Regional Command East

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Regional Command East (RC-E) is an international military formation, of roughly division size, which is one of the components of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The United States Army has usually provided the force headquarters. As of February 2014, the 10th Mountain Division is providing the command headquarters at Bagram Air Field. In 2012, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden called the region "the most dangerous place in the world."[1]

The Combined Joint Task Force currently consists of 8 coalition bases and 5 assistance platforms as of January 2014. The units assigned to the command are two U.S. Security Force Assistance Brigades, one U.S. Combat Aviation Brigade, one Polish Armored Cavalry Brigade and the Korean Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Coalition Forces that operate within RC-East are from Poland, South Korea, Czech Republic, Jordan, the Ukraine, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.[2]

The Command was previously responsible for Provincial Reconstruction Team operations and security in and around Asadabad, Bamyan Province, handled by the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team. The Polish Provincial Reconstruction Team was responsible for operationa and security in and around Ghazni Province.

Currently, RC-East is now the host of the Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team or (PRT) headed by (South Korea).[3]

Combined Joint Task Force - 10 is the operational headquarters for Regional Command East, and is located at Bagram Air Field. CJTF-10 is commanded by Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend of the 10th Mountain Division (LI), based at Fort Drum, New York. Karen Decker is the Senior Civilian Representative for CJTF-10, serving as the U.S. Government’s lead proponent for sub-national governance, stabilization and civilian-military integration at the regional level.

Mission: Regional Command East, in full partnership with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational organizations (JIIM), conducts security force assistance to enable the Afghan National Security Forces to protect the Afghan people; neutralize insurgent networks; and deny safe havens for transnational terrorists; and, concurrently support GIRoA institutions as they continue to develop legitimate, credible, and enduring governance and sustainable economic growth.[4]

RC-East includes the provinces of Bamyan, Ghazni, Kapisa, Khost, Kunar, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nuristan, Paktika, Paktiya, Panjshayr, Parwan and Wardak. It covers 46,000 square miles, approximately the size of Virginia, and shares a portion of the border with Pakistan. Currently, more than 8,900 Coalition Forces personnel and 82,600 ANSF personnel are operating in the command’s area of responsibility.[4]

Major units assigned to Regional Command East[5]

  • Combined Joint Task Force –10: 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, NY (February 2014 to current)
  • 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (November 2013 to Current)
  • 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (March 2014 to Current)
  • 159th Combat Aviation Brigade (January 2014 to Current)
  • TF White Eagle (March 2002 – present: 14th rotation)

Bagram Airfield is located in the Parwan Province approximately 11 kilometers (7 miles) southeast of the city of Charikar and 47 Kilometers (27 miles) north of Kabul.

Commands[edit]

Operation Enduring Freedom I - Joint Task Force Mountain, October 2001 to June 2002[edit]

Command and Control
10th Mountain Division

From October 2001 to June 2002, Joint Task Force Mountain's primary mission was in response to the September 11 attacks. The significance of the mission was the overthrow the Taliban's government of Afghanistan and reestablish a representative Afghanistan National government. Included in this mission were the significant Joint Special Forces operations working in cooperation with the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Operations began in October 2001 when 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment deployed to Uzbekistan and established operations and securing Karshi-Khanabad Air Base and serving as the Quick reaction force (QRF) in support of Special forces.

Major Combat Operations

Between November 2001 and February 2002, the Taliban government was overthrown. Military operations primarily performed by the Afghanistan Northern Alliance, supported by the 5th Special Forces Group, and other coalition and United States special operations forces, with significant firepower provided by the United States and Coalition Air Force and Navy. This operatione resulted in the expulsion of the Taliban government and Al-Qaeda terrorists from Afghanistan. During Operation Anaconda, military operations directed against a large Taliban defensive position and stronghold in the mountainous Shah-i-Kot Valley south of the city of Gardez in eastern Afghanistan. Directed by the 10th Mountain Division, this consisted of a deliberate assault by Afghanistan forces supported by US and Coalition Special Operation Forces, and elements of the 10th Mountain Division and 101st Airborne Division. This resulted in the heaviest fighting since the initaiton of combat operations in Afghanistan. Operation Mountain Lion began 15 April 2002 and involved Afghan National Army and US and Coalition Forces performing search operations in the Gardez and Khost regions. Significant participation by the Royal Marines in this operation was known as Operation Jacana. Operation Snipe began in May 2002 to search and clear a signifcant area in the remote Afghan mountains believed to be used as a base by Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Performed by the Royal Marines and supported by US and Coalition Special Operations Forces, Operation Snipe was a success because a major cave network was discovered and destroyed.

