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
C. Commo for "copy".
C2. Command and Control. When some people say "C2" they really mean C3I.
C-208. A Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft fielded to the Afghan Air Force to provide passenger, cargo, CASEVAC, and ISR capability. The C-208 has great CASEVAC potential for the ANSF as there are lots of runways it could utilize and it could quickly pickup patients ground evac'd to small airstrips and speed them to regional medical facilities. See Wikipedia.
C2PC. Command and Control Personal Computer. A software application that displays a Common Operation Picture (COP) to personnel working in operations centers of military operations.
C2W. Command and Control Warfare.
C3I. Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence.
C4. Command, Control, Communications, and Computers.
C4I. Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence.
C4ISR. C4I Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
CA. Civil Affairs.
CA. Cooperating Agency.
CAAB. Civil Affairs Battalion.
CAAT. Originally called the Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team, the CAAT was renamed as the COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team.
CAC. Counter/Anti-Corruption Study.
CAESAR. Coalition Aerial Surveillance and Reconnaissance.
CAFTT-A. Coalition Air Forces Transition Team - Afghanistan.
CAG. Combat Action Group.
CALL. Center for Army Lessons Learned. Visit the CALL Website.
Camp Baker. In March 2006 the Australian Defense Forces (ADF) established Camp Baker within the confines of Kandahar Air Field (KAF). The camp served a variety of purposes until it was closed in November 2015.
Camp Morehead. Home of the ANA Special Forces. Named for a U.S. Special Forces Soldier who died in Iraq - MSG Kevin Morehead.
Camp Lion. Former home of the Nowegian Special Operations Advisory Team and current home of Critical Response Unit 222 of the Afghan Ministry of Interior. Located on the military side of Kabul International Airport.
Cannonball. Nickname pinned to a SF CW4 who pulled his canopy release assemblies slightly too early during a water parachute jump.
CAOC2. Combined Air Operation Command and Control.
CAOCL. Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning.
CAOL. Coalition Air Operation Center.
CAP. Combined Action Program.
CAP DEV. Capability Development. As in developing the capability of the Afghan National Army.
CAP DIV. Capital Division stationed in and around Kabul.
Capability Gap. General Dunford has articulated the four big capability gaps of the ANSF and ASIs numerous times in the press: Afghan Security Institutions, Aviation, Intelligence, and SOF.
Capability Set 13. Also abbreviated to CS 13. This is the Army's new, mobile tactical communications network. This technology suite provides enhanced situational awareness through a improved digital reach with the exchange of voice and data information. The CS 13 also extends the network to the Soldier level through End User Devices or EUDs that can transmit text, GPS locations and other types of data.
Capacity Building. The process of creating an environment that fosters Host Nation institutional development, community participation, human resources development, and strengthening managerial systems (FM 3-07).
CAR. Combined Arms Rehearsal.
CAR. Corrective Action Request.
CARCO. Combined Arms Route Clearance Operation.
CARVER-P. Criticality, Accessibility, Recoverability, Vulnerability, Effect, Recognizability, Psychological Impact.
CAS. Close air support provided to ground units. CAS is provided by fixed-wing AC.
CASA-1000. A plan to build dams to harness captured water in the Central Asian states and then generate electricity to send south along powerlines to Afghanistan and Pakistan. The plan has not yet been executed and has fallen behind schedule. Read more in this news story in The Economist (July 24, 2014).
CASEVAC. Casualty Evacuation. Quick means of evacuation; not a medical asset. Learn about Afghan CASEVAC capability.
CASREP. Casualty Report.
CAT. Crisis Action Team.
CAT-A. Civil Affairs Team Alpha.
CATB. Civil Aviation Transition Branch.
CAT - B. Civil Affairs Team Bravo. C2 and support for CAT-As.
CAX. Computer Assisted Exercise.
CBA. Capability Based Assessment.
CBSS. Community Base Security Solutions. CBSS was a plan to reorganize and train various militias that were formed for infrastructure protection utilizing CERP.
CBRN. Chemical, Biological, Radiological, or Nuclear.
CCA. Close Combat Air (CAS with an Army flavor). Something ground units can use without having to go through an Air Force JTAC.
CCDR. Combatant Commander.
CCI. See Community Cohesion Initiative in Afghanistan below.
CCIR. Commander's critical information requirement.
