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Isaf State Of The Insurgency 231000 Dec
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Isaf State Of The Insurgency 231000 Dec


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MG Michael Flynn …

MG Michael Flynn
Director of Intelligence
International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan
U.S. Forces, Afghanistan
AS OF: 22 DEC, 2009

Published in: News & Politics
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  • How we did this: rigorous multi-disciplinary assessment my unprejudiced best military advice of what is required to succeed my personal experience and core beliefs. respect the environment in which we operate lesson learned from my experience in conventional and special operations the mission is inseparable from the situation derived from my own sense of the situation 02/08/10
  • improve confidence in GIROA population-centric counterinsurgency campaign risks no matter what we do not executing this strategy carries much more risk tweaking the status quo will only postpone failure unique moment in time time is of the essence believe that we can succeed must fundamentally change the culture change will be the crux – harder than the resources 02/08/10
  • The Afghan insurgency is comprised of multiple groups pursuing various short and longer term goals. The three major groups include the Taliban, Hezb-e Islami-Gulbuddin, and the Haqqani network. These groups cooperate and coordinate at times. Their area of operations tends to be geographically and demographically determined. They operate mainly in the Pashtun-majority areas of Afghanistan, in the south and east and in Pashtun pockets in the north. The common goals of these groups is to expel foreign forces from Afghanistan (although not foreign fighters allied with them or al-Qaeda) and to undermine the central government. Al-Qaida relies on insurgents for facilitation and safehavens. The insurgents cooperates at the tactical level—local commanders—to conduct attacks. The identities of insurgents groups are blurred. None of the organizations has a hierarchically, formal command structure comparable to Western military organizations. Commanders and fighters have, do, and will continue to shift loyalties from one insurgent group to another. The availability of logistics and resources often overlap. 02/08/10
  • 02/08/10
  • Ammonium Nitrate Ammonium Nitrate is quoted as containing 34% Nitrogen – it does exist in lower concentrations which are less easy to weaponise but is just a matter of filtering off impurities. Unknown statistics on legitimate use of black market fertiliser. Banning of AN fertilizer would probably not impact on economy of fertiliser plants. There is a Fertiliser plant in MES – if that could be upscaled to supply all Afg fertiliser requirement the need to import (open to abuse) fertilised would be diminished. Ammonium Nitrate as an explosive Ammonium Nitrate and Aluminium powder (ANAL) s the most often seen explosive – has a rough 1:1 equivalency of TNT. It is mixed in the proportions of 11 Kg AN to 1 KG Aluminium powder (from metallic paint). AN and diesel is also explosive – similar power to ANAL. AN can be turned into a powerful with the addition of any fuel (e.g. sugar, sawdust etc…) With a sufficiently large booster, AN can be made to detonate in it’s pure form. 02/08/10
  • The trend for smaller main charges (less than 100lbs) is that the main charge size is increasing. There is no trend for large, armor defeating main charges (250 Lbs +). The use of large main charges is not new, and has been seen as far back as 2006. However, there has been an increase in the use of large main charge command wires in RC E and S. 02/08/10
  • improve confidence in GIROA population-centric counterinsurgency campaign risks no matter what we do not executing this strategy carries much more risk tweaking the status quo will only postpone failure unique moment in time time is of the essence believe that we can succeed must fundamentally change the culture change will be the crux – harder than the resources 02/08/10
  • improve confidence in GIROA population-centric counterinsurgency campaign risks no matter what we do not executing this strategy carries much more risk tweaking the status quo will only postpone failure unique moment in time time is of the essence believe that we can succeed must fundamentally change the culture change will be the crux – harder than the resources 02/08/10