Major units involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom II - Combined Joint Task Force 180, June 2002 to January 2003[edit]

Command and Control
XVIII Airborne Corps (United States)

From June 2002 to January 2003, CJTF-180's mission, was to conduct full-spectrum operations to prevent the reemergence of terror organizations and set the conditions for the growth of democracy in Afghanistan. They did this by organizing, equipping, arming and training the Afghan National Army.

Major Combat Operations

The 82nd Airborne Division joined with United States Army Rangers and other Coalition Special Operations Forcesand conducted Operation Mountain Sweep in August of 2002, to mount five combat air Air assault missions. Combat Engineer, Aviation assets, and Civil Affairs Detachments also took part in the operation. Military search operations performed sout of cities of Khost and Gardez. Five Taliban weapon caches and two Taliban document caches were discovered.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom III - Combined Joint Task Force 180, December 2002 to August 2003[edit]

Command and Control
82nd Airborne Division

From December 2002 to August 2003, CJTF-180's mission was to establish security and stabilization operations in Afghanistan to support the development of a representative Afghanistan Government.

Major Combat Operations

From January to February 2003, CJTF-180 conducted Operation Mongoose, search and sweep operations intended to locate and engage Taliban and insurgent forces in the Adi Ghar Mountain Range southeast of Kandahar. From February to March 2003 Operation Viper aimed to search Afghanistan villages and recover weapons caches and other war marteriall left by Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces. Search and sweep operations conducted to locate and engage Taliban and insurgent forces in the Baghran and Baghni Valleys, northwest of Kana. In March 2003, Operation Valiant Strike directed to clear and search villages, gather intelligence, search for weapons caches, and seek out remating Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. The combined forces moved through part of Southern Afghanistan to eliminate enemy forces and weapons caches while also attempting to gather intelligence on Taliban activity in the area. Search and sweep operations intended to locate and engage Taliban and insurgent forces east of Kandahar in the Sami Ghar Mountains, performed by the 2nd and 3rd Battalions, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment and other units of the 82nd Airborne Division along with Romanian Infantry and Afghani troops.

Major units involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom IV - Combined Joint Task Force 180, July 2003 to May 2004[edit]

Command and Control
10th Mountain Division

From July 2003 to May 2004, CJTF-180 continued security and stabilization operations in Afghanistan to support development of representative Afghanistan Government.

Major Combat Operations

From August to September 2003 during Operation Mountain Viper, the Afghan National Army supported by the 10th Mountain Division performed sweep and search operations in Dey Chopan District, Zabul Province to uncover hundreds of suspected Taliban rebels dug in the mountains resulted in 124 militants killed. Operation Mountain Resolve, performed by the Afghan National Army and supported by the 10th Mountain Division, conducted sweep and search operations in the Nuristan and Kunar Province's in the Hindu Kush Mountain Range in November 2003. During Operation Mountain Blizzard, performed by the Afghan National Army and supported by the 10th Mountain Division conducted sweep and search operations from January to March 2004. During this operation, the coalition conducted 1,731 patrols and 143 raids and cordon-and-search operations. They killed 22 enemy combatants and discovered caches with 3,648 rockets, 3,202 mortar rounds, 2,944 rocket-propelled grenade's, 3,000 rifle rounds, 2,232 mines and tens of thousands of rounds of small-arms ammuniition. Operation Mountain Storm started in March 2004 following the completion of Operation Mountain Blizzard, and was a similar operation in Khost Province. The 2nd Marine Regiment and 8th Marine Regiment also participated in this operation.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom V - Combined Joint Task Force 76, April 2004 to March 2005[edit]

Command and Control
25th Infantry Division (United States)

From April 2004 to March 2005 CJTF-76 continued security and stabilization operations in Afghanistan to support development of representative Afghanistan government.

Major Combat Operations

CJTF-76 continued Operation Mountain Storm, started in OEF IV. The 25th Infantry Division initiated Operation Lightning Resolve and was executed between July and October 2004 to focus upon facilitating and precluding insurgent interference with, the first Afghan presidential election, 2004 on 9 October 2004. The National Command Authority alerted 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment for an emergency deployment in support of the elections. Operation Lightning Freedom was performed during the winter months to inhibit insurgent operations in remort mountainous areas in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom VI -Combined Joint Task Force 76, March 2005 to February 2006[edit]

Command and Control
Southern European Task Force

From March 2005 to February 2006, CJTF-76 supported the continued growth and development of a stable Afghanistan Nation and Government and continued the organization, equipping, arming and training of the Afghan National Army.

