Tactics in Afghan War The Past and The Present

The Soviets came up with a mind of exercising their military strength in Afghanistan through the large number of soldiers and advanced military equipment they possessed, however the conditions in Afghanistan were totally different and the strategy of massive march of forces headed by technologically advanced tanks was not applicable here. In fact tanks were of little use in the mountainous battle fields of Afghanistan, the only productive tactic that the Soviets could practice was the use of air assault and heliborne forces. The Soviets were over equipped with technologically advanced equipment however most of it was unusable in Afghanistan. Tanks were present in great numbers but helicopters which were later considered as the biggest asset in the war were never enough for fulfilling the combat requirements. The strategy of attacking in expanded formations only made it easy for the mujahideen to hunt the soldiers. Air assaults and airborne forces were most effective and were very often used to aid the ground combat forces. The strategy of enveloping the mechanized ground attacks by air assault forces which landed in various different locations around the target area and were used to cut the supplies, destroy the bases and block the routes of withdrawal in addition to initiating the attack from different directions (Grau, 1996). But everything other tactic other than the air assault forces was devised wrongly. The very basics of war strategies were wrongly worked out, the Soviet uniform for example, was not suitable for Afghanistan because it was a battle field for light infantrymen and overloaded troops were not able to travel and climb the mountains. As a result reconnaissance forces which were light but well-trained were used in combat and could not produce results. The primary function of reconnaissance forces was also not being fulfilled and the Soviets had to rely on air and radio reconnaissance, which were not correct. The rations soldiers carried with them were not suitable for mountainous battle field and their shiny tin packing helped the mujahideen in tracing the soldiers. Poor field sanitation conditions and unbalanced diets resulted in the spread of disease and an overall poor health of the soldiers. The tactic of massed firepower instead of accuracy only added to the burden carried by the soldiers and was never successful in killing guerilla fighters. The morale of the soldiers was not very high as well because before coming to the battle they were told that they were going to fight against the US and Chinese mercenaries in Afghanistan but after coming to Afghanistan the soldiers realized that they were the oppressors in foreign land and were not liked by the local population. They never managed to win the hearts of the local people and were involved in severe war crimes. Learning from the mistakes committed by the Soviets, the military tactics adopted by the international forces under the US have proven to be very effective. The success of the Soviet air assaults and airborne forces has helped the US to devise the basis of strategy in Afghanistan. Technological advancements, particularly the drones have greatly influenced the present tactics of war in Afghanistan and the airborne strikes are the primary way of successfully targeting the Taliban (King, 2009). As the US forces