Tactical Intelligence Identified a Taliban Trend.
When I was 22 years old I deployed to Afghanistan on my first overseas mission.
I remember scrambling off the Black-Hawk quickly due to the very real threat of Rocket Propelled Grenades. I was located in a remote combat base somewhere in Southern Afghanistan and I was the only intelligence analyst living with a platoon of 30 men.
With intermittent internet, and patchy voice communications, our best source of information came from the local population…
It didn’t take us long to realise, we were in a dangerous part of the world.
Within the first two weeks of our deployment our Sniper team leader received a gun shot wound to the thigh and was evacuated. Good intelligence was going to be crucial to having a tactical edge against these insurgents.
Every time our patrols would leave the wire enemy communications would spike, and Taliban insurgents would report on our location, troop numbers and patrol routes.
About two months into the deployment, I started to notice a trend, the Taliban insurgents were beginning to adapt their tactics. They were starting to use our standard operating procedures (SOPs) against us.
Up to this point, whenever we identified a Improvised Explosive Device (IED), we would remain in location until the bomb disposal team would be dispatched to our location to render the bomb safe. According to our own rules, we weren’t allowed to leave the IED in case civilians were injured by it.
Taliban insurgents identified this, and began to exploit our SOPs by emplacing fake IEDs along our patrol route. This would cause us to stop and wait in location. They used this tactic to fix us in location.
The Taliban would take up firing positions in the villages and attack us while we were vulnerable.
It took a few instances before we identified it as a new tactic by the Taliban insurgents. Providing this information to our command, we were able to change our tactics, to adapt to the threat.
Key Lesson: Know the environment and know the enemy.
Having a detailed understanding of the enemy allowed us to quickly identify changes in their tactics.