Major Combat Operations

As part of CJTF-76, SETAF Soldiers helped to reconstruct and rebuild Afghanistan within their area of operations. SETAF ensured a safe and secure elction for the people of Afghanistan as they voted in the Afghan parliamentary election, 2005.

Major units involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom VII - Combined Joint Task Force 76, February 2006 to February 2007[edit]

Command and Control
10th Mountain Division

From February 2006 to February 2007, CJTF-76 continued security and stabilzation operations in Afghanistan to support development of representative Afghanistan government.

Major Combat Operations

In April 2006, CJTF-76 launched Operation Mountain Lion, a search and secure operation performed by the Afghan National Army and 10th Mountain Division in Marawara District of Kunar Province, Afghanistan. During Operation Mountain Lamb, the 10th Mountain Division Civil Affairs operation, assisted humanitarian and educational efforts throughout Afghanistan. Operation Mountain Thrust was a major operation direcetd against Taliban insurgents in eastern and southeastern Afghanistan from May to August 2006. In September 2006, Afghan and Coalition forces began the maneuver phase of Operation Mountain Fury focusing on defeating Taliban resistance in Ghazni, Khost, Logar, Paktika, and Paktia provinces. Operation Mountain Fury is just one part of a series of coordinated operations placing continuous pressure on Taliban extremists across multiple regions of Afghanistan in order to provide security to the population, extend the government to the people, and to increase reconstruction. In November 2006, CJTF-76 launch Operation Mountain Eagle to defeat enemy forces and link governors of Afghanistan to district level.

Paramount to the success of CJTF-76 during OEF VII was the execution of an aggressive non-lethal effects campaign designed to influence and educate the world, harrass the enemy, and win the hearts and mind of Afghanistan's center of gravity - it's populace. CJTF-76 leaders sepnt tireless hours engaging Afghan civic leaders at all levels to ensure that positive messages resonated throughout the Afghan public, as well as in the media. Campaign emphasis included the vital importance of extending government capacity, promoting reconstruction, creating employment opporunities and working to improve Afghan National Security Forces. Noteworthy accomplishments included the construction and improvement of several Provincial Coordination Centers, Provincial Development Councils and District Centers. More than 500 kilometers of roads, schools, clinics and other long lasting projects were built at a cost of just over $90 million using Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) funds.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom VIII - Combined Joint Task Force 82, February 2007 to April 2008[edit]

Command and Control
82nd Airborne Division

From February 2007 to February 2008, CJJTF-82, in conjunction with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, join, interagency, and multinational partners, conducted full specturm operations to disrupt insurgent forces in the combined joint operations area, develop Afghanistan national security capability and supports the growth of governance and development in order to build a stable Afghanistan.

Major Combat Operations

In February 2007, units from the 82nd Airborne Division and the 10th Mountain Division conducted Operation Oqab Hamkary (Eagle Teamwork)in conjunction operations with Afghan forces to expand the influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Ghazni and Paktika Provinces. CJTF-82 operations included lethal and non-lethal missions. Operations Furious Pursuit, Finite Pursuit, and Kulang Hellion were conducted by 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment focused coalition forces in the Helmand Province. Operation Maiwand (see Human Terrain System) brought coalitions forces with the 203rd Corps (Afghanistan) to perform Counter-insurgency operations in Ghazni province. Operation Deh Yak focused efforts in Ghazni towards the refurbishment of local schools, medical supply support and several other civic actions. During Operation Kyber, Task Force Fury (1st Battalion, 508th Prachute Infantry Regiment) fell under the operational control of the 203rd ANA Corps in a large scale sweep of Paktya Province. This shaped operations such as Operation Big Axe conducted by Task Force Spartan (3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division) and Operation Rock Avalanche conducted by Task Force Rock (503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team kept the enemy off balance and set the stage for follow on operations.

CJTF-82 conducted over 325 conventional operations. The statistics do not state the countless Key Leader Engagements, Shura's and other interactions with the Afghan population that soldiers of CJTF-82 performed. Their ability to successfully carry the fight to the enemy while simultaneously building trust with the local population and overseeing non-conventional missions that has allowed the government of Afghanistan and its security forces the opportunity to develop its influence and capabilities.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom IX - Combined Joint Task Force 101, April 2008 to June 2009[edit]

Command and Control
101st Airborne Division

From April 2008 to June 2009, in direct support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), the 101st Airborne Division, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Interagency Partners, and CJTF-101/Regional Command East Forces conducted full-spectrum Counter-Insurgency (COIN) operations to develop Afghan National capabilities. In joint cooperation, these Coalition Forces achieved unprecedented success as they worked together to secure the citizenry (Security), exercise capable governance (Governance), and develop a sutainable economy (Development), while defeating terrorists and insurgents, in order to extend (GIRoA) authority and influence as the legitimate government of the Afghan people.

