I will withhold my opinion for now. I am sure the 101st is doing great things in Afghanistan, but the comments in this article almost sound like the self-indulging comments made by BG Votel last winter about the 82nd. The US Army and coalition forces don’t sit back and relax in the winter. It is not like every winter has meant snow-angel making and snowball fights for the US soldiers in country.
The reason the fighting has been light in the winter is because there is typically nobody to fight. In most places, except Kandahar, Helmand, Nimroz and other provinces in the southern end of the country, the Taliban and Taliban supported fighters head back across the border and spend their winters in Pakistan (this is also becuase many of the enemy are Pak-Mil, Pakistan ISI or at least supported by them). This is a known fact. They are fair-weather fighters. In the provinces mentioned above, many of the enemy live there, so they don’t go anywhere. This is why you have seen significant fighting in the winter months in these areas. Of course the violence is not as much as it is in the summer months, but it is still more than it is in other places around the country in the winter.
To imply that every other rotation has sat on their ass is an insult to the hundreds of thousands of troops that have walked the battlefields since 2001.
We did not have a lot of direct acti0n attacks in the winter months when I was there, becuase the Taliban’s mobility is hampered by the harsh elements in the winter time. They ride motorcycles or walk mostly and these are not feasible means of transportation in the winter. Many times they sleep out in the open, and this is not really possible or as easy in the winter. Even though we did not have as many attacks, we saw many more IEDs, suicide bombers and VBIEDs in the winter. We also used that time to conduct a lot more humanitarian assistance and medical assistance missions when the local people needed it most.
So before I say something negative about BG McConville’s comments as I have in the past about BG Votel’s comments, I will reserve judgement and see what happens. Maybe things have changed since 2 years ago, and maybe they have better intel and have a better game plan. Maybe!
If not, and if things happen this winter as they have in the past, I will be sure and throw the BS flag on this one.