Afghan War Glossary
Books on Afghanistan
The military community uses a multitude and variety of terms, phrases, and expressions in its vocabulary. This is especially true in the Afghan theater of operations. Some terms, phases, and words are formal in nature while others are derived from common usage. This glossary is intended to assist those new to the Afghan theater or others unfamiliar with terminology or slang used by those working or serving in Afghanistan.
To search for the term, acronym or phrase
Baad. The practice of compensating a murder or accidental killing by the family of the killer by giving either one or two never-married girls in marriage to the victim's family.
Bacha Posh. An old tradition and cultural practice where an Afghan family with no male child will transform a daughter into a son - their hair is cut, dresses swapped out for boy's clothing, etc. The girl is raised and grows up as a boy and retain that status until they reach puberty.
BAF. Bagram Air Field, located north of Kabul. Land of the "Fobbits". A huge base that supports much of the war effort.
BAG. Base Activity Group.
Baluchi. This ethnic group comprises about 2% of the Afghan population.
Bamiyan Buddhas. Two large statues carved in the face of a mountain side in the province of Bamiyan were demolished by the Taliban in 2001. Read more in a news story by The Guardian (Jan 10, 2015).
BANA. Battalion Afghanistan National Army; more commonly referred to as kandak.
BANG. Battalion Afghanistan National Guard. Nobody has really ever seen a BANG but I bet there are about 30,000 folks in the Afghan National Guard getting paid.
Barakzai. A Pashtun tribe found in southern Afghanistan.
"Barney Style". As in "You are simple-minded so I will break down for you Barney Style".
Base Expeditionary Targeting Surveillance Systems-Combined (BETSS-C). Composed of a tower, power generators, and maintenace gear - this equipment provides for persistance surveillance for force protection purposes. Read a story on the BETSS-C and a description of the system. It has also been known as the RAID.
BAT. Brigade Advisory Team. The UK term for an advisor team mentoring an ANA BDE.
BATNA. Best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Something the U.S. is trying to figure out as an "alternative" to the Bilateral Security Agreement the Karzai refuses to sign.
BATS. Biometrics Automated Tool Set.
BATTLE. Battalion Analyzer & Tactical Trainer for Local Engagements.
Battle-Rattle. Stuff that Soldiers wear when outside the wire - body armor, web gear, helmet, ammunition, radio, GPS, and other stuff. If you use the right equipment, black electrical tape, and tie downs your gear won't rattle.
BBIED. Bike-Borne Improvised Explosive Device. Explosives attached to a motorcycle or bicycle.
BBK. Short for Baracki Barack, a district in Logar province, Afghanistan.
BC. Budget Circular.
BCA. Baseline Capablities Assessment.
BCA. Bilateral Civilianization Agreement. Civilianization is an attempt to encourage the Afghan ministries of defense and interior to hire more civilians in order to increase the professionalism of the respective ministry bureaucracies.
BCP. Border Check Point / Border Crossing Point.
BCT. Brigade Combat Team. A U.S. Army tactical formation of about 4,000 men. Some BCTs have been deploying to Afghanistan as Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) since early 2013.
BCU. Border Control Unit.
BDA. Battle damage assessment. Usually referring to a visit to the site of a CAS attack to determine damage to the enemy.
BDE. Brigade, one of the principal units of a division.
BDL. Bed Down Location.
BDOC. Base Defense Operations Center. Organization responsible for COP or FOB base security and defense.
BDZ. Base Defense Zone.
Beards. Special Forces Soldiers used to wear beards to build rapport with Afghans (primarily in the south and east of Afghanistan with heavy Pashtun populations). However, recently it is reported that the Green Berets are now shaving their beards off to build rapport with conventional SGMs and battalion / brigade commanders. One Green Beret says that "They feel more accepting and comfortable with me if I am beard-less". That has not negated the SF requirement during Special Forces Training to be able to grow a beard; learn more about that here.
BE. Basic encyclopedia.
BEI. Biometric-Enabled Intelligence. BEI is an important component of the counterinsurgency and counterterrorism fight. Read an article in Joint Force Quartery 72, January 1, 2014 about BEI.
BEPA. Basic Education Programme for Afghanistan (BEPA) is a joint program of the German Government with the Afghan Government and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
BETSS-C. See Base Expeditionary Targeting Surveillance Systems-Combined above.
BFC. Biometric Fusion Center.
BFC. Battle Field Circulation.
BFT. Blue Force Tracker.
BG. Body Guard.
BG. Brigadier General.
BGAN. Broadband Global Area Network.
BGF. Border Guard Region.
BHR. Bureau for Humanitarian Response.
B-Huts. Wooden structures that will sleep ten to twenty people depending on partitions. The acronym "B-Hut" was a quicker way of saying "Barracks Huts".
Bibliography for Resolute Support. Afghan War News has
compiled a "Resolute Support Annotated Bibliography" for the use of ISAF
staff and SFA advisors participating in the NATO mission in Afghanistan.
It is an Adobe Acrobat PDF, almost 200 pages long, and less than 3 MBs
big. Easy to read online or download and it is available at the link
BICES. Battlefield Information, Collection and Exploitation System. See BICES.