CCIS. Command, Control Information Systems.
CCL. Commodity Control List.
CCP. Casualty Collection Point.
CCRP. Counter Corruption Review Panel.
CCSR. Contingency Collection Support Requirement.
CCT. Corps Combat Team.
CCT. Combat Camera Team.
CCT. Combat Control Team (Air Force).
CCTC. See Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell below.
CDA. Cubic Defense Applications (Group).
CDC. Center for Disease Control.
CDC. Community Development Council.
CDD. Capabilities Development Directorate.
CDEP. Cognitive Dominance Education Program was formerly called the University of Foreign Military and Culture Studies. Learn more about CDEP.
CDI. A short-lived program advanced by the CJSOTF-A, the Community Defense Initiative was to provide for local civil defense forces in key areas of Afghanistan.
CDL. Common Data Link.
CDO. ANA Commando.
CDOQC. Commando Qualification Course.
CDP. Central Prisons Directorate.
CDP. See Community Development Program below.
CDS. Containerized Delivery System.
CE. Camp Eggers. A coalition military camp in Kabul. For a long time the home of NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A).
CEASAR. This is the Communications Electronic Attack with Surveillance and Reconnaissance program. Learn more here at CEASAR.
CECOM. Communications Electronic Command.
CEHC. Counter Explosive Hazard Center is located at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. The Route Reconnaissance Clearance Course (R2C2) is conducted here.
CEK. ANA Corps Engineer Kandak. The corps level engineer battalion that supports the ANA with facility maintenance and other engineer tasks.
CEMIS. Case Execution Management Information System.
CENTCOM. Central Command.
Center of Gravity. The source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act (JP 3-0).
CENTRIX. Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System. How the coalition chats and emails each other in secret.
CEO. Chief Executive Office. The second ranking position in the Afghan National Unity Government (NUG) after the President.
CEOI. Communications Electronic Operating Instructions.
CERP. Commander's Emergency Response Program. One of the best programs in the counterinsurgency fight. Read more about the Commander's Emergency Response Program or CERP.
CET. Convoy Escort Team.
CEW. Civilian Expeditionary Workforce. See http://cpol.army.mil/library/mobil.
CF. Coalition Forces.
CF. Commando Force.
CF. Conventional Forces.
CFACC. Combined Forces Air Component Command.
CFC. Consolidated Fielding Center.
CFC-A. Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan.
CFLCC. Combined Forces Land Component Command.
CFSOCC-A. Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan. One one-star command that transitioned to SOJTF-A (two-star command) with the components of CJSOTF-A, ISAF SOF, and one or two other entities.
CG. Commanding General. The boss; the man in charge.
CGS. Chief of the General Staff.
"Chai Boy". A young boy or young man whose job is to serve tea (chai); among other assorted duties. Many junior soldiers in the Afghan army will serve as chai boys to senior ANA officers.
Charlie Foxtrot. Clusterf**k.
CHB. Clear Hold Build.
Chickification. A description of the process of de-manning the military profession and the members of it. For instance, the lowering of U.S. Army physical fitness standards so that women can graduate Basic Training along with men. Another example are different pullup standards for men and women in USMC infantry training. I could go on . . .
CHOPS. Chief of Operations.
CHU. Containerized Housing Unit. A small, climate-controlled, metal living container that will sleep between one and eight. If you get a "wet CLU" you struck gold because it has a shower, toilet, and sink. But that only happens if you are a general officer or you work for the State Department or USAID.
CIA. Central Intelligence Agency, read more about the CIA here.
CICA. Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building in Asia.
CID. Criminal Investigation Directorate.
CIDNE. Combined Information Data Network Exchange. A database of significant incidents.
CIED. Counter IED. Sometimes spelled C-IED. Counter Improvised Explosive Device.
CIG. Commander's Initiative Group.
CIMIC. Civil Military Cooperation. The Afghan CIMIC capability is not institutionalized and is immature. There is inadequate manning, training, and expertise within the ANSF CIMIC structure. There was a conscious decision by ISAF (in 2013 and later) to walk away from mentoring and advising the Afghans at the tactical level and later at the operational and strategic level in the CIMIC discipline. Which, according to some COIN experts, would be the exact opposite course of action one should take if one were worried about a host nation's ability to fight an insurgency and wanted to solidify the hard-won gains of a counterinsurgency conflict! Some say CIMIC has been discarded as a term and that CMCoord for Civil-Military Coordination is the correct acronym.
