During my time in service in Iraq and Afghanistan (pre-2007) we never had to work with any local forces, whether the Iraqi or the Afghan Army folks. We were always autonomous. Things have obviously changed much since that time as all U.S. forces, whether conventional or special operations, must always bring a contingent of the host nation’s military forces when conducting operations.
I, like most of you, have relied on the media to tell me how poorly trained the Afghan National Army and Police Force is. I also, like you, have seen the countless stories of Afghan Army or Police attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces, also known as “green on blue.” In my mind I thought that these guys were all the same and would often say to myself “Why the hell are we working with these radical, corrupt, and ungrateful people.” In the case of Afghan SOF, who number roughly 10,000, there has been only one green on blue incident.
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green beret retired
This article confirms what I experienced in Vietnam. Overall, ARVN was mediocre, with the possible eception of the 1st Div. Their SOF units, Rangers, Airborne and Marines were very good troops. The LLDB (VNSF) were political hacks and mostly worthless. I've heard on this website that Iraqi commandoes were/are very good troops. I would say almost any ethnic group, with proper training, motivation, and leadership can perform up to the highest standards. Too often politicians get in the way.
These people have been fighting "the enemy" - their family, neighbors, and friends - for as many years as history records. I finally learned to distinguish between "war wounded", those wounded in the battle with the Taliban, AQ, and other assorted jihadists, and just the "everyday wounded" when they fought with each other over who-knows-what. I saw Afghans shot because "I was riding my motorcycle too fast", "I was herding my neighbor's cows" (I always wondered where he was herding them TO), and the list just went on, and on. My experience with ANP in 2007 was that they were rag-tag, undisciplined, low level criminals in a uniform. I saw a difference in 2010 when I went back as a civilian mentor; they had better structure and command, were more disciplined, and at least on the surface seemed to do a better job. Never had much experience with the ANA except a rare injured soldier at our FST. By 2010, the Afghans I knew had great respect for their Commandos; rarely heard a bad word about them.
I was on ebay last night (doing research) and discovered the CJSOTF-A (Combined Joint Special Ops Task Force - Afghanistan) action figure -- who knew?
@mdupreez wow, very awesome. Please tell your friend that I thought she did a very fine job. I truly enjoyed the realism of it. I really felt bad for the ANA General, throughout, as he seemed like a soldier's soldier, and wanted to really help his country. And that's cool how you helped her out! I thank you for part in helping people view what the mainstream media doesn't necessarily cover in depth.
@AIMSP Funny you mention this movie. It was made by a very good friend of mine. We helped her out in Afghanistan over the time she spent there. I was fortunate to have helped her with the film premier at the South by Southwest film festival a couple years ago. A good watch indeed. Thinks have changed a bit since this was filmed (05/06/07) but you get the idea.