BAGRAM, Afghanistan – The more than 4,700 strong Commando corps represent the elite of regular Afghan national army soldiers and are trained for and capable of conducting raids, cordon and searches, ambushes, special operations reconnaissance patrols and more.
Graduating after three months of training, Afghan commandos become part of a Kandak, of which there are eight, and are ready to begin three cycles of operations; red, amber, and green.
Each Kandak consists of three companies, and the Kandaks are based in various locations across Afghanistan.
Not limiting themselves to military operations against militants who are enemies of Afghanistan, the commandos are also highly engaged in various humanitarian projects. They provide Afghans with medical and school supplies, providing feedback as liaisons to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and also food and clothing.
After completing training near Kabul, the Commandos begin their cycle of three phases. The red, amber, and green cycles represent three distinct timelines, each cycle lasting six weeks.
The red cycle is a leave, or rest and recuperation, cycle. This occurs after their battalion has completed their green cycle.
From the red cycle, the commandos begin their amber cycle. During this phase, they are actively engaging in training for their green cycle, and also participate in low-level missions.
These missions include ground movements and preparing to respond quickly when other Afghans or coalition forces require their assistance in a timely manner.
They also take exams and conduct other training, such as conducting air assaults in helicopters flown by Afghans, to remain proficient in their tasks that commandos will engage in when they enter their green or operational cycle.
Utilizing training that is modeled after the high standards and discipline of U.S. Army Rangers, the commandos begin their green cycle, fully capable and engaged in military and humanitarian missions to assist the Afghan government against militants in counterinsurgency operations.
During their green cycle, Afghan commandos help to disassemble insurgent networks and deny sanctuary through battle space where there is a limited or non-existent presence of regular ANSF.
As a testament to their skill sets and willingness to engage in the future of Afghanistan, from February 1 to April 3, the commandos have conducted more than 100 operations.
These operations include, but are not limited to, the arrest of high-profile insurgents, rescuing kidnapped Afghan national army members, denying insurgents drug havens and participating in the high-profile Operation Moshtarak to regain the Afghan city of Marjah, in Helmand province.
The professionalism and capabilities of the Afghan commandos is not lost among their Special Forces partners either, as commandos are now working even closer with Special Forces, and in many cases take the lead in mission planning, logistics and operations execution.