  • dramatic change in how we operate. focus on the people as the center of gravity Change culture -- bring security and normalcy to the people shield them from insurgent violence, corruption and coercion. truly comprehensive partnership more integrated at every level. accelerate the rate of ANSF development build flexibility to grow the ANSF improving governance at all levels more discerning in partnering modify organizational structures operational-level headquarters new plan for civilian-military integration none of these are new change how we think the SOP is not sacred 02/08/10
  • 02/08/10
  • (-) Success targeting of senior leadership and constant leadership changes has disrupted efforts to control and coordinate operations, especially in the South (-) Hekmatyar’s reported willingness to reconcile with the Afghan government causes concern that others may follow (+) Portrayed as increasingly capable and resilient, due to aggressive propaganda, and a steady increase in high-profile attacks each year (+) Maintain a robust access to funding sources, and safe-haven in Pakistan used for training and staging 02/08/10
  • How we did this: rigorous multi-disciplinary assessment my unprejudiced best military advice of what is required to succeed my personal experience and core beliefs. respect the environment in which we operate lesson learned from my experience in conventional and special operations the mission is inseparable from the situation derived from my own sense of the situation 02/08/10
  • [Anchor Slide: Defines problem and validates the problem as most see it - let’s them know that you understand. Follow on slides leads the viewer to the bigger picture and more comprehensive solution] This is the problem as we all tend to see it. An IED is an explosive event at a location. Its components consist of an insurgent network – made up of such entities as bomb makers, logisticians, lookouts, and emplacers; and materials – explosives, casings, wiring and initiative devices. When this network and the materials combine, the resultant effect produces casualties and propaganda. The difficulties in defeating the this threat cannot be understated. The IED – in many ways – IS the war. The IED is a tool of the Insurgent Network that exists in a complex social environment. Put another way, the IED is to Coalition Forces in Afghanistan what the submarine, machinegun, and tank was to military forces in WWI – a game changer. And yet despite the importance of this threat, the takeaway from this slide rests with the Insurgent Network – which exists within the complex social environment that is the population of Afghanistan. A population that actively or passively permits this network to exist and allows it the freedom to make and emplace IEDs. Therefore I have concluded that the IED is NOT the Center of Gravity; the population of Afghanistan is.
  • With our evolved understanding of what IEDs are we have made great steps in mitigating the threat. We are using everything at our disposal to defeat the network and protect lives. Our Counter IED efforts mitigate the problem, using Information Operations to shape an environment that is not conducive to IEDs; Materials such as MRAPs, FMV(ISR), and ECM; Training in country and at home station to identify and remove IEDs; and the creation of new and agile Organizations such as JIEDDO, Paladin, Focused Targeting Forces (FTF), Counter IED Platoons (CIAP), and Intelligence architectures that were unthinkable only a few years ago. But no amount MRAPs, FMV, training, or intelligence will solve the IED problem. They can’t. Because the problem is not the IED – or even the network. The problem, as alluded to on the first slide, is that the Afghan population actively or passively allows that IED to be emplaced. So the focus must be on getting the population to support GIRoA and deny the Insurgent Network the freedom to emplace the IED. The solution, therefore, is about securing the Afghan population, enabling good governance by the GIRoA, and supporting development projects that can provide sustainable jobs and a healthy economy. Attacking the IED network and mitigating its effects simply buys us time and space to create the conditions for a stabile Afghanistan. And that in turn produces a populace that is non-permissive to the IED network; a population that actively rejects those who assemble and emplace IEDs. Ultimately, the solution is found by doing better COIN.
