201st Corps (Afghanistan)

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201st Corps
Active 2004 - present
Country  Afghanistan
Branch Afghan National Army
Type Corps
Garrison/HQ Pul-e-Charkhi, Kabul Province
Engagements

War in Afghanistan (2001–present)

Commanders
Current commander Major General Mohammad Mangal
Soldiers assigned to the 201st Corps during a training exercise in 2013

The 201st 'Selab' ('Flood') Corps of the Afghan National Army is a corps-sized formation created from 2004. The establishment of the corps started when the first commander and some of his staff were appointed on 1 September 2004.[1] Its headquarters are at Pol-e-Charkhi, near Kabul. The corps is responsible for the east of the country (Kabul, Logar, Kapisa, Nuristan, Kunar, and Laghman provinces). The corps is now led by Major General Mohammad Mangal.

The corps' 1st Brigade is at the Presidential Palace. 3rd Brigade, at Pol-e-Charkhi, is to be a mechanised formation including M-113s[2] and Soviet-built main battle tanks.[3] Later information from LongWarJournal.com places most of the 3rd Brigade at Jalalabad, 2nd Brigade at Pol-e-Charkhi, and only a single battalion of 1st Brigade at the Presidential Palace.[4] Its battlespace includes the Afghan capital of Kabul as well as vital routes running north and south, and valleys leading from the Pakistani border into Afghanistan. As of 2009, the 3rd Brigade of the 201st Corps is the only unit that has control of an area of responsibility in Afghanistan without the aid or assistance of U.S. or coalition forces.[5][6]

A new fourth brigade of the corps was planned to be established in the province of Nuristan.[7] By 2013, the 4th Brigade, 201st Corps, had its headquarters near Jalalabad.[8]

Soldiers of the 1st Kandak, 4th Brigade, 201st Corps board an Afghan National Army Air Force Mi-17 helicopter after executing a clearing operation near Hesarak, Nangarhar province, 17 May 2013

In February 2008, Marine Colonel Jeffrey Haynes and Embedded Training Team (ETT) 3-5, a part of the Regional Corps Advisory Command-Central (RCAC-C), arrived with a mission to "mentor the 201st Corps.. by providing military advice and training guidance" to its officers and staff noncommissioned officers. "The 201st Corps is very good," Colonel Haynes said. "When the Taliban attacked the prison in Kandahar last summer, they spearheaded the ANA effort into Anghardab and recaptured that strategic valley. The ANA handled their own logistics and their own intelligence." In the recent Marine-ANA-French (Groupement tactique interarmes de Kapisa) Operation Nan-e-Shab Berun, coalition and ANA forces cleared the Alah Say Valley of insurgents; casualties included one French and four ANA soldiers killed, with 37 opponents killed in action.[9]

Previous Afghan Ground Forces in the Kabul Area[edit]

Previous Afghan formations in the Kabul area included the Central Army Corps, from at least 1978 through the 1990s, and possibly earlier. The Central Army Corps was a very influential formation.

In 1953, Lieutenant General Mohammed Daoud Khan, first cousin of the King who had previously served as Minister of Defence, was transferred from command of the Central Corps in Kabul to become Prime Minister of Afghanistan.[10] His command has also been referred to as the Central Command and Central Forces. The Central Corps was headquartered at Amanullah's Darulaman Palace.[11] On the opening day of Parliament in October 1965, a violent student demonstration among which Babrak Karmal was at the forefront forced Zahir Shah's new prime minister Yousef to resign. Two students were killed when the new corps commander, General Abdul Wali, sent in troops to restore order.[12]

In 1978 the corps consisted of the 7th and 8th Divisions, the Republican Guard Brigade, two commando regiments, the 4th and 15th Armoured Brigades, and several support units. The 4th Armoured Brigade played a key role in spearheading the Saur Revolution of 1978. An accessible Kabul Times article of the period describes what it claims as the 15th Armoured Division's celebrations of the Saur Revolution, and gives the division commander's name as Major Mohammed Amin. The Corps began to be worn away by desertions, with one of the first, involving a brigade of the 7th Division, occurring in mid-May 1979 on the road from Gardez to Khost. The whole brigade, maybe 2000 strong, reportedly joined the mujahadeen.[13] Reportedly they surrendered on the condition that they be allowed to keep their uniforms and weapons and join the anti-government struggle.

