News: Afghan combat support kandak is the future force multiplier
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The 4th Combat Support Kandak of the 2nd Brigade, 203rd Corps provides enablers and force multipliers to support infantry units within the brigade. They provide 122mm howitzer indirect fires, engineering construction and explosive expertise, and act as the eyes and ears of the brigade commander with ground reconnaissance. The successful integration of 4th Kandak into operations in Paktika province has resulted in multiple successes in recent months.
These successes are a direct result of tolei (company) level leadership that is experienced, driven and in the development of cross unit coordination between the various branches of the Afghan National Security Forces such as the Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, National Directorate of Security, and the Operational Coordination Center-Provincial.
With the eventual draw down of Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, it is vital that the ANA develop and implement technical and tactical applications for specialized units. As with CF, the integration of enablers is what sets modern militaries above other armed forces.
In recent operations within the Omnah district in the beginning of July, 4th Kandak established and secured a howitzer firing point in which they supported infantry operations taking place on the opposite side of a mountain range. Afghan leadership displayed excellent cross unit coordination in order to confirm the location of other ANSF while artillery forward observers identified locations in which enemy forces were operating. Once identified, the forward observers relayed information back to the firing point which allowed the commander to execute indirect fires from over 15 kilometers away.
“Their ability to clear the impact area of all ANSF units is quick and effective,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Kurt Carlson, an artillery advisor from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment. “To the detriment of the enemy, they can accurately place artillery fires anywhere within their area of operations.”
With special programs initiated by CF, the ANA have developed their own counter improvised explosive device ability. This allows the rapid forward movement of the ANA through areas previously denied to them as a result of enemy IEDs. By rapidly moving through previously enemy defended locations, infantry units are able to displace and disrupt enemy lines of communication and transportation. This severely degrades the enemies ability to operate anywhere in the province.
“The enemy can’t hide behind their IEDs anymore. The ANA can clear a path right to their door,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Damien Johnson, an engineer adviser for 4th Kandak.
One of the largest successes recently accomplished by the ANA is the integration of the reconnaissance company as the eyes and ears of the brigade commander. Recon soldiers developed into an effective organization able to conduct dismounted night movements and establish observation posts that relay the enemy disposition and movement to the tactical operations center. With a direct link to the brigade, the commander is able to reallocate troops across the battlefield in order to directly engage enemy forces.
“They have improved drastically since the beginning of our tour,” said U.S. Army Capt. Anthony Mollica, a recon adviser, who saw firsthand the improvements of the unit over the past six months. “The recon company was averse to conducting night operations a few months ago, now it’s a common tactic for them to use.”
The integration of 4th Kandak’s specialty units into brigade operations is a major success for the ANA ensuring they bring the fight to the enemy on every front. The 4th Kandak is a shining example for other combat service battalions across the region and will continue to set the standard throughout the ANA.