and able Gunner in each team of 3 on a GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes position.

Team leaders should have multiple specialist skills and in particular the communications specialist skills is one of the required skills to be eligible to become a Team Leader. Team leaders are always the senior ranking members in every 3-man team irrespective of badges and skills. So a Master Gunner with, say, 5 skill badges does not outrank a Team Leader with, say, only 4 skills badges.

4. Shift officer - normally on duty back at the Mobile reaction depot and in command and in radio, mobile (cell) or land-line telephone contact with 4 teams, which is 12 men, on duty for an 8-hour shift. The shift officer acts as a deputy commander for the shift for 4 GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes and for the Mobile Reaction Depot.

The Shift Officer is also in radio, mobile (cell) or land-line telephone contact with Shift Officers in neighbouring Mobile reaction depots. The Shift Officer decides whether or not to consult the Depot commander in response to a request for assistance from any of the 4 teams under his command or to a request for assistance from a Shift Officer in a neighbouring Mobile Reaction Depot.

5. Depot commander - in command of one Mobile reaction depot , the vehicle, weapons and everything therein. Commands the 3 Shift officers and 12 teams which totals 39 men under his command. He can declare a depot emergency, and call the off-duty shifts in the mess back on emergency duty.

The Depot Commander can order the depot's vehicle and men to attend and to defend the GUN - Fortified machine gun nests / pillboxes under attack or order mortar teams into action from the Mortar teams' ground.

In an emergency, the Depot Commander notifies his immediate superior officers, the Reaction Captains who are the reaction director and deputy reaction director assigned command responsibility for his Mobile Reaction Depot.

6. Reaction Captain
  • has some command responsibility for the reactions of 8 neighbouring Mobile Reaction Depots
  • is the reaction director for the central 4 depots of these 8 neighbouring depots
  • is the deputy reaction director for the peripheral 4 depots of these 8 neighbouring depots.

Reaction Captains direct Mobile Reaction Depots

The diagram illustrates how the command responsibility of neighbouring Reaction Captains is organised.

Mobile Reaction Depots 1 & 2
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain C
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain A

Mobile Reaction Depots 3 & 4
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain A
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain C

Mobile Reaction Depots 5 & 6
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain A
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain D

Mobile Reaction Depots 7 & 8
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain D
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain A

Mobile Reaction Depots 9 & 10
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain D
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain B

Mobile Reaction Depots 11 & 12
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain B
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain D

Mobile Reaction Depots 13 & 14
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain B
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain E

Mobile Reaction Depots 15 & 16
- the reaction director is Reaction Captain E
- the deputy reaction director is Reaction Captain B

This overlapping organisation ensures that emergencies which are declared at any Mobile Reaction Depot can be supported if needs be by Reaction Captains with responsibility for the depot under attack ordering neighbouring depots on either side to react to the emergency.

A vehicle is assigned to each Reaction Captain who routinely drives to visit the 8 Mobile Reaction Depots for which he has command responsibility for daily meetings with the Depot Commanders and with the other 2 Reaction Captains he shares depot command responsibility with.

The Reaction Captains can arrange to receive a salute at attention from each off-duty shift twice a week with an opportunity for the Reaction Captains to boost morale by reminding the Gunners that every Reaction Captain has 8 Mobile Reaction Depots and 320 soldiers under his command and that the 2 Reaction Captains with command responsibility for a particular depot have between them 480 soldiers under their command.

So in emergencies the Secure Supply Route Protection Force is well organised to defeat any attack the enemy dares to try against any part of the supply route. They shall not pass! (No passeran!)

The Reaction Captain has a captain's office and quarters adjacent to one of the 4 Mobile Reaction Depots for which he is the reaction director and the Depot Commander of that particular Mobile Reaction Depot also serves as the Reaction Captain's secretary to take telephone calls to the Reaction Captain's Office if he is out of his office and quarters at the time.

Being so mobile in his daily routine, the Reaction Captain must be contactable via radio or mobile (cell) telephone when he is out of his office.

In the event of a major attack, the Reaction Captain will set up a tactical command headquarters at his office to direct the battle and call for further reinforcements from neighbouring Reaction Captain's offices if required.

