By lex, on September 23rd, 2010
The CIA has relied on Lilley, part of a constellation of agency bases across Afghanistan, as a hub to train and deploy a well-armed 3,000-member Afghan paramilitary force collectively known as Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. In addition to being used for surveillance, raids and combat operations in Afghanistan, the teams are crucial to the United States’ secret war in Pakistan, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The existence of the teams is disclosed in “Obama’s Wars,” a forthcoming book by longtime Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. But, more broadly, interviews with sources familiar with the CIA’s operations, as well as a review of the database of 76,000 classified U.S. military field reports posted last month by the Web site WikiLeaks, reveal an agency that has a significantly larger covert paramilitary presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan than previously known.
The operations are particularly sensitive in Pakistan, a refuge for senior Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders where U.S. units are officially prohibited from conducting missions.
The WikiLeaks reports, which cover the escalation of the Afghan insurgency from 2004 until the end of 2009, include many descriptions of the activities of the “OGA” and “Afghan OGA” forces. OGA, which stands for “other government agency,” is generally used as a reference to the CIA.
None of this comes as much of a surprise, and it’s welcome news to learn that Afghan OGA are in the fight as well: Local knowledge, and that.
This came as a bit of a shocka, however:
The logs also indicate that the CIA and its Afghan units are at times involved in heavy fighting, in contrast to long-standing perceptions that the agency has largely served to direct attacks carried out by U.S. Special Operations forces or conventional military units.
On Aug. 11, 2008, U.S. soldiers stationed at Firebase Lilley reported that insurgents were targeting the base with rocket fire, a common occurrence. The soldiers responded at first with counterfire but then paused because of the “OGA dropping bombs,” including three 500-pound explosives, according to an Army field report. The counterattack apparently worked, as no casualties were reported.
OGA flying strike aircraft capable of dropping MK-82′s?
How do I get some of that?