Military


Operation Enduring Freedom - Order of Battle

On 22 June 2011, President Barack Obama made a speech in which he outlined what was described as the "way forward in Afghanistan." By the end of 2011, it was expected that US force levels would drop by 10,000 personnel and that by summer of 2012, another 23,000 would be redeployed. This would effectively draw down US forces to the levels they had been at prior to the so-called "surge" in Afghanistan. Obama also reaffirmed the desire to redeploy all US combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014. Obama's speech was followed by statements from the British also reaffirming their intention to end their participation in NATO operations in Afghanistan in 2014, as well as statements from the German and French governments about their withdrawal plans. The German government said that they hoped to scale back their contingent to 5,000 personnel by the end of 2011, while the French suggested a similarly proportioned withdrawal over a similar time period to the US.

In December 2008, the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the Illinois National Guard replaced the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the New York National Guard as the lead element for Combined Joint Task Force Pheonix VIII in Regional Command (South). Also in RC(S) was a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Afghanistan, which had been formed in November 2008. The SPMAGTF-A replaced the elements of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which had previously been deployed to Afghanistan as theater tactical force, and subsequently assigned to Regional Command (South) to help the United Kingdom's Task Force Helmand. Like the 24th MEU, the SPMAGTF-A operated in support of both ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, was in the process of deploying to Afghanistan during January 2009. There had not been an official transfer of authority, and therefore no task force name had been adopted. They took up the role as the lead element of the Joint Logistics Command.

Task Force Wasatch, 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 300th Military Intelligence Brigade (Linguist), was in the process of redeploying to the United States during the end of January 2009 and the beginning of February 2009. The replacement unit for the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion had not been announced.

In January 2009, elements of the 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, part of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division formed Task Force Pale Horse and replaced Task Force Out Front, made up of elements of the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, part of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Other US Army aviation task forces in country remained the same as of February 2009.

As of January 2009, Regional Command North was still operated by the German ISAF contigent alone. Regional Command East was controlled by forces from the United States. Regional Command South was led by a rotating command between Dutch, Canadian, and British forces, and the Dutch contigent was in control. Command of Regional Command West was controlled by the Italians. The capital region included the composite ISAF HQ, made up of members of all 41 contributing nations, as well as Regional Command Capital, responsible for ISAF operations in and around Kabul, was led by French forces. Forces in Regional Command North and West were primarily tasked with missions such as training the Afghan National Police and Army, and other reconstruction operations. Few forces in either region were engaged in direct or active combat with insurgent or terrorist forces, which had changed very little despite calls during 2007 and 2008 from nations with forces engaged in Afghanistan's southern and eastern regions, for restructing of these deployments. Germany, Italy, and Spain, the primary nations engaged in the northern and western provinces had strict restrictions on the deployment of their forces on combat missions.

The bulk of ISAF's forces remained deployed to Regional Command South and Regional Command East, where US, British, Dutch, and Canadian forces engaged in the majority of combat operations in the country, mainly along Afghanistan's southern border with Pakistan. US forces were deployed primarily in Regional Command East, with some forces in Regional Command South, both as part of ISAF, and part of the US Opeation Enduring Freedom. As part of plans to increase the US precense in the country an additional Brigade Combat Team, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division was deployed in January 2009, taking up positions in Afghanistan's Wardak and Logar provinces. The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (Seperate) in the so-called "N2KL" Area of Operations had been replaced in late 2008 with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized). A portion of this element, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, had been detached and assigned to Canadian Forces in Regional Command (South) as part of Combined Task Force Kandahar. The 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division in Jalalabad was to remain in country until April 2009.

The 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which had deployed to Helmand Province to assist British and other ISAF forces, was replaced with a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Afghanistan in November 2008. The SPMAGTF-A operated in support of both ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom. The British in Regional Command (South) were led, as of January 2009, by the 3 Commando Brigade. The Canadians under Operation Athena, in the middle of their 6th and 7th rotations in Afghanistan, were also in the region, along the combined Australian and Dutch Task Force in Uruzgan Province.

The new administration of President Barak Obama in the United States also announced in early 2009 that it was exploring options for deploying additional forces to Afghanistan. The planned increased had not been decided upon by February 2009, but was reported to be as high as 30,000 additional troops, comprising multiple additional Brigade Combat Teams.

In February 2009 the Kyrgyz government announced it would be asking the United States to stop using Manas Air Force Base, a major supply point for forces operating in Afghanistan. The United States said it hoped to continue use of the facility, where the 376th Air Expeditionary Wing was then located, but that if the Kyrgyz followed through on their decision to force the United States out it would not disrupt operations in the region. The Kyrgyz government cited issues over compensation for use of the facility, denying that the announcement had any connection to an announcement of increased Russian aid to the central asian nation almost simultaneously.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list