The Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB) deployed downrange to bolster the U.S. training, advisory, and assistance mission in Afghanistan four months ago, and so far the unit's impact on the ground has been, well, "positive" — or, at least, according to a new Pentagon report.
The June 2018 DoD report on 'Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan' indicates that the SFAB immediately extended training, advisory, and assistance efforts "below the corps and zone levels" to deal with individual ANDSF units, resulting in "more robust TAA efforts and increased...effectiveness of ANDSF operations," per the DoD.
More specifically, the arrival of the 1st SFAB provided "an increased level of advising expertise and afforded the flexibility" for new training areas, including "warfighting functions, including maneuver tactics, intelligence, communications, logistics, and maintenance."
The major benefit came from a straight-up increase in personnel. The 1,000 SFAB soldiers who arrived in Afghanistan in March boosted the number of advisory teams from three to eight, allowing U.S. forces to embed across "the entirety" of the Afghan National Army.
The Pentagon report also claims that the uptick in SFAB advisor embeds "proved extremely effective against the Taliban," which has been forced to resort to guerrilla tactics and other sporadic attacks in urban centers; similarly, ISIS-K fighters in the ever-turbulent Nangarhar province "faced significant territorial, leadership, and personnel losses."
Taken alone, the DoD report seems promising. But despite the Army's bullishness on the new unit, it's hard to reconcile with other damning assessments of the ongoing U.S. mission in Afghanistan — such as data that indicates the Taliban is controlling or contesting 59% of the country's 407 districts.
Are you deployed downrange or training with an SFAB? Or have a non-sanitized anecdote regarding the brigade's performance downrange? Hit us up in the comments or via email. We would love to hear from you, as always.
President Donald Trump hit back at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday with a letter saying he was "sorry to inform" her that her trip to Brussels, Belgium and Afghanistan would be canceled due to the government shutdown, just one day after Pelosi proposed cancelling the State of the Union address for similar reasons.
Marine Corps drill instructor R. Lee Ermey in his iconic role in 'Full Metal Jacket' (Warner Bros.)
Retired Marine Staff Sgt. R. Lee Ermey, the legendary Marine drill instructor turned iconic Full Metal Jacket actor who died last year, will be formally laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery at 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, according to the cemetery's web site.