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Special Infantry - Ktah Khas (KKA) (Afghan Special Unit)

The Ktah Khas [Ktah = to touch ?? Khas = certain of success] is Afghanistans national-level counterterrorism unit. US counterterrorism forces created this force so they could have Afghan partners to support high-value counterterrorist operations. These forces are highly effective, but also highly dependent on US counterterrorism forces (e.g., for intelligence, targeting, and air transportation). The Ktah Khas is a light infantry special operations battalion consisting of three companies, a reconnaissance unit, and several sections that enable and support the strike forces. Ktah Khas platoons and companies are trained to conduct precision raids and vehicle interdictions against high-value targets utilizing both ground and air mobility platforms.

The Khah Khas has improved its battalion-level command capabilities, its operational reach, and its integration with ANASOC forces in numerous combined operations over the past six months. For the recent attempted hostage rescues of the captured Hazara hostages in Zabul Province, the Ktah Khas spearheaded the main effort to the suspected compound while an ANASOC Commando unit isolated the target. Additionally the Ktah Ktas has expanded its operational reach and expeditionary capability to operate in provinces outside of Kabul.

Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan, distinguished itself by exceptionally meritorious service from 26 July 2012 to 14 June 2013. During this period, Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan displayed outstanding devotion, dedication, professionalism, and superior achievement in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Special Operations Force activities maximized the operational capability, and increased operational effects through successful kinetic strikes, partnered or enabled, .raids, air support and logistical resources for the Mghan Special Security Forces. Adclitionally, the partnered efforts of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Special Operations Joint Task Force-Afghanistan enabled profound effects in the Afghan Local Police, Afghan National Army Special Operations Forces, General Directorate of Police Special Units, and Ktah Khas.

In January 2015, the Ktah Khas planned and resourced its first independent helicopter assault force raid in Kapisa Province. Over the long term, the Ktah Khas will continue to build an enduring relationship with all MoD special operations units, particularly the ANASOC.

Significantly increasing the ranks of the elite Ktah Khas counterterrorism force is likely infeasible without lowering its recruiting standards. Significantly increasing the size of the Ktah Khas counterterrorism forces would be difficult without reducing training and vetting standards. Ktah Khas recruits come from the current ranks of the ANP, NDS, and ANA, or sometimes directly from the Kabul Military Training Center. Recruits have to be approved by the ANA Chief of Staff and have to pass face-to-face interviews, physical tests, psychological exams, counter-intelligence investigations, and polygraph tests in order to be selected for service.

Acceptance standards are very high and the training is difficult: recruit attrition is about 98 percent. In addition to these very high standards, Ktah Khas is almost entirely dependent on U.S. enablers for intelligence, targeting, and air mobility. As a result, we assess that significantly expanding the Ktah Khas is neither feasible nor advisable by the 2015 to 2018 timeframe. On the other hand, assuming that the United States maintains a counterterrorism mission in Afghanistan, it is appropriate to maintain the Ktah Khas force structure to provide Afghan personnel to support US operations.

According to DoD, the Ktah Khas conduct precision raids and vehicle interdictions against high-value targets using ground and air assets. DoD reported that the group planned and resourced its first independent helicopter assault force raid in Kapisa province in January 2015. According to DoD, they continued to build their relationship with other MOD special operations units and improved their battalion-level command capabilities, operational reach, and integration with ANASOC forces in recent combined operations.

The Ktah Khas light infantry special operations battalion consisted in 2015 of three operational companies, a training company, a military intelligence company, a female tactical platoon, and several sections that enable and support the strike forces. Ktah Khas platoons and companies were accomplished in independently conducting counterterrorism raids and vehicle interdictions utilizing both ground and air mobility platforms.

Throughout late 2015, the Ktah Khas conducted numerous counterterrorism operations across the country in addition to supporting conventional ANA forces in clearing operations. The Ktah Khas also furthered its relationships with various ANDSF intelligence organizations and expanded its secure communications capabilities to enable more effective target development, execution, and coordination.

By 2018 the KKA had eight companies: three operational companies, a training company, an engineer company, a military intelligence company, a support company, and a headquarters company. These additional companies support the Ktah Khas training cycle and support operations, including transportation for the Ktah Khas strike forces, explosive ordnance disposal to conduct counter-IED (C-IED) operations, and supporting the female tactical platoon, which enables interactions with women and children on missions. Ktah Khas platoons and companies conduct successful intelligence-driven counterterrorism raids, particularly against high-value individuals, and vehicle interdictions utilizing both ground and air mobility platforms. A focus on recruiting and retention has enabled the Ktah Khas to remain near full strength.

Ktah Khas recruiting is a two-month process where incoming recruits, selected primarily from recent ANA, ANP, or National Directorate of Security basic course graduates, are screened and selected to enter a thirteen-week Ktah Khas basic course. The Ktah Khas course focuses primarily on physical fitness, marksmanship, mobility, medical, and small-unit tactics to prepare candidates for integration, training, and deployment. Between the recruiting and basic training process, candidates for the Ktah Khas have a pass rate of approximately 12 percent.

Ktah Khas is capable of executing a well-planned ORC. The Ktah Khas ORC is a 32-week cycle that consists of Red, Amber, and Green phases. During the red cycle, units focus on individual training tasks and individual combat specializations. The amber cycle includes collective training tasks, such as a platoon live-fire exercise, full-mission profiles, fire support coordination, and a validation exercise. Lastly, the green cycle is when the units focus on deployment and are available to execute missions. The three Ktah Khas companies are staggered in their cycles to have one company in each phase of the ORC at all times. Each cycle is separated from the next by one week, allowing soldiers to take leave. Ktah Khas members are authorized an additional four weeks of leave following an operational deployment.




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