It took so long to launch the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to help out Green Berets pinned down and under fire in Marjah, Afghanistan that it would have been faster to deploy a team from another continent rather than wait for the theater commanders in Afghanistan to let a nearby Special Forces team go to help their team mates.
With a team from 19th Special Forces Group attached to 3rd Special Forces Group surrounded and under fire in Marjah, Afghanistan their QRF should have been launched far sooner. It wasn’t the fault of the actual soldiers, who were standing by and ready to go, but command would not let them leave their base, insisting that they wait for the next period of darkness before a team from 19th Special Forces Group was able to drive in and conduct a off-set infil to support their fellow Green Berets.
The 19th Group Team was there as part of a broader effort to re-take Marjah from the Taliban, and was coordinated with local Afghan units which were clearing adjacent valleys. Once pinned down, one team member was killed, another seriously injured. A Special Forces medic (18D) worked on the casualty for 12-hours, keeping him alive while receiving enemy fire. The casualty, “was alert and oriented” by the time he was finally evacuated according to one SOFREP source. The Department of Defense has not yet released the name of the soldier who was killed in action.
Worse yet, command would not authorize fire support from a circling AC-130 gunship due to fears of collateral damage. Recent events such as the hospital bombing in Kunduz probably resonate at command levels, but perhaps they should have been thinking more about another recent event, Benghazi, since their men on the ground faced the threat of being overrun. Eventually, the command allowed AC-130 to fire a whopping two 40mm rounds into an open field a weak show of force to the Taliban.
3rd Group Green Berets have often complained about the leadership failures experienced while in theater in Afghanistan. Part of the problem is that they end up working for NATO Special Operations Component Command – Afghanistan (NSOCC-A). “We have so many fucking Generals that don’t do shit,” one Special Forces soldier said in disgust. “Every base I go to I trip over 50 majors, 30 LTCs, and see 6 Generals.” Entire advisory teams and separate military commands are invented in Afghanistan simply so that officers can be deployed and hold a “command” which will get them promoted.
One spot of good news is that the Afghan Local Police (ALP), Afghan National Army (ANA) Special Forces, and Afghan Commandos have turned out to be strong allies in fighting the Taliban. “They are really doing their job…but you won’t read that in the news,” a Green Beret told SOFREP.
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