Major Combat Operations

Joint, Coalition, and Alliance Forces made significant advances on numerous fronts to include historic trilateral cooperation between US, Pakistan, and Afghan Forces that enabled significant operations focused upon border development. COIN capabilities in RC-E were enhanced through an increase in Forces with the Polish Battle Group assumption of battle control of Task Force White Eagle and the introduction of the US 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division as Task Force Spartan. A singularly significant operation with long-term strategic implications saw Joint, Coalition, and Alliance Forces join to provide effective, comprehensive security across Afghanistan, ensuring successful voter registration to set conditions for the Afghan presidential election, 2009. In the largest transformational initiative in the history of OEF, CJTF-101 planned, coordinated, and initiated support preparations for the introduction of over 21,000 US Troops into Regional Command South. Simultaneously, the CJTF-101 staff planned, coordinated, and executed the trasnfer of U.S. National Command, National Support, and Title X responsibilities to the newly formed United States Forces - Afghanistan Headquarters in Kabul. CJTF-101 conducted over 490 conventional operations during OEF XI.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom X - Combined Joint Task Force 82, 15 May 2009 to May 2010[edit]

Command and Control
82nd Airborne Division

In late fall 2008, the 82nd Airborne Division received order from United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) to prepare for deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). Their mission called for Regional Command East, in close coordination with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), joint, interagency, and mulltinational partnerts, to conduct counter-insurgency (COIN) operations from April to October 2009, in order to improve GIRoA's capacity to provide security, exercise good governance, develop a sustainable licit economy, and improve the quality of life for the Afghan people.

Major Combat Operations

CJTF-82's mission was to support the GIRoA in rebuilding the coutnry's social institutions including governance, security, economics, and infrastruction while defeating an insurgency committed to hindering regional stability. With more the 24,600 servicemen and woman assigned and attached throughout the deployment, CJTF-82 personnel provided critical mission support for filed forces that include: 3 infantry brigade combat teams, a combat aviation brigade, on Polish Brigade, a Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, a Military Police Brigade, an Engineer Brigade Headquarters, 12 Provincial Reconstruction Team's, and six Agriculture Development Teams operating in an area of 31,000 square miles, of which over 90% is not accessible by vehicle. CJTF-82 partnered with NATO and ISAF from over 30 countries, fielding forces that implement the 'hands-on' actions to develop a stable and secure environment for ordinary Afghan citizens to prosper economically and improve quality of life.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom XI - Combined Joint Task Force 101, June 2010 to May 2011[edit]

Command and Control
101st Airborne Division

From June 2010 to May 2011, CJTF-101, in support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), NATO, ISAF, and other joint interagency, and multinational organizations, conduction population-centric, comprehensive counterinsurgency operations focused on key terrain to neutralize the insurgency, increase the competency and credibility of Afghan institutions, and facilitate development to set the security and stability conditions to begin transition to GIRoA.

Major Combat Operations

During OEF XI, CJTF-101 countered the insurgency along major transportation and economic corridors. These efforts provided freedom of movement to key road networks and set the conditions for enhanced economic development. The task force also assisted several provinces with transition to full GIRoA governance. CJTF-101 conducted more than 770 named operations. The task force, in cooperation with its Afghan and Pakistan partners, provided deveopment and security to the Afghan-Pakistani border. Further, CJTF-101 worked with the Afghan National Army, the Afghan National Police, and other Afghan Security Forces to enhance the safety and security in and around Kabul. The task forced helped GIRoA set the conditions for successful Afghan parliamentary election, 2010, even while assisting its Pakistan neighbors with the disastrous 2010 Pakistan floods. Midway through its campaign, CJTF-101 welcomed an additional brigade into its ranks. This increased combat power and enabled the task force to intensify counterinsurgency and nation-building operations, thus ensuring successful winter and spring campaigns. Thanks to the efforts of the men and women in CJTF-101, the task force had an overwhelmingly successful year.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom XII - Combined Joint Task Force 1, May 2011 to April 2012[edit]

Command and Control
1st Cavalry Division (United States)

From May 2011 to April 2012, CJTF-1, in full partnership with GIRoA, joint, interagency and multinational organizations secured the population through combined action which neutralized insurgent elements, inscreased Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) capability and grew the sub-national governance capacity and credibility in key terrain districts. CJTF-1 neutralized criminal patronage networks which increased stability and security by extending GIRoA influence through credible and trasnsparent sub-national governance, ANSF assumption of security primacy, and improved quality of life for the Afghan people. CJTF-1 total more than 30,000 personnel with an operational area of 124,675 square kilometers.