Staff numbers

Reaction captain's office
1 office every 4 depots

161 men
  • four depots of forty men (4 x 40 = 160)
  • plus the Reaction Captain (160 + 1 = 161)

Mobile reaction depot
1 depot every 2 kilometres (1.25 miles)

40 men
  • three eight-hour shifts of thirteen men, (3 x 13 = 39)
  • plus the Depot Commander (39 + 1 = 40)
40 men per 2 kilometres = 20 men per kilometre = 32 men per mile

Depot shift
3 shifts per depot

13 men
  • four three-man gun teams, ( 4 x 3 = 12)
  • plus the Shift Officer (12 + 1 = 13)

Approximate numbers of infantry required including reserves.

For a 25% reserve of 5 reserves per kilometre, 8 reserves per mile
Force including reserves is 25 infantry per kilometre, 40 infantry per mile

For a 50% reserve of 10 reserves per kilometre, 16 reserves per mile
Force including reserves is 30 infantry per kilometre, 48 infantry per mile

Support staff
Infantry deployed in the field or on guard somewhere can require numbers of support staff (such as delivery and rubbish collection, engineers of all kinds, trainers, medical, administration, military policing etc.) which I am told can be multiples of the numbers of deployed infantry they support, depending on the support facilities offered, the quality and efficiency of the support organisation.

I believe the support staff requirements for a static guard force are somewhat different to mobile infantry advancing (or retreating) in a conventional war because the guard force's requirements for fuel and ammunition deliveries are less but a guard force may expect more in terms of base facilities - running water, electricity and so on.

I am not recommending figures for support staff because such numbers are more dependent on the infrastructure of the army and nation concerned and are independent of the details of how the infantry are deployed which is my concern here only. Numbers of support staff are to be filled in by NATO-ISAF and the Afghan government and army themselves later.

How my plan solves the issues raised in 'Warlord Inc.'

In Afghanistan, the U.S. military faces one of the most complicated and difficult supply chains in the history of warfare. The task of feeding, fueling, and arming American troops at over 200 forward operating bases and combat outposts sprinkled across a difficult and hostile terrain with only minimal road infrastructure is nothing short of herculean. In order to accomplish this mission, the Department of Defense employs a hitherto unprecedented logistics model: responsibility for the supply chain is almost entirely outsourced to local truckers and Afghan private security providers.
Transporting valuable and sensitive supplies in highly remote and insecure locations requires extraordinary levels of security.

Consider the Role of Afghan National Security Forces in Highway Security.

In the future, Afghan security forces will have a role to play in road security. Proposals to reform the convoy security scheme ought to take a medium- to long-term view of the role of Afghan security forces, while developing credible security alternatives that address the immediate U.S. military logistics needs.


Oversee Contracts to Ensure Contract Transparency and Performance.

The Department of Defense needs to provide the personnel and resources required to manage and oversee its trucking and security contracts in Afghanistan. Contracts of this magnitude and of this consequence require travel ‘outside the wire.’ For convoys, that means having the force protection resources necessary for mobility of military logistics personnel to conduct periodic unannounced inspections and ride-alongs.

My plan can achieve the "Warlord, Inc." recommendations 3 and 6, not merely to stop extortion and corruption along the supply chain but to gain a further significant advance to NATO-ISAF mission goals.

I propose secure supply route border defences and a dedicated Afghan protection force to man those defences which would achieve all along the main supply routes a level of security which is similar to the security inside a military base or fort.

"Warlord, Inc." uses the NATO-ISAF parlance of "inside the wire" to refer to the security achieved within their own NATO-ISAF bases but to virtually nowhere else in Afghanistan.

It is about time NATO-ISAF and the Afghan government and military were extending that true security "inside the wire" to more of Afghanistan. My secure supply route plan would bring more of Afghanistan "inside the wire" so to speak.


The secure supply route border defences require only authorised persons living inside the secure defences.

The general population sadly may harbour enemy agents and so must be required to live outside the border defences.

Where isolated houses and small villages can be relocated to use a suitable existing supply road then that should be done with compensation for the relocated residents and landowners.

Where the settlements along the old supply route are too big to move then new roads should be built for a new supply route, by-passing those bigger settlements by at least 6 miles.
I like how you jump from international policies to the terms of reference for an Afghan soldier manning a pill-box (must "see well") - such comprehensive depth in 4 small posts.  And the Star Wars captioning combined with the Star Trek music to the commentary rocks!

