Coalition combat operations in Afghanistan in 2009

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In 2009, the United States and NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) coalition, alongside with Afghan National Army forces, continued military operations against the Taliban in Afghanistan. 2009 marks the eighth year of the War in Afghanistan, which began late in 2001.

United States[edit]

A U.S. Army soldier with 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, fires his weapon during a battle with insurgent forces in Barge Matal, during Operation Mountain Fire on July 12, 2009.
  • Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan

This task force rotates between the 3rd and 7th Special Forces Groups. The 7th Group, commanded by Col. Sean Mulholland, replaced the 3rd Group in late July 2009. The task force is partnered with six Afghan commando units.

However, other U.S. special operation forces also have deployed to Afghanistan. Units that have deployed in the past have included elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment, Navy SEALs, units from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, squadrons from the Army's covert 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta, commonly known as Delta Force, air commandos from the Air Force Special Operations Command and Marines from the Marine Special Operations Command. CIA paramilitary teams also have served in Afghanistan.

Special operations units from coalition countries have also served in Afghanistan, including members of the British Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS), troopers from the Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR), Germany's KSK (Kommando Spezialkraefte), and soldiers from Canada's Joint Task Force Two (JTF2). In 2005, and again in 2009, elements of the New Zealand Special Air Service was deployed to Afghanistan. Soldiers from Sweden's Särskilda Skyddsgruppen (Special Protection Group) have served in Afghanistan and two SSG troopers were killed by a roadside bomb in late 2005. Norwegian Special Forces units also have deployed to Afghanistan.

The 173rd relieved the 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division in December 2009.[1] It is responsible for Wardak and Logar provinces as part of Regional Command East. The brigade has combat experience in Afghanistan from two previous deployments and includes the following units:

The 4th BCT, known as Task Force Mountain Warrior, is responsible for Nangarhar, Nuristan, Konar and Laghman provinces in eastern Afghanistan. It relieved the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, or Task Force Duke, which had been conducting operations in the area for the past 15 months.[2] The 4th BCT includes the following units:

    • 1st Battalion 12th Infantry Regiment (Currently under the operational control, or OPCON, of Task Force Kandahar)
    • 2nd Battalion 12th Infantry Regiment
    • 3rd Squadron 61st Cavalry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion 77th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 704th Brigade Support Battalion
    • 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion

Based at Fort Lewis, Washington, the 5th SBCT deployed approximately 4,000 soldiers to Afghanistan in mid-summer 2009.[3] Part of the brigade is deployed to Zabul province as part of Task Force Zabul.[4] This is the first rotation to Afghanistan for one of the U.S. Army's new Stryker brigades and includes the following units:

    • 1st Battalion 17th, Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment
    • 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment—Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Zabul province [5]
    • 3rd Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment
    • 402nd Brigade Support Battalion
    • 572nd Military Intelligence Company
    • 562nd Engineer Company
    • Company A, 52nd Infantry Regiment
    • 21st Signal Company
    • Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 5th SBCT

Based at Fort Richardson in Alaska, the 4th BCT relieved the 4th BCT of the 101st Airborne Division in March 2009. The brigade is responsible for Paktya, Paktika and Khost provinces.[6] Known as Task Force Yukon, the 4th BCT includes the following units:

    • Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 4th BCT
    • 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment
    • 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment
    • 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 377th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 425th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
    • 725th Brigade Support Battalion

About 3,300 paratroopers from the 4th BCT deployed to western and southern Afghanistan in August 2009.[7] Based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the 4th BCT includes the following units:

    • 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment
    • 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 321st Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
    • 782nd Brigade Support Battalion
    • 508th Special Troops Battalion
  • Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan/'Task Force Leatherneck' (Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson)

MEB-Afghanistan absorbed the former Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Afghanistan in southern Afghanistan on May 29, 2009, reflecting the Marine Corps portion of the increased U.S. troop commitment to Afghanistan. Headquartered by the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, MEB-Afghanistan includes the following units:

The headquarters of the 82nd Airborne Division relieved the 101st Airborne Division's headquarters on June 3, 2009.[10] Consisting of roughly 1,000 soldiers the 101st's headquarters officially became Combined Joint Task Force 82 and now commands NATO’s Regional Command East sector in Afghanistan.