CIP. Critical Infrastructure Program or CIP was similar to CBSS but existed in Regional Command North. A community militia group that was paid for by CERP funds.
CIP. Critical Infrastructure Protection.
CIPE. Center for International Private Enterprise. Provides expertise in democratic and economic reform. www.cipe.org.
CISA. College of International Security Affairs. Part of the National Defense University and a focal point for counterinsurgency study.
CIVCAS. Civilian Casualties. Usually associated with U.S. airstrikes that result in civilian fatalities or injuries.
Civil Consideration. How the manmade infrastructure, civilian institutions, and attitudes and activities of the civilian leaders, populations, organizations within an area of operations influence the conduct of military operations (FM 6-0). See also METT-TC.
Civil Military Operations. Referred to as CMO. Activities that establish, maintain, influence, or exploit relations between military forces, government, nongovernment, and the civilian organizations and population.
Civil War. A war between two opposing groups of citizens of the same country.
Civil Society Advisory Committee (CSAC). A committee composed selected representatives from different organizations that interact with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to contribute to the development of joint initiatives to provide for more effective programs. See a news release on the formation of the CSAC.
Civilian Casualty Tracking Cell (CCTC). The ISAF Commander, General McKiernan, established the CCTC in 2008 to monitor instances of civilian casualties or CIVCAS. The CCTC was able to track CIVCAS data and then recommend courses of action to reduce instances of CIVCAS caused by the coalition forces.
Civilian Self-Defense Forces (CSDF). Armed host-nation personnel santioned by GIRoA and/or ISAF and organized as part of counterinsurgency (COIN) or Foreign Internal Defense (FID) efforts. CSDF is a sub-set of LDF. This term is from US FID doctrine for Special Forces. Some examples in Afghanistan were the Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) in RC North and the Community Based Security Solutions (CBSS) in RC East.
CJCMOTF. Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force. This TF was organized in the early days of the Afghan War to coordinate the efforts of relief organizations in Kabul and to work to establish Coalition Humanitarian Liaison Cells (CHLCs) in many of the population centers.
CJCSI. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction.
CJ-EENG. Combined Joint Engineer. The engineer section of Resolute Support Command.
C/JIACG. Coalition / Joint Interagency Coordination Group.
CJIATF-A. See Combined Joint Interagency Task Force - Afghanistan below.
CJOA-A. Combined Joint Operations Area - Afghanistan.
C/JPOTF. Combined / Joint Psychological Operations Task Force.
CJSOR. Combined Joint Statement of Requirements. This is the NATO document that specifies the units and personnel needed to deploy to Afghanistan. Every year there is a new CJSOR that defines units and augmentees. The CJSOR specifies the type of unit or individual, length of deployment, and billet to be filled. Unfortunately, the troop contributing nations sometimes do not provide the proper individual or unit. For instance, there may be a stated need for a COL with an infantry background to advise the Ground Forces Command (GRC) and the TCN provides an Air Force COL. Sometimes the CJSOR is not specific enough; not indicating a language capability or a specific MOS or branch.
CJSOTF-A. Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan. The CJSOTF-A was initially set up in the very beginning of the war at Bagram Air Field. Various task forces had been stood up outside the country prior to the set up a Bagram.
CJTF-101. Combined Joint Task Force 101. During 2013-2014 the 101st Airborne Divisioin formed the Regional Command East headquarters at Bagram Air Field.
C-JTSCC. U.S. Central Command's Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.
Clear. A tactical mission task that requires the commander to remove all enemy forces and eliminate organized resistance in an assigned area (FM 3-90).
CLIN. Contract Line Item Number.
CLP. Combat Logistics Patrol.
CLS. Combat Lifesaver Course.
CLS. Contractor Logistics Support.
CM. Capability Milestone. A system of metrics designed to convince us that the war is going well and that the ANSF are getting better and better. Read an interesting article about the ISAF metrics that measure progress in the Afghan War here. CM1: capable of operating independently, CM2: capable at kandak level but needs international support, CM3: partially capable at company level with support from ISAF, CM4: formed but not yet capable of conducting primary operational missions. Read more on CMs.