Supplying the Troops

Afghanistan … is a landlocked country whose neighbors range from uneasy U.S. allies, such as Pakistan and Uzbekistan, to outright adversaries, such as Iran.
The fastest route to Afghanistan is by air. However, the lack of airport infrastructure places significant constraints on the military’s ability to rely on air transport to supply the troops. Afghanistan has only 16 airports with paved runways, and of those, only four are accessible to non-military aircraft (including contractor-operated cargo planes). Air transport is also the most costly shipping option. Thus, while air transport is available, it is limited to personnel and high-priority cargo. Only about 20 percent of cargo reaches Afghanistan by air.

Then let NATO-ISAF supply fully 100 percent of its cargo by air by increasing by 5-fold the airport infrastructure and capacity of Afghanistan, building perhaps one or two more big hub airports around the country or a few more long runways and additional cargo handling facilities at existing airports like Bagram or Kandahar - to accept the incoming international flights, such as Hercules C-130s, then from those large hub airports transfer the cargo into smaller planes to fly from new short runways at those few hub airports on to dozens of new smaller airports all around Afghanistan.

To pay for this, money can be reallocated to airport construction by rationalising some of the 200 most expensive and remote forward operating bases and combat outposts. Close those which cost more than they are worth.

Retreat to the really important bases, build airfields for them and build secure supply route defences to and from them and that's a very strong defensive position from which to launch offensive operations against the enemy.

No longer will the legitimate military and civilian traffic require the permission of warlords to travel along Afghanistan's highways.

Securing an air base. Example - Camp Bastion / Camp Leatherneck


Bastion Airport (NATO Channel on YouTube)


Camp Bastion
Wikipedia said:
Camp Bastion is the main British military base in Afghanistan. It is situated northwest of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand Province.

It is the largest British overseas military camp built since World War II.

Built in early 2006, the camp is situated in a remote desert area, far from population centres. Four miles long by two miles wide, it has an airstrip and a field hospital and full accommodation for the 2000 men and women stationed there. The base is divided into 2 main parts, Bastion 1 and Bastion 2. Bastion 2 includes two tenant camps, Camp Barber (US) and Camp Viking (DK). Bastion also adjoins Camp Leatherneck (US) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) Camp Shorabak. Bastion's airstrip can handle C-17s; C-130 transport aircraft; Apache and Chinook helicopters are forward-deployed at the Heliport.

Camp Bastion doubles in size
Ministry of Defence News said:
Camp Bastion, the lynchpin of British, and increasingly American, operations in Helmand, is a desert metropolis, complete with airport, that is expanding at a remarkable pace. Report by Sharon Kean.

Bastion exists for one reason: to be the logistics hub for operations in Helmand. Supply convoys and armoured patrols regularly leave its heavily-defended gates. They support the military forward operating bases, patrol bases and checkpoints spread across Helmand province.

Well here's another reason for Bastion to exist - to become a logistics hub for operations across Afghanistan, well beyond Helmand province.

Colonel Mathie said:
The biggest project is the airfield, a new runway and air traffic control tower. When it's finished we'll be able to put our TriStar airliners straight in here instead of going to Kandahar, allowing us to get strategic air traffic into Bastion. That will be a big development for us.
More ...

Well here's another reason for Bastion to exist - to become a logistics hub for operations across Afghanistan, well beyond Helmand province.

With strategic airlift capacity, think strategically. A few more runways like the new longer runway at Bastion and Afghanistan's airfield infrastructure would be sufficient for all of NATO-ISAF force supplies to reach Afghanistan by air - removing dependence and vulnerability on Pakistan's land routes and eliminating the extortion and corruption along the Afghanistan ground supply chain, as detailed in Warlord, Inc..

After supplies are landed at the few huge hub airports - Bagram, Kandahar and Bastion - cargo could be transferred into smaller airplanes using adjacent smaller runways for connecting flights out to smaller airfields associated with NATO-ISAF forward operating bases.

Whether by luck or by design Bastion is well chosen in being far from a population centre which makes it politically feasible to impose a rigorous security exclusion zone on the ground for many miles around the airport.

Controlling the ground far around a military airport is very necessary to defend the incoming aircraft against missile attack by ensuring no enemy can get close enough to launch a missile anywhere near below where the planes descend to land.

