ANA Combat Support Kandak
Books on Afghanistan
Within the Afghan National Army (ANA) brigade is the Combat Support Kandak - designated the 4th CSK. This kandak (battalion) provides reconnaissance, artillery, and engineer combat support to the other units within the ANA brigade. These enablers and force multipliers support the brigade infantry units (kandaks).
Artillery Support. The Combat Support Kandak provides artillery support with the brigades D-30 122mm Howitzer. The ANA artillery units have, with constant mentoring and training by their ISAF counterparts, gotten better and better over the past few years.
Reconnaissance Company. The CSK Recce Tolay acts as the eyes and ears of the brigade commander with ground reconnaissance throughout the brigade's area of operations. With limited Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) assets the brigade commander relies heavily on the Recce Tolay to provide up to date information on the location and activities of the insurgents. Intelligence drives operations and intelligence support to counterinsurgency plays an extremely important role. The Recce Tolay are able to conduct dismounted patrols at night going where the enemy is conducting its activities; it is not road-bound in vehicles which limits its travel and exposes it to IEDs. The Recce Tolay is not bound by time restraints and operates at night. It is unfortunate that many brigade Recce Tolays are used as regular infantry tolays and not in their extremely important reconnaissance role. Many Recce Tolays have been used as personal security details for high ranking officers or for internal base security duties. 1. In addition to the reconnaissance toleis of the 4th CSK each infantry kandak has a reconnaissance platoon within its weapons tolay.
Engineer Support. The Engineer Tolay provides engineering construction and explosive expertise.The tolay has the ability to employ counter improvised explosive device capability. The counter-IED skills enable the movement of ANA forces through areas denied to them by emplaced enemy IEDs. The engineers also assist in route clearance, construction, and building projects such as checkpoints and watchtowers.
Deployments of the CSKs. The Combat Support Kandaks were formed up and deployed in the late part of the Afghan War; many in the 2009 to 2011 timeframe. Once deployed they did not always work in the role of combat support but that of an infantry kandak. For instance the 4th Kandak of 4th Brigade 203rd Corps was not located at FOB Maiwand (Shank) with its brigade element; it was stationed in a northeastern district of Logar province at COP Sanchez in an infantry kandak role until late 2012.
Distractions from Combat Support Mission. The Combat Support Kandaks are many times multi-tasked. They have to provide engineer, reconnaissance, and artillery support to the brigade yet many times they are given infantry unit missions. This is a relection of brigade commanders and staff not knowing the proper role of the CSK within the brigade and detracts from the ability of the brigade to truly function as a modern force.
July 25, 2013. "Afghan combat support kandak is the future force multiplier". DVIDS. The story is about the 4th Combat Support Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 203rd Corps located in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.
June 12, 2013. "Security Force Assistance ends for Afghan Army tolais in Helmand province; engineer tolai stands on their own". Marines.mil. Engineers with the Royal Engineers provide advise to 4th Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 215th Corps.
March 28, 2013. "ANA soldiers succeed in round-robin style training to be future NCOs". Fort Campbell Courier. SFAAT Phalanx provides instruction at Combat Outpost Fortress.
March 26, 2013. "ANA Kandak commander leaves big impression". Marines.mil. 4th Kandak, 2nd Brigade, 215 Corps moves on to Jalalabad for new assignment.
August 5, 2012. "Afghan combat support soldiers work with Marine advisors". DVIDS. 4th CSK advised by Marines at Combat Outpost Fiddlers Green, Afghanistan.
April 6, 2009. "British Soldiers Train New Afghan Army Combat Unit". DefenceTalk. Soldiers from the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers, and The Rifles work in Helmand to develop and train a Combat Support Kandak in specialist skills.
1. For more on the Recce Tolay of the Combat Support Kandaks (CSKs) see "A huge step for the Afghan National Army recon", DVIDS, August 9, 2013 accessed here.