Capital Crimes


You are the battalion intelligence officer with a collateral billet as the assistant information officer, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), I lth MEU. Recently, the MEU was sent to Nangarhar Province (capital city Jalalabad), Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The MEU completed the relief in place of the small NATO force 2 days ago and has started operations in Jalalabad and the Tora Bora region of your area of operations (AO). After initial operations in Jalalabad, organized resistance has ceased. However, insurgent and tribal fighters remain as active combatants.

Jalalabad is an urban environment characterized by densely but haphazardly arranged mud brick houses of one and two stories with flat roofs, with the occasional taller building, usually a mosque or other religiously associated structure. The main roads are paved and two lanes wide. Side roads are paved but only 1 ll2 lanes wide. In addition, there are numerous dirt alleyways only suitable for foot traffic.

The enemy you face wears no standardized military uniform and often appears in civilian dress, uses Soviet-era infantry weapons (AK-47s, light machineguns, and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs)), and has the occasional command of 82mm mortars and 12.7mm machineguns. His main tactic is the ambush, initiated by RPG attack or improvised explosive device (IED). The enemy rarely stands to fight, even after such ambushes. When they do, it is often the signal of a major engagement. Recent prolonged engagements between insurgents and NATO forces here and in Kabul indicate that prolonged engagements generally occur around religious sites.

The NATO force has been relatively successful in matters of civil affairs and civil-milirary relations. They initiated a “weapons buy back program,” paying for each weapon turned in depending upon its lethality. The MEU commanding officer (CO) has continued this program at the same rates the NATO force authorized. Despite such gains, the area of responsibility still has its share of insurgent attacks. Of the seven major clans in the AO, the BLT has secured the support of one smaller Tajik clan but still faces resistance from several of the larger Pashtun and Tajik clans in the city and surrounding area.

It is 1530. The BLT is on day 3 of operations in Jalalabad with Fox Company as the main effort. Their specific tasks include deterring enemy activity and identifying local police and security forces in order to isolate enemy forces in Jalalabad. You are currendy in the combat operations center (COC) tracking 2d Platoons patrol. They have crossed the Helmand River bisecting Jalalabad and are continuing north along Main Supply Route 6 (Route 6). You note that they are currendy entering the area controlled by the one friendly Tajik tribe in Jalalabad. As you are monitoring their progress, the watch officer (the BLT S-4A (assistant logistics officer)) yells, “Quiet in the COC. 2d Platoon in contact,” grabs the radio, and turns up the speaker. You notice someone in the COC pick up the cell phone, dial a number and say, “To the COC,” and hang up.

From 1st Squad: “Enemy squad with AKs, RPG, mortar IED. Watson and Perez are down. Need casevac. Break. Recommend 2d Squad move north of my position and cut off retreating enemy elements. Over.”

Approximately 30 seconds later from 2d Platoon commander to 3d Squad: “2d Squad is reinforcing 1st Squad attack. Proceed north to major intersection in order to prevent enemy reinforcements from attacking our flank. Break. Break. [Platoon call sign to battalion call sign], Request casevac at TLZ [tactical landing zone] Robin in 10 minutes. How copy, over?”

Approximately 1 minute later from 1st Squad to COC: “Be advised, we also have one local child urgent casevac. Over.”

The watch officer radios casevac helo section and verifies they will be available at the time and place specified.

Approximately 4 minutes later from 3d Squad to platoon commander: “Be advised, at intersection. Intercepted local security force that is assisting. Over.”

Approximately 5 minutes later from 1st Squad: “In position at TLZ Robin. Observe helos inbound.” Approx 1 minute later: “Casevac away. Break, break. [Call sign 1st Squad to platoon commander], we are rejoining platoon moving from south to north along the road. Over.” The platoon commander verifies 1 st Squad’s transmission.

Approximately 4 minutes later the helos land, and the injured personnel are transferred to the shock trauma platoon. Also this from the platoon commander: “Enemy forces no longer resisting. We have four enemy killed, three wounded, and local female wounded. Request casevac at TLZ Robin. Will drop captured weapons and munitions with casevac helo and leave one fire team as security for wounded EPWs [enemy prisoners of war] with casevac. Will turn over bodies to local security force that 3d Squad found. Will continue patrol pending further orders. Over.”

The watch officer looks at you and asks, “Anything you want them to do from the intel side while they are there?”


In a time limit of 20 minutes, indicate to the watch officer what 2d Platoon needs to accomplish and why (task/purpose), what actions you will take (and additional actions you will recommend to the CO that the BLT take) with regard to the EPWs and wounded civilians, what information operations products you will recommend to the CO as a result of this action, and what other information you need from 2d Platoon now and after they return from patrol.

Issues for Consideration

1 . Who do you believe the enemy is? What information do you need to determine who the enemy is?

2. How do your actions and orders to 2d Platoon provide that information?

3. What kind of information do you plan to get from the EPWs that may support your intelligence and information operations?

4. What course of action would you recommend to the CO for the injured civilians? The local “security force”?

5. What will the enemy say about the attack, and what method will he use to exploit the situation in his favor? How do your actions and recommendations counter his efforts to exploit the situation?

6. What will the local population say about the attack, and what method will they use to discuss this incident? How do your actions and recommendations promulgate the idea that your unit’s presence is positive for the local population? How do you plan to measure the messages effectiveness?