CMA. Central Movement Agency.
CMATT. Civil Military Assistance Training Team. ISAF fielded these teams in 2013 from CA battalions in the states. The CMATTs are tasked to develop Civil-Military Operations capacity across the full ANSF spectrum.
CMCoord. Civil-Military Coordination.
CMF. Central Maintainance Facility.
CMIC. Civil-Military Interoperability Cell.
CMO. See Civil Military Operations above.
CMOC. Civil Military Operations Center.
CMRG. Civil Mine Reduction Group.
CMT. Construction Management Team. Read a story on DVIDS about the 608th CMT.
CN. Counter Narcotics. Something we get the ANP and ANA to do but with which we have had little success. The CN program in Afghanistan can be measured with this metric. In 2013 poppy cultivation was at its highest since 2011 and accounted for 90% of the GNP.
CNA. Coordinates Not Available.
CNGD. Counter-Narcotics General Directorate.
CNPA. See Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan below.
CNTPO. Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office.
COA. Course of Action.
Coaching. Helping a counterpart reach the next level of knowledge or skill by practicing those skills with the counterpart and building on previous teaching.
Coalition Support Fund (CSF). An aid fund allocated by U.S. Congress which provides financial asssistance to Pakistan. In 2015 the fund for Pakistan was close to $1 billion. Aid is contingent upon Pakistan combatting violent extremist groups within its borders.
COCO. Contractor Owned, Contractor Operated.
COE. Common Operating Environment.
COEPSU. Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units.
COG. Center of Gravity; as in the people are the COG in a COIN environment.
COIN. Abbreviation for counterinsurgency, see counterinsurgency below.
CoIST. Company Intelligence Support Team. Something that the U.S. Army did right.
"Cold Base". A cold base is a set of buildings in a compound that will help Coalition troops, usually members of an advise and assist team, visit an Afghan security forces installation or base for a few hours up to a few weeks. This cold base helps facilitiate the non-persistent advisor mission. Read an example of how an SFAAT uses a cold base in this news release by DVIDS (December 13, 2014).
Collateral Damage. Unintended and undesirable civilian personnel injuries or material damage adjacent to a target produced by the effects of demolition weapons, artillery, or airstrikes.
Combat Tracking Course. A course offered by USAIC to prepare Soldiers and law enforcement personnel for combat and tactical tracking operations against insurgents and criminal elements. The course provides training in gathering forensic evidence tying criminals and insurgents to incidents. The course is offered in a couple of configurations (basic and advanced).
Combined Joint Interagency Task Force - Afghanistan (CJIATF-A). This consortium coordinates and focuses efforts against corruption, narcotics, threat finance, and contracting with the enemy. It also conducts detainee operations and coordinates with units of the Afghan government.
COMINT. Communications Intelligence.
COMIJC. Command of ISAF Joint Command; a three star command under which the regional commands fall.
COMISAF. Commander of International Security Force Assistance Command; a four star billet commanding all coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Commander's Emergency Response Program. See CERP above.
Commandos. The Afghan Commandos of the ANA are one of the premier forces of the ANSF. Trained and advised by US Special Forces they have become a formidable fighting force.
Commitment Letters. These letters are agreements between Resolute Support headquarters and the MoI, MoD, and MoF that hopefully enhance transparency, accountability, and oversight of international donations. Thus far (mid-2016) the commitment letters have largely been ineffective although new penalty measures attached to the provisions may have some effect.
Community Cohesion Initiative. USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) funded and oversaw a program called the Community Cohesion Initiative from March 2012 to December 2015 in support of the U.S. Government's strategy to improve stability in strategically selected areas of Afghanistan - laying the foundation for longer-term development.
Community Development Program (CDP). A stabilization program of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Afghanistan.
COMSATCOM. Commercial Satellite Communications.
CONEMP. Concept of Employment.
CONOPS. Concept of Operations.
CONUS. Continential United States.
Conventional Forces. Those forces other than designated special operations forces (for more see JP 1-01).
COP. Combat Outpost. A small base with 50 to 200 people. Austere living conditions- probably with cold rations, porta-potties, and cold showers (if any). In the slight chance that there are CHUs they certainly are overcrowded and most definately are not "wet". See CHU above.