Landing at night is not a sufficient defence. Aircraft engines and their exhaust jets are very hot and infra-red shines just as brightly at night for missiles to lock on to.

We cannot assume that the Taliban will be unable to source the most advanced ground-to-air missiles. We should assume they will source such missiles and take the necessary security precautions.

So at Bastion NATO-ISAF must control the ground in a vast security perimeter out to the horizon and beyond which means closing the nearby road to Afghan traffic and providing an alternative circuitous route for civilian traffic.

I need hardly mention the military, economic and political disaster of allowing the enemy to bring down one of our big aircraft. So this must not be allowed to happen. Therefore a very wide secure ground exclusion zone around Bastion should be imposed.

In addition, I need hardly remind people of Al Qaeda's willingness to use aircraft themselves as weapons and therefore airport air defences need to be operational and alert at all times, not just when scheduled aircraft are landing.

The progress at Bastion is very promising for the whole Afghanistan mission. It shows the way ahead.

We can contemplate one day removing the constraints limiting NATO-ISAF supplies reaching Afghanistan by air. From a limit of about 20 percent now, I foresee a 100 percent supply-into-Afghanistan-by-air strategy as both feasible and desirable.

Securing the land around Camp Bastion

RAF protecting Camp Bastion, June 27, 2012


51 Squadron RAF Regiment personnel on patrol.

UK Forces Afghanistan Blog said:
Personnel from Number 5 RAF Force Protection Wing, based at RAF Lossiemouth, have now been deployed at Camp Bastion for two months where they have responsibility for providing security at the main British base in Helmand province.

Number 5 RAF Force Protection Wing, comprising members of the Wing Headquarters, 51 Squadron RAF Regiment and 2622 (Highland) Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment, left RAF Lossiemouth on 16 April 2012 and the personnel are now two months into their deployment to Afghanistan.

They are serving with members of No 2 (Tactical) Police Squadron from RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire, soldiers from the Tonga Defence Services and elements of 16th Regiment Royal Artillery, which together form the Bastion Force Protection Wing.

Since their arrival they have taken responsibility for the security of the Camp Bastion complex, one of the busiest airfields in the world with over 28,000 people working on-site. They are also responsible for patrolling the surrounding area, covering over 600 square kilometres, to prevent insurgent attacks against the airfield and its personnel.

So it matters that Camp Bastion is well defended and I want to make sure we are using the correct tactics to secure the land around any airfield camp we are defending.

So I have some new comments to make which occurred to me after seeing that photograph of our soldiers patrolling through poppy fields. I am wondering if there are poppy fields in that 600 square kilometres around Camp Bastion?

Anyway, we don't want or need any high vegetation around the air field which would allow insurgents cover to sneak close to the base, either to launch missile attacks or to plant anti-personnel mines, I.E.D.s or anything else.

Much better if the land is cleared of all tall vegetation so that it is much easier to keep clear of threats. Short grass is good.

That may mean buying out farmers who are growing crops, buying their land around the camp, compensating them but only if they are growing worthwhile crops.

If they are growing poppy fields then they don't deserve compensation in my book.

Either way there is a big job for our engineers to clear the land all around the camp of all cover useful to an enemy. So that's clearing all the 600 square kilometres which was mentioned as being patrolled by our forces.

It is a big job to keep such a large area of land free of cover and yes it is OK to hire local Afghan labour to help with keeping the vegetation down. After all, we will have put some local farmers out of living so they'll be looking for employment.

It might be an idea to have grazing animals on the land to keep the vegetation down but I would not be surprised if the Taliban shoot grazing animals if they can but if they do that's a reminder to us that the Taliban are still out there if a reminder is ever needed.

I assume in a dry land like Afghanistan that burning vegetation is easily done and that'll be the easiest way to clear the land I suspect. So I approve a "scorched earth" policy.

At night when it is not so easy to distinguish between a farmer tending his grazing animals and an insurgent pretending to be that, I suggest that the 600 square kilometres should be an exclusion zone for everyone except Camp Bastion personnel. So all local Afghan workers who clear vegetation during the day need to go back to homes outside the 600 square kilometres every night.

This is the attitude NATO - ISAF and our base security forces need to take. We need to take ownership of all the 600 square kilometres of land which we are patrolling around Camp Bastion and optimise it for security.

