Free Range International

All Clear

At 0630 this morning, Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in the form of the Kabul Critical Response Unit (CRU) finished off a crew of villains who had been fighting for the past 16 hours. These guys, most likely HIG militants, had barricaded themselves in a building under construction next to the Azizi Bank located on […]

Storm Warning

America is currently experiencing some monster tornadoes deep in the heartland.  As dawn breaks across my homeland the scenes of devastation are dramatic but the casualties so far remarkably low. When a sudden serious storm breaks in Kabul it’s a tornado of steal and there is one unwinding now in Kabul right down the street […]

Operation Magistral

There was an article on Afghanistan last week that got my immediate attention.  The article had a one day life cycle and I have not seen any follow ups which, given the content, is surprising.   I am not referring to the change in  night raid policy – I couldn’t care less about night raids […]

Return to Kabul

Kabul is currently a tense place. It has had periods of unrest many times in the past (the 2006 riots that erupted after American soldiers caused a multi-fatality motor vehicle accident springs instantly to mind) but Kabul isn’t experiencing unrest – it’s tense like a tight spring. The endgame is near, internationals are no longer […]

A New Strategy!

President Obama has released his new plan for the military which I agree with but not for his stated reasons for developing a new strategy. First allow me to present ten years of NATO in Afghanistan in three pictures:     There it is; Afghanistan is toast, and what the last 10 years has taught […]

Stuck in Kabul

We are finishing up our projects and preparing to call it a war. This year we have been operating in 20 Provinces, all of them kinetic and getting every project we started finished on schedule and on budget. I now routinely move in Ghost Team mode throughout the Southwest using a few tricks of the […]

What A Mess

I’m not referring to the controversy surrounding the attempted rescue of Linda Norgrove which is currently consuming the news cycle. My experience is that Special Operations folks do not attempt rescue operations without solid intelligence and a well rehearsed plan. I don’t know what happened in Kunar Province last weekend and therefore have no comment. […]

Meet a Couple of Heroes

Hero is one of those terms which comes up often in reporting about the military. Not every service member is a hero nor is every hero we encounter in our lives associated with the military. I point this out because the label “hero” is at risk of becoming a meaningless cliche as we approach the […]

Getting After It

One of the Chim Chim’s dropped in for a visit last month.  He was on some sort of ISAF  inspection team which I didn’t ask too much about and told us that every-time he asked officers from the unit he was looking at what they were doing the reply was “getting after it.” They were […]

Losing Hearts and Minds

Ben Arnoldy at the Christen Science Monitor penned an excellent tale on reconstruction efforts going pear shaped and the consequences resulting from such folly.  It is good reporting from one of the truly professional foreign correspondents working the country today. The report was original, focused and resulted from Ben going to the remote Badakshan Province […]