Tag: Taliban

Pulling a Quigley, Down Under(-fire)

I love it when life imitates art. You know, like when you see something in some Hollywood flick, and you say to yourself, “Self, that could NEVER happen in real life.” But then you find out it can. Has. Did. As in “Afghanistan” and “British sniper” and “two kills with one bullet.” But the details are better than anything Hollywood could dream up…

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The Associated Press: The M-4 Sucks in Afghanistan

AP writer Slobodan Lekic’s semi-cogent article the suitability of the M-4 in Afghanistan misses the point. Actually, it lacks one. Was he trying to introduce the Army’s new policy of having nine M-110 SASS equipped “sharpshooters” in each company? Suggesting that the U.S. military is fighting the Afghanistan war with the wrong weapons (a point he contradicts when he acknowledges that most firefights in the conflict are at distances within the M-4’s ideal operating range)? Anyway, there’s some good intel with re: the suitability of various calibers at various ranges.

The U.S. military’s workhorse rifle — used in battle for the last 40 years — is proving less effective in Afghanistan against the Taliban’s more primitive but longer range weapons . . . a U.S. Army study found that the 5.56 mm bullets fired from M-4s don’t retain enough velocity at distances greater than 1,000 feet (300 meters) to kill an adversary. In hilly regions of Afghanistan, NATO and insurgent forces are often 2,000 to 2,500 feet (600-800 meters) apart.

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Taliban Sniper Proves Rifle Skills Don’t Suck So Much

The New York Times has been running a series by C J Chivers dissing the marksmanship of our good friends in the Afghan police and Army. Mr. Chivers has also heavily criticized the Taliban’s shooting. As TTAG has warned many times, never under-estimate your enemy. As proof of this strategic mindset, we present this morning’s [UK] Times account of a deadly Taliban sniper. “A TALIBAN sniper has shot dead up to seven British soldiers during a five-month killing spree in a town regarded as the most dangerous place in Afghanistan . . . The Taliban hitman demonstrated his skill last month when he picked off a British sniper who was on the lookout for his insurgent rival. Three of his suspected victims have been army sharpshooters, including one killed by a single bullet between the eyes.” Yes, well, we’ve got a plan for that, right? Right? “Their sniper is giving us real problems and we’ve not yet worked out how to take him down,” a “senior British Army officer” told the Times. “Senior officers consider the situation in Sangin to be ‘very bad’ because of the determination and skill shown by the Taliban fighters there.” The British are losing their hubris, one soldier at a time. But what of the Americans?

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NYT: Taliban Shooting Skills Suck

Let’s start at the end. “For the Taliban, bad shooting sometimes has proved to be good enough,” C.J. Chivers writes for The New York Times. “For all of their shortcomings, the Taliban’s level of training and state of equipment have thus far been more than sufficient for waging a patient, low-intensity war for years, and for fighting Afghan government forces, which exhibit similar skill deficiencies [as previously and more ambiguously chronicled by the same Mr. Chivers]. They are also more than capable of exerting influence over the Afghan civilian population, which for an insurgent is a large part of the war.” In terms of tactics, “Afghans who might not be able to settle into a gunfight against a patrol with superior equipment and training have learned to herd Western forces toward hidden bombs, which the military calls improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.s.” OK, so NOW we’re ready to contemplate C.J.’s evisceration of Taliban weaponry, ammunition, marksmanship, strategy and training. No wait, what about the report that concluded that U.S. troops were out-gunned in 50 percent of their gun battles with the Taliban, and the subsequent rush to equip the Army with Enhanced M14s? Of this Mr. Chivers makes no mention. But if you want some ammo with which to diss the Taliban, and assume the mantle of over-confidence, this Times blog has to be your first literary port of call.

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Ex-Beretta Sales Rep Nicked for Selling Arms to Iran

“You want to know where they found two of the sniper scopes, between you and me [and TTAG’s readers]?” Beretta sales-rep-turned-arms dealer Alessandro Bon asked an “associate” in a wiretapped conversation. “In Afghanistan … They fired on German soldiers with two of the sniper scopes and the serial numbers were traced … and the [German] police are investigating because they were in the hands of the Taliban … I wonder what the hell they were doing in Afghanistan.” The Watusi? propublica.com reports that Bon’s been nicked with an arms-for-cash scheme in Iran, along with four other Italians and two Iranian intelligence officials. “The Milan arms ring operated undetected for at least three years, authorities say, allegedly moving – or trying to move – sniper scopes, various types of munitions, explosive chemicals, helicopters, parachutes, helmets and scuba gear worth millions of dollars.” What, no white slaves?

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Iranians Training Taliban to Shoot American Soldiers

“Our religions and our histories are different,” a Taliban commander tells The Times re: Iran. “But our target is the same — we both want to kill Americans.” To that end, “The Taliban fighters scurried up the craggy mountainside. As they neared the top, their 30-strong platoon split into three sections and they launched a ferocious assault on an enemy fort, opening fire from numerous positions. The bullets they sprayed at the fort’s mud-coloured walls were blank, however. They merely pretended to fire their rocket-propelled grenades. When they reached the desert at the foot of the mountain, they did not race away on motorbikes, but filed into sand-coloured tents to refresh themselves with tea and naan.” The Times has no doubts about the identity of the “hosts” for the Taliban training . . .

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Marines Mount Mini-Gun on MV-22 Tilt Rotor Transports

After a decade of dithering, the U.S. Marines are equipping two tilt-rotor transport aircraft bound for Afghanistan with the GAU-2B machine-gun. Strategypage.com reports that the Marines will retro-fit the guns to the rest of their Afghan-based fleet of MV-22 aircraft. Just in case you have no idea what this all means—save the fact that this is another sign that the U.S. military are relying on overwhelming force to defeat the Taliban—here’s some tech talk to keep you distracted. “The GAU-2B is a remote control turret using a six-barrel 7.62mm machine-gun. This system has a rate of fire of 3,000 rounds per minute (50 per second), and max range of 1,500 meters. The system weighs a few hundred pounds and includes 4,000 rounds of ammo.” But don’t worry that the Marines are getting too feisty with it. “The machine-gun turret is mainly there for protection from local threats, not for turning the V-22 into an assault aircraft. The marines also plan to mount an M-2 12.7mm machine-gun on the rear ramp as well.” To paraphrase Winston Churchill, if you’re going in that direction, keep going.

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