  • Transcript

    • 1. State of the Insurgency Trends, Intentions and Objectives MG Michael Flynn Director of Intelligence International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan U.S. Forces, Afghanistan AS OF: 22 DEC, 2009 UNCLASSIFIED Classification of this briefing: UNCLASSIFIED
    • 2. Purpose Provide an overview of the current capacity, capabilities and intentions of the insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan UNCLASSIFIED
    • 3. Quetta Shura Peshawar Shura HIG
      • We face a TB dominated insurgency -- Two groups emerging; Afghanistan and Pakistan Taliban
      • Overarching strategy and plans remain unclear, but strategic goals are clear and coming into alignment
      • Operational level coordination occurs across the country; most frequent observed at the tactical level
      • AQ provides facilitation , training and some funding while relying on insurgent safe havens in Pakistan
      Insurgency Overview AQSL UNCLASSIFIED HQN PAK STATS (Open Source—as of 15 DEC): Suicide Attacks: 66 (793 KIA / 2086 WIA) Other IED Attacks: 83 (760 KIA / 875 WIA) 39 attacks since 17 OCT (~ 30 days)
    • 4. Insurgent Strategy: As of 16 Nov 09
      • Overall insurgent strategy going into 2010
      • (despite increases in ISAF troop strength)
      • Increase base of support (continue to expand into West and North)
      • Counter ISAF expansion and cause casualties, esp., Coalition partners
      • Undermine efforts of good governance
      • Consolidate Command and Control, especially in the South
      • Strengthen leadership and unity of effort throughout the country
      • Maintain momentum in the winter and increase aggressiveness
      • Increase influence around urban centers of Kandahar and Kabul
      • Mid year adjustment of Taliban strategy
      • Leverage tribal influence to gain popular support
      • Improve command and control and operational security
      • Delegitimize participation in GIRoA
      • Expand operations in the West and North
      • Taliban overarching goals:
      • Expel foreign forces from Afghanistan
      • Undermine GIRoA’s authority and perceptions of security
      • Establish a Sunni state under Taliban Supreme Leader Mullah Omar
    • 5.
      • Insurgency is loosely organized, increasingly effective...but growing more cohesive
      • Insurgent strength is enabled by GIRoA weakness
      • International support for development has not met population’s expectations
      • Security force capacity has lagged behind a growing insurgency
      • Perceived insurgent success will draw foreign fighters
      What This Means In COIN , catch up ball does not work Kinetic Events 01 Jan 05 – 15 Dec 05 Kinetic Events 01 Jan 09 – 15 Dec 09 Kinetic Events 01 Jan 07 – 15 Dec 07 UNCLASSIFIED No events Low Medium High Events Density Significant
    • 6. Afghan Taliban Intentions and Directives
      • Taliban Code of Conduct published by Taliban leadership, Mid July 2009
      • (Mullah Omar’s COIN guidance – a population centric strategy)
      • “ This is our mission:  to keep people and their property safe.  Do not let those people that love money take our local people’s property and cause them problems.”    
      • “ Keep good relationships with your friends and the local people, and do not let the enemy divide / separate you.”
      UNCLASSIFIED Use the winter months to build on perceived successes
      • Intentions
      • We don’t have to beat ISAF militarily, just outlast international will to remain in Afghanistan
      • Continue population outreach and protection programs
      • Continue successful asymmetric operations
      • Expand lethal IED and high-profile attacks to deny ISAF freedom of movement
      • Emphasize increasing violence in RC North and RC West
      • Demonstrate Taliban reach and perceived control of all Afghanistan
      • Make the main enemy the United States
      • Directives
      • Reiterated prohibitions on the following:
        • Mistreating population
        • Forcibly taking personal weapons
        • Taking children to conduct jihad
        • Punishment by maiming
        • Forcing people to pay donations
        • Searching homes
        • Kidnapping people for money
    • 7. Taliban Governance
      • Inner Shura: Supreme ruling body; decisions based on consensus and within Omar’s guidance
      • Regional Shura / Committees: Direct and oversee policy; limited decision-making authority
      • Provincial Shura: Enforces and implements directives; represents local concerns