Major Combat Operations

During OEF XII, CJTF-1 expanded and retained security in Regional Command East through it's continual support in the development and growth of the ANSF from local villages to the Provincial level and by neutralizing and degrading the insurgent networks along major transportaion and economic corridors and at key border crossings. CJTF-1 and its Coalition partners provided freedom of movement to key road networks, protected the population and set the conditions for enhanced economic development.

CJTF-1 conducted more than 2,500 Contingency Operations and six major named operations. The task force worked throughout the winter to build FOBs and source over 15,000 pieces of equipment throughout RC-East to add a brigade combat team and expand security south of Kabul. Through effective partnering and training from CJTF-1 units, the ANSF planned and let many missions and took the security lead April 1, 2012. This set conditions for almost half the districts in RC-East to be in transition.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom XIII - Combined Joint Task Force 1, April 2012 to March 2013[edit]

Command and Control
1st Infantry Division (United States)

From April 2012 to May 2013, in direct support of GIRoA, the 1st Infantry Division and CJTF-1 forces conducted full-spectrum Counter-Insurgency Operations, later transitioning to Advise and Assist Operations, to develop the Afghan national capabilities, and increase stablity and security. Together, the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and Coalition Forces achieved unprecedented success as they worked to secure the opulation, expand and exercise governance, and develop a sustainable economy. The ANSF increased cpaability to a record level, defeating terrorist and insurgents while building a capable government of the Afghan people.

Major Combat Operations

During OEF XIII, CJTF-1 and the ANSF, expanded the security in Regional Command East through joint cooperation, continually expanding infrastructure, developing transportation and economic corridors through freedom of movement, and expanding the development and capabilities of the Afghan National Army, Afghan Local Police, Afghan National Police, Afghan Uniform Police, and Afghan Border Police. Significant contributions from Female Engagement Teams, Security Force Advise and Assist Teams, and Provincial Reconstruction Teams greatly enhanced local Afghan communities through joint cooperation with GIRoA.

The continued effort of the men and women of CJTF-1 enabled the ANSF to operate at an exceptional level of success, allowing the continual and sustained reduction of the Coalition footprint. CJTF-1, while continuing to advise and assist the ANSF, closed, or transferred to ANSF, 60 FOBs, reduced Coalition Forces from 28,500 to 21,800, and initiated an extraordinatry retrograde effort supporting the transition of full security to the ANSF and the Afghan people.

Major Units Involved:

Operation Enduring Freedom XIV - Combined Joint Task Force 101, March 2013 to February 2014[edit]

Command and Control
101st Airborne Division

From March 2014 to February 2014, CJTF-101 in full partnership with GIRoA and join, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational organizations, conducted security force assistance to enable the ANSF to protect the Afghan people, neutralize insurgent networks, and deny safe havens for transnational terrorists. Concurrently, CJTF-101 supported GIRoA institutions as they continued to develop legitimate, credible, and enduring governance, and sustainable economic growth.

Major Combat Operations

The transfer of authority from CJTF-1 to CJTF-101 corresponded to International Joint Command's transition away from "Shana-Ba-Shana" or "Shoulder-to-Shoulder" to an advise and assist role. Focusing on winning with ANSF in the lead in a layered security strategy, CJTF-101 sought to ensure AQ is not operationally effective in Regional Command East, while overseeing the transfer or closure of tactical infrastructure, and helping further develop the ANSF-PAK relationship along the Regional Command East border. With an eye to 2014, CJTF-101 set the conditions for credible Afghan elections in Regional Command East.

Major Units Involved:

Sources and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Transcript of 2012 Vice Presidential Debate - 11 October 2012". Npr.org. 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  2. ^ "RC – East | ISAF - International Security Assistance Force". Isaf.nato.int. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  3. ^ "News | ISAF - International Security Assistance Force". Isaf.nato.int. 2013-08-01. Retrieved 2013-10-09. 
  4. ^ a b "RC – East | ISAF - International Security Assistance Force". Isaf.nato.int. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  5. ^ "RC – East | ISAF - International Security Assistance Force". Isaf.nato.int. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2014-03-07.