Afghanistan: Taliban To Target Contractors In This Year’s Spring Offensive

Afghanistan: Taliban To Target Contractors In This Year’s Spring Offensive

You know, this makes a lot of sense strategically speaking. With the introduction of the APPF, that is the weak spot of the west. That clients are being protected by weak and poorly trained security forces forced upon them by the government, and the chance of success against such weakly guarded compounds is much higher than against other harder targets.

But there are still professional security contractors guarding a few of these outposts, and all of these guys will definitely be on alert and looking to stop attacks.

As for recent attacks, it seems like the Taliban are still using the suicide assaulter method. This is where they seek to breach a compound by blowing up the entry control point, or some portion of the wall with high explosives (VBIED or other), and then armed assaulters wearing explosives pour through that breach and fight their way to concentrations of humans to detonate. It is very violent, and fast, and it takes a well planned defense to counter such a thing.

As to the methods of breach, they are using everything from VBIEDs to guys dressed in Burqas and carrying explosives and blowing up the front gate. They are even infiltrating compounds as workers or visitors, with pistols in their shoes. Here is an example of the most recent attack on the Green Village (filled with international contractors)

The violence began around 6 a.m. in eastern Kabul with a series of explosions and gunfire ringing out from the privately guarded compound known as Green Village that houses hundreds of international contractors.

Shooting and blasts shook the city for hours as militants who had stormed into the compound held out against security forces, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

A local witness said the attackers were disguised in burqas — the head-to-toe robes worn by conservative Afghan women.

“A vehicle stopped here and six people wearing burqas entered the alley carrying black bags in their hands. When they entered the alley, there was an explosion,” said Abdul Manan.

At least seven people were killed, according to the Interior Ministry. It also said 17 were wounded, most Afghan children on their way to school.

The area appeared to have calmed down by about 10 a.m. and NATO said all the attackers had been killed. The gate at the entrance of the Green Village was destroyed, with the wreckage of the suicide bomber’s car sitting in front. The road running past the compound was littered with shoes, books, school supplies and the bloody ID card of a student from a nearby school.

Notice the timing?  6 AM was probably the guard shift time or when many of the workers started coming in. After the explosion, the assaulters came in wearing burqas.  You are probably thinking why wear burqas at that point?  Well it causes those guards with guns who are dazed and confused after the explosion to momentarily pause when they see women coming near that breach.  That momentary pause could be just enough for those assaulters to get into a position where they can maneuver and have a higher chance of killing folks once in the compound. This works very well if the area has a lot of women that walk around wearing burqas.

The thing I suggest to guards and commanders in charge of the defense, is to apply Kaizen to your defense, and constantly look for ways of improving the defense. Be wary of your patterns, because the enemy is studying them and will use them to their advantage. Also, go through as many scenarios as possible, and try to imagine how you would attack your facility. Think like the Taliban and identify the weaknesses in your defense. Be prepared and make sure that there is plenty of ammunition and your weapons are all good to go.  Be prepared for night attacks and day attacks, and drill for both. Drill, drill and do more drills, and turn your compound into a hard target.

Probably the biggest factor in a good defense is having good leadership. If you have poor leadership who could care less about these things I listed above, then the Taliban will pick up on that one and use it to their advantage. Poor leaders are usually the guys that shut out everyone when planning the defense, and could care less about seeking input or improving the defense. They could care less about the preparedness of the guard force or the condition of their weapons/equipment. Their ego or comfort or pay is much more important than actually doing their job.

And those with better ideas are not looked at as assets, but as threats to that leader and his position. (read the Dictator’s Handbook if you want a good idea on how poor leaders operate) To me, it is absolutely idiotic not to seek out feedback from your guards who actually stand post for long hours every day. These folks have lots of time to evaluate the defense, and leaders would be wise to seek out their input. Unfortunately, poor leaders are out there doing their damage and they are a reality. In those cases, I feel for the guard force and I truly hope that you are not tested by the enemy.

Another deal to remember is to definitely include your client in the planning for the defense. Make sure they understand what they need to do in an incident.  And whatever those actions are, should only help the defenders in doing what they have to do and not hinder. Meaning if the defense is split between folks having to hold the hand of the clients, and fighting the enemy, then that is half of your force taken away because your client did not know what to do. Of course there will always be folks who forget or are in shock and need help, but a little planning and drilling, and that will go a long ways towards increasing the success of the defense in these extremely violent and fast paced swarming attacks. Don’t let poor planning or poor leadership lower your chances of success.

For more scoop on this Green Village attack, Tim over at Free Range International wrote up a post about it. Check it out here.

Good luck out there, and I say let’s shut down every one of these attacks with authority. I say let’s make this decision to attack contractors a very bad and costly idea for the Taliban!….. –Matt



Security contractors inspecting the damage at the Green Village, Afghanistan.

Taliban announce ‘spring offensive’ across Afghanistan
May 2, 2012
Code-named Al-Farouq, primary targets of offensive will be “foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors”.
The Taliban militia announced they would launch their annual “spring offensive” across Afghanistan on Thursday, threatening to target US-led NATO troops and their allies with renewed vigour.
Code-named Al-Farouq, the primary targets of the offensive would be “foreign invaders, their advisors, their contractors, all those who help them militarily and in intelligence,” the militants said on their website.
“Al-Farouq spring offensive will be launched on May 3 all over Afghanistan,” the militant group said.
The militia said the code name came from Islam’s second caliph, Omar Al-Farouq known for his military advances in Asia and the Arab world during the 7th century.
The announcement came hours after Taliban insurgents armed with guns, suicide vests and a bomb-laden car attacked a heavily fortified compound used by Westerners in Kabul, killing seven people and wounding more than a dozen others.
The militants claimed the attack in defiance of US President Barack Obama’s call that the war was ending during a visit to Afghanistan on the first anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death on Wednesday.
Obama flew into Kabul in secret in the dead of night and signed a deal with President Hamid Karzai, cementing 10 years of US aid for Afghanistan after NATO combat troops leave in 2014.
The rebel group said it will adopt new tactics to “safeguard” civilians as part of the new offensive.
“New and tested war tactics will be implemented in the Al-Farouq operation and top priority will be given to safeguarding the lives and wealth of civilians,” the statement said.
The United Nations said civilian deaths from the Afghan conflict reached a record high of 3,021 in 2011 – mostly at the hands of insurgents – up eight percent from 2,790 in 2010.
The militants also said a committee will be assigned to “invite” members of the Afghan security forces to join their insurgency, which is now into an 11th year.
Just over two weeks ago, squads of militants targeted government offices, embassies and foreign bases in the biggest coordinated attack in Kabul during more than 10 years of war since the Taliban were driven from power for refusing to hand over bin Laden.
A Pentagon report issued Tuesday said that insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan and corruption pose “long-term and acute challenges”.
Story here.


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