      • * Decision delays as fighters require guidance from smaller core of TBSL decision-makers
      • Inner Shura: Supreme Ruling body; makes decisions within Omar’s guidance
      • Greater Shura / Committees: Rule on local issues that Shura leaders take to a national-level Shura
      • Local Shura: Based on functional requirements, meeting needs of the Inner or Central Shura
      UNCLASSIFIED Inner Shura Mullah Omar and 10-15 members Central Shura 20-60 members Greater Shura Several hundred members Ministries, Committees, Councils Local Shura Membership varies Local Shura Membership varies Local Shura Membership varies
      • Traditional ministries:
      • Minister of Defense
      • Minister of Foreign Affairs
      • Minister of Education
      • Minister of Finance
      • Minister of Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue
      TB Structure (pre-2001)
      • Inner Shura committees:
      • Military
      • Finance
      • Ideology
      • Administrative
      • Political
      • Propaganda
      • Intelligence
      Inner Shura Mullah Omar and ~18 members organized in committees Regional Commander Ad hoc shuras or committees Regional Shuras ~15-20 members Provincial Shuras / Governors Although largely recreated, the Taliban senior structure in 2009 is more consolidated likely due to lack of freedom of movement and operational commander losses TB Structure 2009
    • 8. Security Rollup UNCLASSIFIED Ramadan 18 OCT – 14 NOV 04 5 OCT – 4 NOV 05 24 SEP – 23 OCT 06 13 SEP – 13 OCT 07 1 SEP – 28 SEP 08 22 AUG– 20 SEP 09 Transfer of Authority to ISAF 31 JUL 06 Attacks Against Afghanistan Infrastructure and Government Organizations Bombs (IED and Mines), Exploded Bombs (IED and Mines), Found and Cleared Ambush, grenade, RPG, and Other Small Arms Attacks Mortar, Rocket, and Surface to Air Attacks Presidential and Provincial Council Elections 20 AUG 09 Sources: Afghanistan JOIIS NATO SIGACTS data as of 15 December 2009 reporting. Parliamentary Elections 18 SEP 05 Presidential Elections OCT 04 Karzai Inauguration 19 NOV 09 POTUS Speech 01 DEC 09
      • Threat Assessment
      • Attack trends are expected to continue with levels of security incidents projected to be higher in 2010
      • Spike in attacks during Provincial elections not expected to be as high as National elections
      2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
    • 9. 2003 – 2006 Predominantly Military Ordnance Casualties: (04 – 16), (05 – 279), (06 – 1473) * No IED related casualty data available for 2003 UNCLASSIFIED IED Evolution in Afghanistan 2007 – 2009 Increasing use of Homemade Explosives (HME) (80 to 90 percent from Ammonium Nitrate) Casualties: (07 – 2293), (08 – 3308) Kinetic Events 01 Jan 09 – 15 Dec 09 1922 (2006) 2718 (2007) 4169 (2008) 831 (2005) 326 (2004) Events: 81 (2003)* Events: 7228 Casualties: 6037 (2009) Kinetic Events 01 Jan 05 – 15 Dec 05
    • 10. Ammonium Nitrate (AN) Use
      • AN based explosives, found in approx 85 percent of all main charge IEDs, are most common form of explosives
      • AN fertiliser accounts for as little as five percent of all legitimate fertilizer use in Afghan Theater of Operations; banning would have a minimal effect on Agriculture
      • AN is explosive in its raw state, but more powerful when mixed with diesel fuel; aluminium powder, sugar and fuel oil are often used
      • Pakistan is the principle source of AN entering ATO; China and Iran are also significant suppliers
    • 11. Main Charge Size Trends 0-25 lbs 26-50 lbs 100+ lbs 76-100 lbs 51-75 lbs IED Main Charge Weight May 2008 IED Main Charge Weight Dec 2009 0-25 lbs 26-50 lbs 51-75 lbs 76-100 lbs 100+ lbs
      • Percentage of IEDs with charge weights over 25 lbs has dramatically increased
      • Trend of increasing charge size is an effort by INS to provide a low-cost method of attempting to defeat friendly force armor technology
      • The IED is the weapon of choice for the Taleban (akin to the surface to air missile system for the mujahideen)
    • 12. Sustainment
      • Weapons and Ammunition:
        • Small arms weapons and ammunition readily available throughout the region
        • Increased availability of IED and HME materials and technology
      • Funding: External funding is top-down, while internal funding is bottom-up, providing Taliban a consistent stream of money to sufficiently fund operations:
        • Internal: Significant amount from opiate trade
          • Most reliable, accessible source of funds
          • Taxes; narcotics nexus; corruption
