Did the leadership understand the enemy intent and capability in Wanat, Afghanistan?

Did the leadership understand the enemy intent and capability in Wanat, Afghanistan?

On 13 July 2008, nine American soldiers perished while fighting a pitched battle in the village of Wanat in Afghanistan’s Waygal Valley. On that day, the men of Company C, 2d Battalion, 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment, endured four hours of intense close quarters combat and mounting casualties. The contingent of 49 United States and 24 Afghan National Army Soldiers valiantly defended their small outpost against a coordinated attack by a determined insurgent force armed with rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons. Despite the initial advantage of tactical surprise and numerical superiority, it was the insurgents who ultimately broke contact and withdrew from Combat Outpost Kahler.

All operations in war require a certain amount of risk because there are variables in play that could impact operations. Within risk assessments, it is critical to determine where risk is mitigated and where it is not, therefore identifying acceptable and unacceptable risk.

Please read the Combat Action in Afghanistan 2008 (WANAT) attachment and write a 500 word synopsis on your opinion(s) of the risk mitigation prior to and during occupation of COP Kahler at WANAT. Things to consider while evaluating the leadership’s role in mitigating the risk for COP Kahler:

1) Did the leadership understand the enemy intent and capability in WANAT? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

2) Due to construction requirements not available on time, the soldiers still occupied the COP? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

3) Was the weather a factor in mitigating the risk? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

4) Was the support/assets available in case of an attack? Was the support/assets available during the occupation of the COP? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

5) Was there enough intelligence resources available to the leadership? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

6) Was there enough logistical support available to soldiers in the COP? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

7) What are your thoughts on the OP site selection at the COP? Acceptable/Unacceptable risk?

8) Did the leadership really mitigate the risk for this mission?

9) After reading the report, was the risk really worth the gain?


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