"As late as September 1982,"[14] the commander of the Central Corps, a General variously reported as Wodud (Joes) or Abdul Wadood (Yousaf and Adkin), was shot in his office.[15] The 8th Division is extensively referenced in Ali A. Jalali and Lester Grau's Afghan Guerrilla Warfare: In the Words of the Mujahideen Fighters, c. 2001.

In response to a Taliban attack towards Herat from the south in March–April 1995, the Kabul government airlifted a reported 2,000 troops from the Central Corps to Herat.[16] This was the first airlift of its kind since 1992. BBC's Summary of World Broadcasts for 1999 reports a radio transcript from Kabul noting that the former commander of the Central Corps, Mola Abdurraof Akhond, was appointed a commander elsewhere.[17]

The Central Corps appears to have been reactivated in August 2003.[18] The creation of the corps was planned to place army brigades under a central command structure for the first time, and create a command and control headquarters. Maj Gen Mohammed Moiun Faqir, an ethnic Pashtun, was appointed as corps commander. It was one of the first recipients of new Afghan National Army battalions trained by the United States, with its strength in July including five to six of the new battalions within two brigades.[19]

In March 2004, fighting between two local militias took place in Herat. It was reported that Mirwais Sadiq (son of warlord Ismail Khan) was assassinated in unclear circumstances. Thereafter a bigger conflict began that resulted in the death of up to 100 people. The battle was between troops of Ismail Khan and Abdul Zahir Nayebzada, a senior local military commander blamed for the death of Sadiq.[20] Nayebzada commanded the 17th Herat Division of the Defence Ministry's 4th Corps.[21] In response to the fighting, about 1,500 newly trained Central Corps soldiers were sent to Herat in order to bring the situation under control.

Following the crash of Kam Air Flight 904 in 2005, ISAF made numerous unsuccessful helicopter rescue operation attempts. ANA soldiers also searched for the plane. The Ministry of Defense ordered the ANA's Central Corps to assemble a team to attempt a rescue of victims presumed to be alive. The crash site was at an altitude of 11,000 feet (3,400 m) on the peak of the Chaperi Mountain, 20 miles (32 km) east of Kabul.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jane's World Armies
  2. ^ DefendAmerica.mil, Afghan Army gets armored personnel carriers, 25 April 2005
  3. ^ http://austinbay.net/blog/?p=400, 21 June 2005
  4. ^ CJ Radin, Long War Journal, 2007-8
  5. ^ Thomas Provost (III MEF), [1], accessed August 2009
  6. ^ See also http://northshorejournal.org/status-report-from-the-afghan-east
  7. ^ An official said on Monday, Pajhwok News report
  8. ^ http://bigstory.ap.org/article/army-leaders-walk-fine-line-afghan-advisers-0
  9. ^ Andrew Lubin (30 April 2009). "BASE NEWS: Mentors in Afghanistan". Washington Times. Retrieved 14 October 2009. 
  10. ^ Peter Tomsen, The Wars of Afghanistan, Public Affairs, 2011, 90.
  11. ^ Tomsen, p.80
  12. ^ Tomsen, 102.
  13. ^ Urban, Mark (1988). War in Afghanistan. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: MacMillian Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-333-43263-0. 
  14. ^ Anthony James Joes, 'Victorious Insurgencies,' 190.
  15. ^ Yousaf and Adkin, The Bear Trap, Leo Cooper, 1992, 146.
  16. ^ Anthony Davis in William Maley, 'Fundamentalism Reborn?: Afghanistan and the Taliban,' C. Hurst Publishers, January 1998, 59.
  17. ^ BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, 1999, pages 3667-3679, page A-1.
  18. ^ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_31-8-2003_pg4_7], Daily Times, 31 August 2003.
  19. ^ Report of the Secretary General, 'The Situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security,' United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, S/2003/754, 23 July 2003. See also Jason C. Howk, ‘A Case Study in Security Sector Reform: Learning from Security Sector Reform/Building in Afghanistan (October 2002-September 2003),’ U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, November 2009
  20. ^ "Afghan aviation minister assassinated Slaying sparks factional fighting in western city". The Boston Globe. March 22, 2004. Retrieved 2013-06-29.  and "Afghan minister killed in Herat". BBC News. 21 March 2004. Retrieved 2013-06-29.  and "Afghan Aviation Minister Shot Dead". Associated Press (FOX News). March 21, 2004. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  21. ^ Globalsecurity.org, General Mohammed Ismail Khan. Retrieved 15 August 2009.
  22. ^ Mack Davis Afghan National Army Assists in Plane Crash Aftermath. USA Special to American Forces Press Service. February 14, 2005