Big Voice. A loudspeaker system the will broadcast urgent messages throughout the entire compound, COP, or FOB. When incoming (mortar or rockets) are spotted by C-RAM the Big Voice will automatically warn with a siren (eerie sound) and provide instructioins to "take cover", "don your kelvar and IBA", etc. It also warns of "controlled dets" - where EOD will blow up something in "five minutes".
BILAT. Bilateral Meeting.
Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA). Talks between the U.S. and Afghan government of the terms to an agreement about U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan past December 2014. The agreement will include specifics on the basing and mission of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014. For more info on BSA see bilateral security agreement.
Binary Scale. In the states a woman's attractiveness is rated on a scale of 1 to 10. In Afghanistan, the scale is modified to "0s" and "1s". For a more detailed explanation of the binary scale click here.
BIP. Blown in Place.
Bird. Either a helicopter or a full bird colonel. Some people say chopper (older guys).
Black. Usually used when referring to status of ammo, water, fuel, or food. As "We are black on ammo". We have no ammo left.
BLOS. Beyond Line of Sight.
Blowed Up. Hit with an IED.
Blue Falcon. Phonetic slang for "Buddy F-----". A term for someone who throws someone else under the bus or steals someone elses good idea for his own benefit.
Blue Forces. NATO or ISAF forces. As opposed to the enemy or Afghan government forces.
Blue Staff. In Resolute Support HQs members working on strictly staff issues (versus advising or engaging in the 'Essential Functions') are referred to as "Blue Staff".
Blue-on-Blue. Friendly fire incident.
BLUF. Bottom Line Up Front. How every long Power Point presentation begins. That way the commander can decide to either end the brief or just zone out. Members of the audience can zone out.
BMD. Base Maintenance Depot (ANA).
BMD. Soviet Airborne Personnel Carrier (Boyevaya Mashina Desantnya).
BMEA. Border Management Executive Agent.
BMG. Bala Mour Ghab. Located in RC West. A highly contested area.
BMI. Border Management Initiative.
BMP. Bitmap. A graphics file.
BMP. Soviet Personnel Carrier (Boevaya Mashina Pekhoty).
BMTF. Border Management Task Force. This U.S. TF worked the border crossing areas of Afghanistan for many years.
BNAOR. Beyond NATO's Area of Responsibility; as in "Not my yob man".
BOD. Beneficial Occupancy Date.
BOG. Boots on Ground. How long someone has been in Afghanistan; or how long his tour will be.
BOLO. Be On The Look Out (for a vehicle or person). Also SGMs looking to see if you are wearing your reflective belt after dark.
Bone. A B-1 bomber call sign.
Bonn Agreement. In 2001 these agreement laid the framework for the establishment of an interim Afghan government. Hamid Karzai, a Pashtun moderate, was appointed president of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan in 2002.
BP. Best Practice.
BP. Border Police; more commonly called Afghan Border Police or ABP.
BPC. Building Partner Capacity.
BPT. Be Prepared To.
BR. Battle Rhythm.
Brigade Advisor Team. Abbreviated to BAT; a UK term for an ANA brigade mentor team. As in "The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)" - see news story here.
BRO. Budget Review Officer.
BSA. See Bilateral Security Agreement above.
BSA. Brigade Support Area.
BSB. Base Support Battalion.
BSB. Brigade Support Battalion.
BSI. Battle Space Integrator. A guy who used to be a BSO (as in a U.S. brigade commander) and who now supports an ANA commander because the Afghan is "in the lead for security in that area". BSI was later replaced by "AOSC" - Area Operations Support Commander. Which will be replaced by . . . TBD.
BSO. Battle Space Owner. Usually referring to a brigade or battalion commander who owns a piece of Afghanistan. As in . . . :if you are a SOF team, you should coordinate your operations with the BSO" or "The BSO won't let me do my job".
BSP. Border Security Point or Post.
BSSC. Brigade Service Support Company.
BST. Brigade Support Team.
BTA. Baseline Target Assessment.
BTIF. Bagram Internment Transfer Facility.
Buffalo. An armored vehicle used in Afghanistan as part of the route clearance patrols to clear the roads of IEDs.
BUB. Battle Update Brief.
BUDFIN. Budget and Finance.
BUDFOR. Budget and Accounting P
Burn Pits. This is the part of the FOB, base or camp where garbage and trash is (was) burned. Sometimes old tires, plastics, and chemicals were burned. Depending on the prevailing winds occupants of the camp would sometimes breath in the polluted air which may be cause for long-term health problems. For more read Use of Open-Air burn Pits in Contingency Operations, Department of Defense Instruction Number 4715.19, February 15, 2011 at this link. See also "Survey: many combat vets worried about exposure to 'burn pits'", The Christian Science Monitor, July 25, 2014 at this link.
Burqa and chadori. Terms to describe a head-to-toe garment worn by Afghan women.
Buzz Saw. A signaling method by waving a chem lite or light stick in a circle. Sometimes used to direct aircraft in to an landing zone (LZ) or to identify a units location.
BWT. Basic Warrior Training.
BZ. Below Zone.
BZ. Border Zone.
The definitions provided in this Afghan War Glossary are from many different sources to include publications, documents, and personal knowledge. In some instances, there are several definitions or meanings to a word or phrase.
To suggest additional terms for the glossary or to correct any inaccuracies or broken links send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. All external sites open up in an new window.