        • External: Originate in Islamic states
          • Delivered via couriers and hawalas
      • Recruits:
        • Retain the religious high-ground
        • Able to recruit from frustrated population
        • Exploit poverty, tribal friction, and lack of governance
      UNCLASSIFIED The Afghan insurgency can sustain itself indefinitely 18 tons + of opiates destroyed during an operation, May 2009
    • 13. Information from Detainees
      • 2009 perceived as most successful year of the war for INS
      • Expanded violence viewed as INS victory
      • Elections viewed as INS success; low turnout; fraud
      • INS attempting to solidify command structure
        • Directed leadership replacement causing friction with local elements
        • TBSL reestablishing strategic vision; wants TB seen as fair, uncorrupt
        • View Al Qaeda as a handicap – view that is increasingly prevalent
      • POLITICS:
        • Renewed focus on becoming a legitimate government
        • Expand shadow governance
        • U.S. seen as desiring permanent presence in Afghanistan
        • Promised infrastructure projects incomplete, ineffective
        • Karzai government universally seen as corrupt and ineffective
        • Crime and corruption pervasive amongst security forces
    • 14. Taliban Strategic Relationships
      • The Taliban retains required partnerships to sustain support, fuel legitimacy and bolster capacity
      • Domestic
        • Leverage Omar’s Islamic credentials to transcend tribal issues
        • Exploit corruption to generate funds, gain access, and secure protection
      • Regional / International – State
        • Known State relationships create tension
        • Current AFG TB vision if they return to power is to re-establish good relations with Islamic and Regional States
        • Careful not to antagonize Islamabad or Tehran in order to mitigate against crackdown on safe havens or support systems
      • Regional / International – Non-state
        • Manage relationship with AQ to avoid alienating Afghan population, but encourage support from global jihad network
        • Manage relationship with Pakistani militant groups to encourage reduced attacks in Pakistan, but encourage support for efforts in Afghanistan
        • Mutually supportive relationship with Chechen and Central Asian fighters
    • 15. Enemy Reaction if International Support Wanes The insurgency is confident …
      • Most Likely
      • Goal: Maintain pressure, enable ISAF withdrawal, population centric approach
      • Operations:
        • Contest ISAF presence, create opportunity for ISAF withdrawal of forces
        • Steadily increase violence, sustain high profile attacks in urban areas
        • Contest ISAF / GIRoA in north and west
        • Consolidate influence in areas they dominate, accommodate ISAF supporters who shift sides
      • Impact:
        • ISAF/ANSF able to secure population centers
        • Reduced international support for Afghanistan
        • Growing popular apathy toward GIRoA
        • Reduced support for ANSF
        • Ethnic fissures exacerbated, but militia remain focused on the insurgency
      … looking toward post-ISAF Afghanistan.
      • Most Dangerous
      • Goal: Increase pressure, seek to destroy ISAF, punish population
      • Operations:
        • More aggressively contest ISAF, inflict casualties if forces withdraw
        • Significantly increase high profile attacks in urban areas
        • Foster ethnic rivalries in north and west
        • Impose TB Sharia in areas they dominate, punish ISAF supporters
      • Impact:
        • Reduced security in population centers
        • Significant loss of international support
        • Open popular frustration with GIRoA
        • Popular enmity toward ANSF
        • Open fighting between ethnic groups, drawing in regional benefactors
    • 16. Insurgent Strengths and Weaknesses
      • Strengths
      • Organizational capabilities and operational reach are qualitatively and geographically expanding
      • Strength and ability of shadow governance increasing
      • Much greater frequency of attacks and varied locations
      • IED use is increasing in numbers and complexity; as much a tactic and process as it is a weapon
      • Speed and decisiveness of their information operations and media campaign -- this is their main effort
      • Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities
      • Comprised of multiple locally-based tribal networks
      • Persistent fissures among insurgent leadership at local levels
