Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Rise Of The Counterinsurgents -- A Series From The Washington Independent

Scouts from 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), pull overwatch during Operation Destined Strike while 2nd Platoon, Able Company searches a village below the Chowkay Valley in Kunar Province, Afghanistan Aug. 22. (army.mil)

Military Embraces Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan -- Part 9

Insurgents pour north from the barely-guarded Pakistan border to the southeast, through Paktika Province, in the heart of Pashtun-controlled eastern Afghanistan. Their objective, according to the U.S. military command, is to attack the capitol city of Kabul, and to cut off the eastern province of Khost, where about 5,000 U.S. troops live on a large base called Salerno, about 12 miles from the Pakistani border.

Along the way, they go straight through southwestern Paktia Province, where 100 or so U.S. soldiers — the 1-61 Cavalry, based at a small outpost in Zormat — use a 250-watt radio as one of their most important weapons in a protracted, arduous counterinsurgency campaign.

“We’re talking about what kind of religion Islam [is], how to use it,” explained Lateef, 23, a DJ at Voice of Unity Radio, “about suicide bombers, which wars to fight, why suicide attacks are bad.” With his partner, Marwan, Lateef spends eight hours a day — 8 a.m. to noon and 6 p.m. to 10 — putting anti-Taliban and anti-Al Qaeda messages on the airwaves.

They operate from a boxy wooden shack near the dining facility at Combat Outpost Zormat. The spartan conditions — there’s one microphone, a small mixing board and a laptop in the radio station — gave rise to the cavalry troop’s nickname for Marwan and Lateef’s efforts: Radio in a Box.

Read more ....

The other articles for this series are here.

My Comment: An excellent series of articles on insurgency and the thinking to confront it.

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