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One Tribe at a Time

chApter iv

My perSonAl experience with A tribe in KonAr province

M Y ENTIRE PREMISE IS BASED ON my experience with tribal engagement in Konar Province in 2003 with ODA (Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha) 316, of which I was the team leader.

First, I hesitate to write this chapter for purely personal reasons. I have not acted alone. I had a great ODA with outstanding warriors and NCOs. is is not a story about the bravery, valor or camaraderie that we showed every single day—together. is is but one aspect of the overall mission we accomplished as a team. I will only write from my own perspective and will not attempt to speak for any other team members.

Program for Culture and Conflict Studies


Also, there are aspects of this portion of the mission that cannot be told in this forum for many reasons. I will leave it at that.

A few points before I describe the relationship my men and I built with the village of Mangwel in Konar province:

First, I am unable to tell the entire story for opera- tional reasons that include some of the missions we did together (with the tribes) and some of the tactics, techniques and procedures involved in doing so. I am also concerned about the safety of the tribesmen who helped us so very much.

Second, the trip to and from our MSS (Mission Support Site) or FB (Fire Base) in Asadabad to Man- gwel was a life-threatening event. It was a combat patrol that, more often than not, encountered enemy contact somewhere along the way, and in several cases there were multiple contacts.

  • ird, the tribe oered us outstanding intelligence

that allowed us to target both insurgents and ter- rorists in the area. eir loyalty was with us. Not Afghan forces or US forces, but us.

Lastly, I will only write about a few of the major events that took place. e entire story is a book.

  • e primary point here is that I was able to have

“inuence without authority” in this area through the tribal leadership and its great leader, whom we came to call “Sitting Bull.”

ODA 316 deployed to Asadabad in Konar province in April of 2003. We got o a helicopter in the middle of the night having nothing but the broad mission statement of “kill and capture anti-coalition mem-

We were safer in Mangwel than we were in our own firebase in Asadabad.


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