Thursday, September 23, 2010

CJTF-101 Opens a Can

This a nice summary of recent ground combat against the Haqqani militants in Afghanistan. I'm noticing a trend here...that Haqqani militants don't stand a chance against ISAF troops in a direct action engagement. I'm predicting that they will attempt several more disastrous attacks before winter and then may turn increasingly to al Qaeda style tatctics (eg, suicide bombers).

From the Longwar Journal (September 23, 2010):

US soldiers beat back a massed attack by the Haqqani Network in the eastern Afghan province of Khost yesterday, killing 27 enemy fighters.

The Haqqani Network fighters gathered near Combat Outpost Spera and prepared to open fire on the base "with small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire," Combined Joint Task Force - 101 stated in a press release. But the Haqqani Network fighters were observed as they moved into position to attack.

"Both remotely piloted aircraft and strategically placed surveillance cameras identified the insurgent forces preparing to open fire with a mixture of small arms and rocket propelled grenades," CJTF-101 stated. Helicopters from an Attack Weapons Team from Task Force Viper, 1st Battalion, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, were dispatched and routed the Haqqani Network fighters.

ISAF stated that between 25 to 30 "insurgents" were killed, while CJTF-101 put the number at 27. No US or Afghan troops were reported to have been killed or wounded in the fighting.

The Haqqani Network has carried out four major attacks against heavily defended US outposts in eastern Afghanistan since the end of August.

On Aug. 28, Haqqani Network fighters launched coordinated attacks against Forward Operating Bases Salerno and Chapman in Khost province. US and Afghan troops routed the Haqqani Network fighters, killing more than 35, including a commander, during and after the attacks. Several of the fighters were wearing US Army uniforms, and 13 were armed with suicide vests. US forces killed and captured several commanders and fighters during raids in the aftermath of the attacks.

And on Sept. 2, the Haqqani Network attempted to storm Combat Outpost Margah in the Bermel district of Paktika province. US troops repelled the attack with mortar and small-arms fire, then called in helicopter gunships to finish off the attackers; 20 were reported killed.

The Taliban and the Haqqani Network have launched attacks at several major installations across the country this year. In May, a small team attempted to breach security at Kandahar Airfield after launching a rocket attack on the base; another small team conducted a suicide assault at the main gate at Bagram Airbase in Parwan province. In June, the Taliban launched an assault against Jalalabad Airfield in Nangarhar province. The Taliban carried out a suicide assault against the Afghan National Civil Order Police headquarters in Kandahar City in July; three US soldiers were killed in the attack, which included a suicide car bomber and a follow-on assault team. And in early August, the Taliban again conducted a complex attack at Kandahar Airfield. All of the attacks were successfully repelled by Coalition and Afghan forces.


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