The 45th, based in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, relieved the 101st Sustainment Brigade on February 9, 2009.[11] The brigade is responsible for the Joint Logistics Command and is augmented by an Army Reserve unit and a unit from the Maine Army National Guard.

    • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
    • 45th Special Troops Battalion
    • 524th Combat Service Support Battalion
    • 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Army Reserve
    • 484th Movement Control Battalion, Maine Army National Guard

The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) deployed approximately 2,800 soldiers to Afghanistan in the spring of 2009. The deployment is part of the buildup of combat forces in Afghanistan and the brigade relieved the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. Known as Task Force Pegasus, the brigade is based at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.[12] The 82nd CAB includes the following units:

The 33rd BCT is currently the headquarters of Task Force Phoenix, which is in charge of training the Afghan National Army. The 33rd deployed in the winter of 2008, relieving the 27th BCT of the New York Army National Guard.[13] The brigade includes 1,600 soldiers from Illinois augmented by volunteers from Arkansas, Guam, Georgia and Oregon and soldiers from the Inactive Ready Reserve. The 33rd includes the following units:

    • 2nd Squadron, 106th Cavalry Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment
    • 33rd Special Troops Battalion
    • 634th Brigade Support Battalion
    • 2nd Battalion, 122nd Field Artillery Regiment
    • 3rd Battalion, 103rd Armor Regiment, Pennsylvania Army National Guard

The 48th Infantry BCT deployed to continue training the Afghan National Security Forces.[14] The 48th IBCT includes the following units:

    • Headquarters and Headquarters Company
    • 48th Brigade Special Troops Battalion
    • 1st Squadron, 108th Cavalry Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 118th Field Artillery Regiment
    • 148th Brigade Support Battalion


  1. ^ Pfc. Michael Sword, 'Spartans' Transfer Authority to 'Sky Soldiers', Combined Joint Task Force - 82 PAO, December 20, 2009
  2. ^ American Forces Press Service, On the Ground: U.S. Forces Foster Security, Growth in Afghanistan, July 1, 2009
  3. ^ Drew Brown, Canada hands off part of Kandahar province to U.S., Stars and Stripes, August 17, 2009
  4. ^ Sandra Jontz, Arrival of Stryker unit shifts attention to Zabul province, Stars and Stripes, September 9, 2009
  5. ^ By Drew Brown, Army to phase in tan-colored Stryker vehicles, Stars and Stripes, October 26, 2009
  6. ^ Pfc. Andrya Hill, Spartans Take Command in Eastern Afghanistan, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs, March 19, 2009
  7. ^ John Ramsey, 4th Brigade Combat Team deploys to Afghanistan, The Fayetteville Observer, August 22, 2009
  8. ^ Staff Sgt. Luis Agostini, RCT-7 Takes Over Counterinsurgency Operations in Afghanistan, Regimental Combat Team-7, 1st Marine Division Public Affairs, October 24, 2009
  9. ^ Lance Cpl. Walter Marino, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion continues the fight, Task Force Leatherneck Public Affairs Office, October 27, 2009
  10. ^ American Forces Press Service 82nd Airborne assumes command in eastern Afghanistan, June 3, 2009
  11. ^ Sgt. Jennifer Premer, 45th Sustainment Brigade assumes Joint Logistics Command mission in Afghanistan, 45th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs Office, February 10, 2009
  12. ^ 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Arrive in Southern Afghanistan, ISAF Public Affairs Office, May 16, 2009
  13. ^ Illinois Guard brigade takes over Task Force Phoenix mission
  14. ^ DoD Announces Units for Upcoming Afghanistan Rotation