It would be the same outrage if the Afghan government dares to suggest that we don't take ownership of the surrounding land, don't clear the land, and should instead allow existing cover for insurgents in land surrounding Camp Bastion as it would be if the Afghan government dared to suggest that we open the doors of the airbase itself to the Taliban.
Infanteer said:
I like how you jump from international policies to the terms of reference for an Afghan soldier manning a pill-box (must "see well") - such comprehensive depth in 4 small posts.  And the Star Wars captioning combined with the Star Trek music to the commentary rocks!
Thanks!  ;D
I don't even know where to start, if I chose to attempt to digest this.  You're all over the place, spanning from Ptes to Presidents.  If you want to discuss stuff then fine, but smaller chunks would be much better.

I suspect if people take the time to digest it, the fact that you attempted to cover so much, that the dogpiles will be coming from all angles.

Have fun!

Interesting post Peter. You have given this topic alot of thought. The one area that is paramount for success in Afghanistan but not addressed is the lack of political will to do what is necessary.Second the US and its allies are tired,worn out. Its time to pull back and rethink our approach to the GWOT. In a year or so the US and our allies will leave Afghanistan to its own internal divisions. We will still be able to reach out and kill our enemies as needed. The key to Afghanistan is Pakistan. The radicalization of Pakistan will continue to be a major problem that we wont be able to solve. However the Indians will have to look to their own self interest.No doubt we will give them the go ahead when the time comes.
So, have you presented this to anyone of any significance in England? If so, what did they say?
What is the AIM, Mr. Dow? What are we trying to do should we be doing ... and why?

I think I (and most Western governments) understood the AIM in 2001/02; I'm even fairly sure I could fathom the aim five years latere, circa 2006/07; now I'm pretty sure I cannot grasp our governemnts' aims ... nor yours.

So I ask again: what do you want us to do and why should we do it? You never get near that absolutely fundamental question, and without answering it I'm afraid that yoiur thesis is meaningless.

I'm sorry, did you say we should nuke pakistan if needs be ?

Wow, won't that piss off the neighbors a wee bit ?
Comprehensive Bombing Campaign - I think the US already tried that in one of their other wars *cough* Vietnam *cough* and we all know how that turned out.  Short of launching a full scale invasion of the Pakistani Tribal Areas the Taliban aren't going away anytime soon. 

I think what some of the others brought up is the key question that has never been answered?  What is the Aim of the mission?  What are we trying to achieve?  Like some said, we knew it 2001/2002; however, today I don't really know what our Aim is. 
glock17 said:
I'm sorry, did you say we should nuke pakistan if needs be ?

Wow, won't that piss off the neighbors a wee bit ?

I think India would be pretty happy...otherwise, probably everyone else would be a little upset me thinks.

As for the rest of this, it reminds me of how my youngest thinks when he's smoked a Cheech and Chong sized joint...just my opinion for what it's worth.  As T6 mentioned, in any war, we need the political will and backing to be able to prosecute an enemy/target to the fullest measure possible to prevent resurgence but also in a manner that will prevent backlash from all and sundry, including the people of the countries doing the target prosecution.  It's kind of like the ballet a riot unit of police has to dance - do the deed, do it successfully within the rules of the law and within the rules of optics - if something looks dodgy, it looks outright evil when edited and shown on YouTube or 6 o'clock news.  Even if you win, you lose.


All I got was the Condi Rice Rulz Homepage....
I got his repeated attempts to hook-up with women and/or be a sperm donor, as well as his fascination with Cossacks and Condi Rice. 

I think medicineman nailed it.
medicineman said:
....it reminds me of how my youngest thinks when he's smoked a Cheech and Chong sized joint...
Am I the only one to find this crazy. Unless this is the basis for an Axis and allies expansion pack it almost resembles a schizophrenic rant. Very interesting read but here on planet Earth it would most likely be logistically and politically impossible considering the bombing of a sovereign state not involved in the war as well as turning hundreds of miles of highway spanning two countries into "inside the wire".
bobbocool said:
Am I the only one to find this crazy. Unless this is the basis for an Axis and allies expansion pack it almost resembles a schizophrenic rant. Very interesting read but here on planet Earth it would most likely be logistically and politically impossible considering the bombing of a sovereign state not involved in the war as well as turning hundreds of miles of highway spanning two countries into "inside the wire".

Guess you didn't bother taking the advice and googling the author.