The Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) has been in existence for several years now. The command falls under the Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD). The commando units that fall under ANASOC control have proven to be the most effective combat forces of the Afghan National Defense Security Forces (ANDSF). The special operations command is advised by special operations forces (SOF) personnel from the NATO Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (NSOCC-A) / Special Operations Joint Task Force – Afghanistan (SOJTF-A). NSOCC-A / SOJTF-A is based at Bagram Air Base located an hour’s drive north of Kabul (the capital of Afghanistan).
ANASOC is a divisional level command with over 11,000 personnel authorized. There are two Special Operations Brigades and ten Special Operations Kandaks (SOKs) under ANASOC’s command. In addition, ANASOC has responsibility for the Commando school located at Camp Commando just outside of Kabul.
These SOKs are the most proficient and well-developed units within the ANDSF. Since they are so effective the SOKs tend to be overused by the regional Afghan National Army (ANA) corps commanders – affecting their operational utilization cycle. In addition, the SOKs are utilized many times in non-SOF missions for which the conventional ANA units would be more appropriate. Nine of the SOKs are aligned with the regional ANA corps while the 6th SOK is based in the Kabul area functioning as the ANA’s national mission unit. In addition to the 6th SOK, the Ministry of Interior has several national mission units. ANASOC is supported by the Special Mission Wing (SMW) which provides aerial insertion by helicopter as well has rotary-wing gunship support.
Some possible changes are on the horizon for ANASOC. The Afghan Ministry of Defense is in the process of developing a new National Mission Brigade from elements of the 6th Special Operations Kandak of ANASOC and the Ktah Khas. The Ministry of Defense has recently requested that ANASOC take part in the training of the Afghan Local Police (ALP).