This document describes the composition and placement of U.S. and other Western combat forces in Afghanistan down to battalion level. It includes the following categories of units: maneuver (i.e. infantry, armor, and cavalry) units, which in most cases are responsible for particular districts or provinces; artillery units, including both those acting as provisional maneuver units and those in traditional artillery roles; aviation units, both rotary and fixed-wing; military police units; most types of engineer and explosive ordnance disposal units; and “white” special operations forces, described in general terms. It does not include “black” special operations units or other units such as logistical, transportation, medical, and intelligence units or Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
1 Established in the summer of 2012, SOJTF-A/NSOCC-A is a two-star headquarters that oversees all three allied SOF commands in Afghanistan: CJSOTF-A, ISAF SOF, and the “black” special operations forces of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command task force. See USSOCOM Fact Book 2013.
2 CJSOTF-A is headquartered by troops from the 3rd Special Forces Group. Its core tasks are to advise the Afghan National Army’s special operations forces (the Afghan commando kandaks and Special Forces) and to train and advise the local police forces associated with the Village Stability Operations program. CJSOTF-A controls six battalion-level task forces: two built around Army Special Forces battalions, two around Army infantry battalions, one around a Marine special operations battalion, and one around a Navy SEAL team. Navy Combat Camera Command Detachment 1210, “CJSOTF-A Presentation,” June 2012.
3 2-3 Infantry is detached from 3rd SBCT, 2nd ID, and deployed in December 2011. TF Ghazni mixes conventional and special operations troops, and some of 2-3’s companies provide security for special operations forces elsewhere in Afghanistan. See “Winter Letter from the Commander, Patriot 6.”
4 2-7 Infantry relieved 1-30 Infantry in October 2012. TF Balkh mixes conventional and special operations troops. See battalion Facebook page.
5 Established in 2007, ISAF SOF is a one-star, brigade-level headquarters that oversees most non-U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan as well as one U.S. special operations unit, TF 10. Command of ISAF SOF appears to rotate between British and Australian officers; Brig. Mark Smethurst was in command as of March 2012.