6 years, 3 months ago
Bruce Rolston continues to advocate for a small footprint in Afghanistan.
A Marine LCol in Helmand: “I’m not lighting up an area where families we know and support are living in order to suppress a couple of idiots who were shooting a few long range, ineffective rounds.” Bingo.
From Tim himself, on how to do COIN in the nearly unpopulated border province of Nimruz, presenting the problem, the solution, the problem with the solution, and the solution to that problem all in one tight three-inch group:
I ask one of my brother Marines what he would do were he given this problem to solve under the historical constraints normally faced by Marine commanders fighting a small war. He replied immediately ; Q-cars, fire force and pseudo operators [references to Rhodesian COIN TTPs –B.]. Which is exactly the same thing I would say as would all of my friends who are in the business. But the only way a regimental or battalion commander could even think of doing that now would be if we sent a vast majority of the troops deployed here (along with every colonel and general not in command of troops) home.
Yes, yes, YES.
The sheer untapped potential of ANSF platoon houses with embedded enablers (not Western companies with a few doorkickers) in the cleared areas, combined with modern ISR- and CAS-enabled Rhodesian style pseudo-operators and fireforces replacing large-scale sweep ops in the uncleared Pashtun areas, with the highways patrolled by mine-resistant vehicles in the IED zones and Q-Cars (a land derivative of the Q-Ship) in the ambush zones simply boggles the mind.
But Tim has also described the intense fire fights in Helmand (and Marine Corps small unit maneuver warfare), and the Marines have requested more men to secure Helmand. In Sangin they note that “you don’t go south unless you have a lot of dudes.”
You see, the context in which Tim comments is the Nimruz Province, where most U.S. police departments could handle the problem. The insurgency is coming from Helmand, Kandahar, Kunar, Nuristan and other such parts of the AfPak region.
Bruce conflates one thing with another (“replacing large-scale sweep ops in the uncleared Pashtun areas“), and Tim isn’t – as best as I can tell – advocating a small footprint in Helmand or Kandahar or Kunar or Nuristan. And I continue to advocate a heavy footprint in those regions.