You are the Commanding Officer, Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2d Battalion, 1st Marines (BLT 2/1), 11th MEU. The MEU was sent to Nangarhar Province (capital city Jalalabad), Afghanistan, in support of NATO forces during Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. You have been in-country almost 3 months now. Approximately 45 days ago your company was assigned to the eastern sector of the area of operations (AO), a sector that includes the main road from Jalalabad to Pakistan through the Khyber Pass. Your company’s tasks include defeating anticoalition/insurgent/Taliban forces, halting the illegal flow of arms and explosives, and strengthening local government, police, and army forces. All of these tasks are executed in order to increase local stability and promote legitimate economic growth in the AO.
You decided to assign one platoon to work with the Basawal Police and one platoon to work with the Hazar Police. The 3d Platoon in your company is assigned as a quick reaction force (QRF) in Hazar. The weapons platoon is currently reinforcing your maneuver platoons, and the BLT has provided one combined antiarmor team (CAAT) as the Basawal QRF under operational control to you. Company mortars are in general support of the company, currently with you at your headquarters in Basawal.
Over the last 45 days your company has been very successful in deterring insurgent activity in your AO, and your platoon commanders report success in building the professionalism and tactical proficiency of the Afghan police force in these two cities. Approximately 2 days ago, demonstrations in the town of Hazar resulted in several injuries to civilian and local police forces, as well as the seizure of local fuel trucks that were recovered 6 hours later minus the fuel they were carrying.
Yesterday, you completed movement of the company command post (CP) to the town of Hazer and temporarily reassigned the CAAT to Hazar as a company reserve. You then ordered security patrols and a curfew in coordination with the Afghan Police. While order is being restored, several tribal leaders of both the Qizilbash and Pashtun tribes have accused police and military forces of stealing fuel from local vendors. Local police (a mix of Tajik and Pashtun tribes) did not deny this, stating that their vehicles need fuel, the government will not provide it, and they will pay for what they have taken when the funds become available. What now?
In a time limit of 20 minutes, issue your orders to your subordinate units, actions you will take, and what reports, recommendations, and requests for support you will give to battalion.
Issues for Consideration
1. What do you believe is the BLT or MEU intent in this area?
2. How do your actions and orders support this intent?
3. What is the focus of effort for your company in this situation?
4. What is your priority in this situation? What do you think is the civilian priority in this situation?
5. How do you employ the local police force?
6. What actions do you take to defeat civilian motivation to riot?
- While in the area?
- After you move your CP back to Basawal and return the CAAT to Basawal?
- Over the next month?
7. How can information operations support your actions to defeat civilian motivation to further resist?