Fight for Rahadnak Valley


You are Marwand Paywastun, a local leader of the needihajum freedom fighters led by Sher Dil. You live in Rahadnak Valley and are proud to have never left it. It is now spring, the winter has gone, and your friends, family, and neighbors have planted the annual crops hoping for a bountiful harvest. After a few years of relative peace, foreign soldiers invaded your valley. Over the past month the Americans took over to impose foreign rule upon the dozen villages that make up the Rahadnak Valley. There is no reason to expect they will stop. They come in the hundreds, riding in their armored vehicles, often with helicopters flying overhead. Fortunately, while they have vehicles, you own this land and know every cave, ravine, goat trail, and hiding place in the valley.

This season you have been able to recruit over 60 fighters from your village of Ada and 2 nearby villages. While they include many of the major clans, some of the clans are neutral to your cause and some are hostile, favoring the Americans over their freedom. Your fighters have trained since birth as hunters and are organized as eight groups of seven to eight fighters (ineluding your own bodyguard) by clan affiliation. You have been able to amass 6 rocket propelled grenades with 20 rounds, one 82mm mortar with 25 rounds, two 14.7mm machineguns, 45 AK-47s with 80 rounds for each weapon, 4 cell phones, and 3 radios. Communication in the valley is primarily by messenger. Clan leaders have cell phones, and you have most of their numbers. Ada has four vehicles that belong to the local clan leader, who is also your uncle. The landscape is littered with unexploded bombs and shells left over from past wars.

Sher Dill has charged you with defending the western entrance of the valley from the American invaders. (See map.) He also reminds all of his leaders to be vigilant of the mood of other clans and to take every advantage to both defeat the Americans and increase our own numbers and supporters.

This morning one of your nephews rides to your home with news from your brother, a worker at the American base near Jalalabad. He states that the Americans have just received a new unit of soldiers with their armored vehicles, who began patrolling in the area a day after arrival. Based on previous experience, the Americans usually follow the same pattern, encircling the village with some of their men and vehicles and sending a smaller force into the village to search houses. You believe the Americans will be here by tomorrow afternoon at the latest. What now?


In a time limit of 15 minutes, prepare your order to your group leader. Be prepared to discuss the rationale for your decisions.

Issues for Consideration

1. What do you believe the Americans’ goal is?

2. What is your estimate of the American strength compared to your own?

3. What do you consider mission success?

4. How does your vision of success correspond to Sher Dil’s objectives?

5. How sensitive are you to casualties among your own fighters? How sensitive are you to local civilian casualties and property damage? How do your actions reflect this?

6. Is your focus on using your fighters to destroy the Americans or to instigate the local populace to action?

7. Assume that at the end of the engagement you have brought down two Americans but are unable to photograph or claim the bodies, one home is damaged in the fighting, one oí your lighters from a nearby village is killed, another is wounded in the fighting, and your force has fallen back to the surrounding countryside and into the valley.

What actions can you take to exploit the loss of life and damage to property?

What actions can the Americans take that will help you exploit the situation?

How can this action increase your standing with the local populace?

How will you communicate your message to the local populace?