      • Dependent on many marginalized / threatened segments of Pashtun population
      • Over-reliance on external support
    • 17. Thoughts on Pakistan
      • Pakistan is as or more complex than Afghanistan
        • Tribal and religion overtones, yet strong national identity, multiple ethnicities, most desire some form of democracy, a worsening economy but a nuclear weapons state
      • Foreign intervention resented in most of the country
        • Predominantly an Indian issue, but strong resentment against the US and UK; appears to be growing against Taliban
      • Tribal values and traditional core beliefs still dominate large parts of the country
        • “ Outsiders” trying to impose new ideas and beliefs create tension; nature of tribal traditions can supersede Islam
      • Army is perceived to be more capable (and dependable) than the government
        • Regarded as a positive influence in the FATA and NWFP because they are locally recruited and able to work within local systems
      • Large numbers of internally displaced people from years of fighting, a poor economy and natural disasters
        • Potential breeding ground for the Taliban…but offers opportunities for counter-radicalization programs
      • Violations of Pakistan sovereignty may contribute to radicalizing the population and diminishes credibility of the GoP
        • Demonstrates an inability of the government; perception they cannot protect their own; exacerbates anti-western sentiment
      Staying the course in Pakistan as important as staying the course in Afghanistan UNCLASSIFIED
    • 18. Time is Running Out
      • The Taliban-led insurgency has the momentum...but additional effective counterinsurgency forces and operations will challenge them in select districts and provinces
      01 Jan 09 – 15 Dec 09 01 Jan 05 – 15 Dec 05 01 Jan 07 – 15 Dec 07 Kinetic Events by Geography Kinetic Events by Week and Type
      • Taliban influence expanding; contesting and controlling additional areas.
      • Kinetic events are up 300% since 2007 and an additional 60% since 2008.
      • The Taliban now has “Shadow Governors” in 33 of 34 provinces (as of DEC 09)
      UNCLASSIFIED PAK STATS (Open Source—as of 12 NOV): Suicide Attacks: 66 (793 KIA / 2086 WIA) Other IED Attacks: 83 (760 KIA / 875 WIA) 39 attacks since 17 OCT (~ 30 days) Taliban Shadow Governors
    • 19. Conclusions
      • We have a key advantage – Taliban is not a popular movement (yet); population is frustrated by GIRoA, we must make them believe ISAF / GIRoA can succeed
      • Taliban represents an existential threat -- only they have sufficient organizational capability and support to pose a threat to GIRoA’s viability (they are most coherent in the south)
      • Regional instability is rapidly increasing and getting worse
      • New strategy will incur risks -- not properly executing the strategy has greater risk
        • Longer war
        • Greater casualties
        • Higher overall costs
        • Loss of political support
        • Taliban strength is the perception that its victory is inevitable; reversing momentum requires protecting the population and changing perceptions
      • Under-resourcing significantly elevates risk, increases lag time, and is likely to cause failure
      • Success requires operating / thinking, in a fundamentally new way
      The situation is serious -- significant change is required. UNCLASSIFIED
    • 20. Questions / Discussion UNCLASSIFED
    • 21. Possible IED Cell Structure Local Support / Outside Interest Groups / Foreign Contacts Weapons Thief Weapons Dealer Electronics Dealer Training Cell Leader Cache Recruiter/Facilitator IED Emplacement Team(s) Financier Training IED Detonation Site Recon Site Prep IED Maker(s)
      • An IED cell needs the following: financing, access to munitions/explosives, an IED architect/maker, someone to survey an attack site, someone to emplace the IED, and someone to initiate the IED.
      • Although no two cells are likely to be the same and one person may fulfill multiple roles in a given cell, below is a potential diagram of an IED cell.
    • 22. Materials / IED Components The Improvised Explosive Device (IED) (The insurgent’s choice of a weapon and a tactic Insurgent Networks The Population is the Center of Gravity – not the IED Location Event Propaganda Casualties IED
    • 23. How Do We Solve the Problem? IED Secure the Population Governance Development Afghan Population Training Material Organization Information Ops Ultimately, We Win by Doing COIN Better