|History and Biodata
The Afghan military will begin expanding its elite commando units in the coming weeks, Afghan officials and military officers said, in a bid to capitalize on a force that has been one of the few success stories in the nearly 16-year-old war.
Starting in September 2017, the training academy here — an old Russian paratrooper base tucked in a valley south of Kabul — will add an 800-man, 14-week-long commando course atop its current curriculum. Afghan officials are optimistic that in the coming years the 12,000-strong force will be able to almost double, to 22,000 troops.
As the number of commandos grows, the Ministry of Interior’s elite police unit and the Afghan Air Force’s Special Mission Wing will also expand, to 9,000 and 1,000 troops, respectively.(20170811) A recent report from the Pentagon’s Special Inspector General for Afghanistan said the commandos and other special units were responsible for 80 percent of all Afghan offensive operations as of early 2017, but warned that they have been overused. Rapidly growing the elite forces could also dilute the commando units to a point where they are indistinguishable from regular units, suffering the same issues with discipline and morale while increasing the threat of insider attacks.
In June 2017, a commando launched multiple rockets at a group of Army Green Berets, wounding four. A week before that attack, another commando opened fire on a group of American soldiers, killing three.
A Khasa Amalyati Qeta/Qeta-e-Khas-e-Amalyati or Afghan Special Operations Unit, (KAQ/QKA) is comprised of Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police, and National Directorate of Security personnel. The KAQ/QKA leads special operations with support from U.S. Forces. (20120408)
Morehead Commando Training Center, about six miles south of the capital Kabul, in Rish Kor Rishkhor, was commissioned in 2007.
Camp Morehead is the principle site training ANA Commando Kandaks (battalions). The first commando class graduated from Camp Morehead on July 28th, 2007 they were then paired with U.S. Special Forces units and sent out to conduct counter-insurgency operations throughout Afghanistan.
The training program lasts 90 days and is conducted by U.S. and French Special Operations Forces. 12-week program that includes intensive individual and small-unit tactics and movement techniques while under fire.
Commando Kandaks training mirrors that of the Army Rangers in that they function primarily as a light infantry assault forcebut can perform a number of other specialized missions as well. The plan was to train at least six Commando Kandaks at Morehead with the eventual goal being to turn over Morehead and the training program to the Afghan National Army.
As of September, 2008 there were five Commando Kandaks with 640 soldiers each conducting operations throughout Afghanistan. The fifth class that graduated in September was forward deployed to Mazar-e-Sharif.
Afghan National Army leadership, Commandos, governors, and shura members were joined by members of the Special Operation Forces community at Camp Morehead 2011 March 5, during the unveiling and dedication of the ANA Commando Hall of Valor.
The Hall of Valor, a memorial room located at the Commando Brigade building on Camp Morehead, was constructed 2011 to honor and remember each of the 74 ANA Special Forces and Commandos who have lost their lives since 2007, when U.S. Special Forces began training the first Commando Kandak.
“It is vital that we remember the 74 men who have given their lives, the more than 150 who have been wounded, and the sacrifices they and their families have made for Afghanistan,” said Maj. Kevin Trujillo, U.S. Special Forces commander at Camp Morehead.
The Hall of Valor, a large open room furnished with a conference table and lounge area, is decorated with numerous gifts, plaques, and numerous commandos’ images adorning three of the four walls. The fourth wall holds the names of each of the fallen Commandos as well as a brief description of the jobs and duties they held.
Leaders from local village shuras, as well as Mohammad Halim Fidai and Attiqullah Loden, governors of Wardak and Logar provinces respectively, attended the ceremony alongside Lt. Gen. Mohammad Akram, Minister of Defense first deputy, Brig. Gen. Dadon Lawang, 1st Commando Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Austin Miller, Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan commander, and many other representatives from U.S. and ANA forces.
“In a few short years, the Commandos and [ANA] Special Forces (ANASF), working alongside U.S. Special Forces, have developed a great level of accomplishment and fostered trust and pride throughout Afghanistan in the work they do. The name Commando instills pride in our people, while instilling fear in our enemies, keeping them awake at night and causing them to run and hide, for the Commandos are near,” said Lawang. “All these achievements have been accomplished by the brave sons of Afghanistan, but these achievements do not come without sacrifices.”
Alongside the 74 Commandos who have lost their lives, more than 150 Commandos and Special Forces members have been injured (2011).