Fighting in Barawala Kalet

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 3 months ago

From an ABC News Report:

This appears to be in Kunar near the Pech Valley.  We seem to be of two minds, with our abandonment of the Pech Valley, and our simultaneous boasting of clearing operations (thanks to reader Šťoural for the reference).  We want to turn over FOB Blessing to the ANA, but send in U.S. troops because they can’t clear insurgents.  There is a paradox in the narrative because there is a paradox on the ground, and there is a paradox on the ground because there is a paradox in the strategy.

Regular readers know exactly where I stand.  We chase the insurgents into their safe havens, kill them and stay there to prevent their return.  We do it with enough troops to accomplish the objective, and we don’t pretend that bringing governance will cause the Taliban to cease and desist from their nefarious aims.  Then we send more troops to chase the ones who remain alive into their safe havens, and we kill them.  We don’t capture them because that’s ineffectual in counterinsurgency, everywhere and every time it has been tried.  We kill them – all of them.

But our strategy just hasn’t matured enough to know what our aim is.  I’ve decided on a strategy – and ISAF management hasn’t.  I may be wrong, but at least I’ve decided.

Prior: See Taliban Massing of Forces Part III for smart, knowledgeable and insightful comments from my faithful readers (some of who have been in the Kunar Province).  I am truly thankful for them.  They make this site worth reading, and certainly my prose does not.

  • DirtyMick

    that’s 1/327 (no slack) that’s the pech. that’s been their AO the whole deployment

  • DirtyMick

    Another comment to tie in with massing with forces. 327 killed a 100 taliban. pretty large element

  • Glen Tschirgi

    Pretty prose or not, Herschel, your blog is worth reading, at least in part, because you take a clear stand on these things and back it up. (And, no doubt, that is at least part of the reason that you have such well-informed and faithful readers).

  • jean

    Dirty Mick,

    I did not recognize that AO (Barawala Kalet) is that area on off shoot from one of the passes leading to Pakistan?

  • Šťoural

    No,it is Marawara district&2-327th AIR TF No Slack.(1-327th AIR=TF Bulldog,I know,I´m cheeky)Operation Strong Eagle III

    ISAF statement “realigning units”

    Since mid-February, TF Bulldog has focused on realigning units from the Pech River Valley to more densely populated and strategically important areas in Kunar Province and neighboring provinces.

    By early March, they’d completed a transition of Forward Operating Base Blessing to the Afghan National Army’s control, the largest base transferred in Afghanistan to date.

    Earlier this week, TF Bulldog closed Combat Outpost Michigan and simultaneously executed Operation Bulldog Blitz, another in a line of many offensive operations undertaken by the task force.

    U.S. forces departed both bases without expected enemy resistance.

    “I attribute that to our extensive planning, knowledge of the terrain and people; and, most importantly, to our precise execution on the ground,” said U.S. Army Capt. Robert Reynolds of Huntsville, AL, Task Force Bulldog assistant operations officer. “The enemy could not affect us, although we know he wanted to.”

    Another operation Bulldog Bite,1-327,Nov.2010,Watapur Valley,7 US KIA&60 Taliban KIA

  • Jean


    The terrain looked like area east of Marwara ( Gaki pass ) We walked that area in 2006 looking for water source for a gravity fed water system that fed the villiage. Thanks

  • DirtyMick

    Here’s an article on it:

    “He said 132 militants have been killed, 20 others wounded and another 47 captured alive during the operations in Sarkano and Marawara districts”

    The end of June last year the same thing happened. 327 went into the pass that marawara leads into. In that engagement they killed 200 taliban and captured 70.
    So with all this heavy fighting still happening I’m wondering why they shut down the Pech.

  • Šťoural

    Taliban massing force Operation Strong Eagle III,March 28 2011:

    The Silver Star recipients, U.S. Army Capt. Edward B. Bankston, commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company from Decatur, Ga., and U.S. Army Sgt. Joshua L. Bostic, a squad leader from Spring City, Tenn., assigned to Company C, both from 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, said the weather during Operation Strong Eagle III in Marawara District was anything but sunny.

    As soon as the battalion air assaulted into the Taliban stronghold, March 28, they realized something was wrong. More than 200 insurgent fighters were positioned inside and outside of the villages of Barawolo Kalay and Sarowbay with the possibility of an additional 200 fighters reinforcing the area in 24 hours.

    That’s when a snowstorm moved in and air support became impossible.

    Taliban fighters launched a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire using the weather as concealment.

  • DirtyMick

    what’s interesting about that is the fact that we’re giving up key terrain to the Taliban and they have a sizeable element like that just 2-3 klicks north of asadabad which is the provincial capital.

  • Jean


    You can engage the ANA base and the Abad government compound from the other side of the river in Marawara. The high ground behind the ANP police station was a known POO site. Back 2006 , the local talent took a shot at the old Kunar governor, sort a welcome to town have a couple rockets from your Afghan brothers in Marawara.

  • DirtyMick

    When we would do our dismounts in abad we could tell there was a lot of taliban floating around there. No sigacts ever came out of abad. So we were pretty convinced that Wahidi (the current governor) was dirty

You are currently reading "Fighting in Barawala Kalet", entry #6688 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Kunar Province,Pech River Valley and was published April 5th, 2011 by Herschel Smith.

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