NYT: MLRS/GPS prove deadly effective in afghanistan


plawolf

Brigadier
The main reason the US and NATO has been able to avoid heavy losses is as much down to the political work the US states department has done behind the scenes as it is in weapons and tactics innovation by the pentagon.

The Taliban and iraqi insurgents has basically had no supply of advanced and heavy weapons beyond what had been available in the country before the wars started. Even much of those weapons were not in working order or secretly bought up by the US or its agents.

US and NATO air power has faced almost no real SAM threat beyond a few isolated incidents, which only goes it illustrate how much different things would be if the Taliban had a continuous supply of advanced SAMs and training to use them.

Its a similar thing regarding ATGMs, AAA, mortars and pretty much all weapons heavier than an AK47 or RPG.

In all previous cases where an insurgent force has been able to deal heavy losses on a technologically superior enemy, the insurgent forces' always had access to relatively modern medium to heavy weapons, and more importantly, a continuous supply of munitions.

The technological difference in weapons is simply far too vast for the Taliban to be able to effectively counter the US and NATO forces. Their only really effective weapons of attack has been IEDs and suicide bombs, and suicide bombs are becoming far less dangerous to military forces as training and equipment improves.

Take nothing away from the troops fighting on the front line, but things could have been a lot harder for them had the diplomats not done a good job ensuring the really dangerous stuff were kept out of the reach of insurgents.
 

challenge

Banned Idiot
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there's no equivalent of ho chi minh trail ,according to ex soviet agfan war veteran, there is 50~50 chance US could win.
real problem may be pakistan ISI and army,taliban can not survive without massive arm supply from pakistan,
 

MwRYum

Captain
In Korea, the US fought against China. In the Vietnam wars, Vietnam communists had huge popular support (something the Taliban lacks), and was supplied by China and USSR. Plus, Vietnam was a jungle, which negates much of the aerial advantage.



Operation Medusa comes to mind, and that was in 2006. Seems like every year NATO announces some new offensive on the Taliban.
While said the North Vietnam was supported by the USSR and China, as well as the worldwide swept of communism fever on a global scale (foolish youth in the west play Red Guard, remember?), Taliban isn't without substantial support as well - Pakistan gave birth to the Taliban and still support them (though not officially) to this day; Afghan-Pakistani borders aren't in the government hands but the local tribes who have ties with Taliban controls them.

In terms of terrain, the mountainous terrain and caverns are still effective smuggling routes today as they were back in the Soviet occupation.
 

Finn McCool

Captain
Registered Member
Petraeus understands how to fight the war in Afghanistan and is having some success. But that's not the issue. The issue is whether the war is winnable. I don't have an answer to that question. Certainly the US can achieve some sort of peace settlement that allows NATO to leave the country with it's honor more or less intact, but in Afghanistan, war is eternal. There are only ceasefires. I find it hard to see how the current government can survive for long once the various warlords that de facto rule large parts of the country and factions of the Taliban have geared up for the next round, a few years down the road, and NATO is out of the picture.
 

plawolf

Brigadier
While said the North Vietnam was supported by the USSR and China, as well as the worldwide swept of communism fever on a global scale (foolish youth in the west play Red Guard, remember?), Taliban isn't without substantial support as well - Pakistan gave birth to the Taliban and still support them (though not officially) to this day; Afghan-Pakistani borders aren't in the government hands but the local tribes who have ties with Taliban controls them.

In terms of terrain, the mountainous terrain and caverns are still effective smuggling routes today as they were back in the Soviet occupation.
The main point I was trying to make in my last post is that there are is no actual state support for the insurgency, as such, modern weapon systems that would post a real threat to US and NATO forces are simply not available to the Taliban.

They can smuggle all the heroine they want out of Afghanistan (implying the Taliban can smuggle any quantity of material into Afghanistan just as easily) but there is simply nothing they can smuggle in that they don't have already.

That is why the US is so keen to keen Israel on a tight leash and vetos any Israeli plans to bomb Iranian reactors. In this regard, it is interesting to consider whether the US and other western powers might have over-stated the Iranian nuclear threat as a means of creating leverage over Iran.

They could have had the Israelis playing the war hound with Washington playing the peace broker and offering to keep Israel in check if Iran does not support the insurgencies in Iraq or Afghanistan. Quite clever ploy which appears to be paying dividends if it is indeed the case.
 

