July 10, 2009
Name: Bouhammer, Old Blue, WOTN, Vampire 06
Posting date: 7/10/09
Milblog: Afghan Lessons Learned For Soldiers
With the renewed focus on the first battleground in the War On Terror, Afghanistan, we offer some maps for readers less familiar with some of the terrain and locations that often come up in discussions on our site. Other readers will be intimately aware of these areas in question and perhaps even recall the fine talcum dust so prevalent there.
In the fine tradition of military style traditions, I'll begin with the One Over the World. (Afghanistan is the green spot.)
Clearly, it is on "the other side of the world," but as we look closer, we can see some of the challenges:
One of the first things to notice is that it is landlocked. Another important point is the tumultuous neighbors: Iran, Pakistan, and China. Less obvious in this 2003 map is that the old neighbor -- the Soviet Union -- is now a number of neighbors, emerging young nations such as Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. These are plagued with active attempts by Iran to spread Islamism, as well as attempts by AQ surrogates to overthrow their young governments.
Looking a bit closer, we can see the that the terrain itself is difficult:
That terrain is understated in the above map, and it is also not the only challenge. The ethnicities are as varied as the terrain:
Some of the areas that pop up the most are:
Herat: a city and a province on the Iranian border (northwest).
Kandahar: a city and province on the Pakistani border (southeast), which was the Taliban capital.
Helmand: a city and province in the South and heavy in the poppy trade.
Paktia and Paktika Provinces: which border Pakistan and are deep in the Pashtun areas from which the Taliban find their base of support. The particularly rugged terrain in this area makes the border difficult to define and hard to defend. Taliban have a tendency to cross over easily.
The Northern Provinces: less volatile than the South and East (areas bordering Pakistan) and are less noted in our reports, partially because our NATO allies are responsible for these safer regions.
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