Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - South (CJSOTF-S) (Afghanistan)
"Task Force K-Bar"
In March 2002, following Operation Anaconda, JSOTF-N and CJSOTF-S were inactivated and their personnel merged together under the control of CJSOTF-A, headquartered at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - South (CJSOTF-S) was created in November 2001 to support operations in the southern part of the Afghanistan support of a planned US-led coalition intervention. CJSOTF-S' focus was intended to parallel that of Joint Special Operations Task Force - North (JSOTF-N) in the northern areas of the country. Like JSOTF-N, CJSOTF-S, also known as Task Force K-Bar, experienced problems with its chain of command and unity of effort. That CJSOTF-S was to support conventional operations meant that the unit was under the tactical control of Special Operation Command Central's (SOCCENT) Combined Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC), despite being under the operational control of SOCCENT's Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command (CFSOCC). Task Force K-Bar maintained a mutual supporting relationship with Task Force 58, the US Marine Corps' deployment to Afghanistan.
CJSOTF-S was led by elements of the Navy's Naval Special Warfare Group One, but also included special operations elements from the US Army and US Air Force, as well as Coalition forces from Australia (Task Force 64, Australian Special Air Service Regiment), Canada, Denmark, Germany, New Zealand, Norway, and Turkey. CJSOTF-S carried out a wide variety of strategic reconnaissance, maritime search and seizure, and direct action missions during its deployment.
CJSOTF-S' first operation was to support the seaborne assault of elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, part of Task Force 58, into the area of operations. This included supporting an amphibious landing at Chur Beach near Pasni, Pakistan that occured on 20 November 2001 and the insertion of 20 SEALs from Naval Special Warfare Group One into Objective Rhino in Afghanistan's remote south-central desert region on 21 November 2001. Objective Rhino had previously been used by elements of the Joint Special Operations Command's (JSOC) Task Force 11 as part of a raid into Kandahar that sought the capture of the Taliban's leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. CJSTOF-S' securing of Objective Rhino was in order to provide a staging location for conventional elements of Task Force 58. Elements of CJSOTF-S, using Desert Patrol Vehicles, worked with Marine air traffic controllers to establish operations at what became Forward Operating Base (FOB) Rhino.
In December 2001, the decision was also made to establish an intermediate command element for all special operations forces elements in Afghanistan, subsequently known as Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan (CJSOTF-A). CJSOTF-S was subsequently assigned to CJSOTF-A. CJSOTF-S continued supporting the USMC's Task Force 58 and other Coalition forces until it was inactivated on 26 February 2002.
The speed with which the Taliban resistance dissipated under the weight of US intervention outpaced plans to deploy significant numbers of conventional military forces to the country. In the northern areas of Afghanistan, JSOTF-N was called upon to consolidate the Taliban rout in cooperation with anti-Taliban groups. JSOTF-N, along with Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force South (CJSOTF-S) had begun planning sensitive site exploitation operations in the Shahi Kot area in early January 2002 in support of this objective, and plans had been made to attack Shahi Kot itself with Northern Alliance forces support by US special operations forces. Northern Alliance elements reported a heavy enemy presence in Shahi Kot and implied that they would be unwilling to conduct the assault, even with US support. This further prompted demands for the introduction of significant conventional forces to Afghanistan. The situation in the Shahi Kot Valley prompted a transition from the SOF-centric concept of operations that had been in practice, to a more unified conventional concept of operations, leading directly to Operation Anaconda in February 2002.
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