Scratch

Captain
Trying to resume some discussion of the topic.
The surge of US troops inthe Afghan southern provinces seems to have a real impact. After intensiveb battles, US troops have regained controll over many key areas in these provinces. The Taliban have in retreated / vanished in many areas under immense pressure. And life there slowly normalizes. The big task now is to remain in these areas and consolidate the progress. The spring will probably show if the allied forces can hold of the traditional Taliban spring offensive and defend their gains.
Other areas of the country, namely the east and north are not doing that well. Maybe coalition forces can spread their gains from the south later next year.
Another new development has to do with a apparent shift in strategy.
It seems coalition forces have gone from Counter Insurgency to a more Counter Terrorism oriented strategy. This year they seriously started to actively hunt down Taliban & Qaida leaders throughout the country. With ANA training being ahead of schedule, maybe more troops can be freed up for that.
The point is that many Taliban (leaders) are demoralized by the impact coalition operations have on them. The leaders fled to Pakistan to rest, fearful for their lives, and without being able to find new recruits willing to fight. That is really good news.

The north is a different problems, were a lot of local warlords also play into the equiation, it will be more difficult to get rid of them as well. But again, locals are organized into some kind of a neighbourhood force to defend their villages.

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NATO Push Deals Taliban a Setback in Kandahar
By CARLOTTA GALL and RUHULLAH KHAPALWAK - Published: December 15, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — As the Obama administration reviews its strategy in Afghanistan, residents and even a Taliban commander say the surge of American troops this year has begun to set back the Taliban in parts of their southern heartland and to turn people against the insurgency — at least for now.
The stepped-up operations in Kandahar Province have left many in the Taliban demoralized, reluctant to fight and struggling to recruit, a Taliban commander said in an interview this week. Afghans with contacts in the Taliban confirmed his description. They pointed out that this was the first time in four years that the Taliban had given up their hold of all the districts around the city of Kandahar, an important staging ground for the insurgency and the focus of the 30,000 American troops whom President Obama ordered to be sent to Afghanistan last December. [...]
NATO commanders cautioned that progress on the battlefield remained tentative. It will not be clear until next summer if the government and the military can hold on to those gains, they said. Much will depend on resolving two problems: improving ineffectual local governments and strengthening Afghan troops to fight in NATO’s place. [...]
The local residents and the Taliban commander said the strength of the American offensive had already shifted the public mood. Winning the war of perceptions is something the military considers critical to the success of the counterinsurgency strategy being pursued by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the coalition commander. [...]
“They are very upset and worried,” said one Afghan who lives in Quetta, the western Pakistani city where the Taliban leadership is based, and knows a number of Taliban commanders who live in his neighborhood. “This whole operation in the south has made it very difficult for them. They have lost their heart. A lot of leaders have been killed.” [...]
The Taliban are even more concerned that the Americans are gaining the upper hand in the battle of perceptions on who is winning the war, several people with contacts in the Taliban said. “The people are not happy with us,” the Taliban fighter said. “People gave us a place to stay for several years, but we did not provide them with anything except fighting. The situation is different now: the local people are not willingly cooperating with us. They are not giving us a place to stay or giving us food.” [...]
He said he traveled recently to the Pakistani border town of Chaman and met three Taliban commanders there. But when he asked when they were coming back to Kandahar, they said they were reluctant to return and feared they would be killed. “They said they feared our own men, that other Taliban might betray them,” he said.
The Afghan living in Quetta said that Taliban commanders he knew were trying to recruit and pay others to fight while holding themselves back. “One threw me 50,000 Pakistani rupees and said, ‘If you have anyone who can go and fight, take them and go and fight,’ ” he said. “When they threw me the money, they said, ‘If you don’t want to go and fight, could you find some recruits for the spring?’ ” ...
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Special operations forces deal blows to Taliban ranks
By Bill RoggioDecember 9, 2010

Coalition and Afghan special operations teams have hit hard at the Taliban and allied groups' leadership and rank and file during more than 7,000 raids throughout Afghanistan over the past six months.
Approximately 7,100 special operations counterterrorism missions have been conducted between May 30 and Dec. 2 of this year, the International Security Assistance Force told The Long War Journal. More than 600 insurgent leaders were killed or captured. In addition, more than 2,000 enemy fighters have been killed, and over 4,100 fighters have been captured. [...]
The US has also been conducting a covert air campaign using unmanned Predator and Reaper strike aircraft to attack al Qaeda and Taliban cells in Pakistan's tribal areas. The Pakistani military has refused to move against the Taliban and the Haqqani Network in North Waziristan, despite the fact that these groups host al Qaeda leaders and cells and sponsor attacks in Afghanistan.
 

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