COP. Common Operating Picture.
CoP. Chief of Police. See corruption below. Usually meaning a provincial or district chief of police - PCoP or DCoP.
COR. Contracting Officer's Representative.
CORDS. Civil Operations and Revolutionary (rural) Development Support. A development and stabilization program conducted in South Vietnam to help in defeating the Viet Cong insurgency.
Core-IMS. CORE Inventory Management System. An automated logistics system for the ANA. The Afghans haven't quite figured it out yet.
Corruption. Can you say "President Karzai" without saying corruption? JOKE ALERT: An Afghan walks into a tea house in Kabul and sees Hamid Karzai. He asks Karzai, "How come you keep all these corrupt people in your government?" Karzai replies, "How much will you pay me to kick them out?" A more serious attempt to explain corruption in Afghanistan is "the abuse of public office for private gain".
CoS. Chief of Staff.
COTR. Contracting Officer Technical Representatives.
COTS. Commercial Off the Shelf. What we do buy enough of because it works better than what we program for.
Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA). The Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan are fighting an uphill battle against the drug traffickers and corrupt police and government officials.
Counter Unconventional Warfare. A concept or strategy of countering unconventional warfare or hybrid warfare. Best explained in a white paper entitled Counter-Unconventional Warfare by the United States Army Special Operations Command, 26 September 2014.
Counterinsurgency. Those military, paramilitary, political, economic, psychological, and civic actions taken by a government to defeat insurgency (JP 1-02). Note: The current advisor teams (SFAATs) in Afghanistan believe they are doing Security Force Assistance; however, an important part of their mission is to "train, advise and assist" the Afghans in conducting counterinsurgency - although many of the SFAATs are not trained in COIN. Counterinsurgency is a comprehensive civilian and military effort undertaken to defeat an insurgency and address the population's core grievances. Currently, the Coalition is conducting SFA in support of GIRoA COIN efforts; although we are not teaching or training the Afghans to do COIN.
CP. Check point.
CP. Command Post.
CPD. Capability Production Document.
CPN. Criminal Patronage Network. CPNs are found in abundance in Afghanistan. The biggest one is called the "Karzai CPN".
CPR. Command Plan Review.
CPT. Counterterrorism Pursuit Teams. A proxy force for a U.S. organization engaged in counterterrorism strikes in Afghanistan . . .
CPX. Complex Attack (using two or more types of weapons; as in IED and small arms fire.
CPX. Command Post Exercise. Read an account of the 1st Cavalry Division staff conducting a CPX at Fort Hood in early 2014 in preparation for a deployment to southern Afghanistan.
CQB. Close Quarters Battle.
CR. Country Representative - State Department term.
CRP. Combat Reconnaissance Patrol.
CREW. Counter Radio-controlled improvised Explosive device Warfare.
CRM. Composite Risk Management. Absolutely too much of this going on.
CROWS. Common Remotely Operated Weapon System.
C-RAM. Many COPs and FOBs experience a high degree of IDF. The Counter Rocket, Artillery and Mortar or C-RAM systems provide early warning of an IDF attack.
CRM. Composite Risk Management.
CRU. Crisis Response Unit or CRU 222.
C/S. Call Sign.
CS 13. See Capability Set 13 above.
CSAR. Combat Search and Recovery Task Force.
CSC. Command & Staff College.
CSD. Central Supply Depot (ANA).
CSDF. Civilian Self-Defense Forces. Something we needed more of in Afghanistan; especially in the early years. However, the men wearing the stars were fixated on a top driven approach to security in Afghanistan and missed the opportunity to fight an insurgency using proper COIN methodology.
CSK. Convoy Security Kandak of the APPF. These kandaks were trained and equipped to provide security to supply and fuel convoys traveling dangerous routes (Highway 1) throughout the country. For the most part the training, equipment, leadership and performance of the APPF CSKs was dismal.
CSM. Command Sergeant Major.
CSO. Civil Society Organization.
CSOC. The Consolidated Stability Operations Cell managed atmospheric intelligence gathering for Coalition forces in Afghanistan by using a nationwide network that reported on what their communities were saying about development, governance, security, and other pressing issues. Many of the products were unclassified and were used by various NGOs, special operations, and military organizations in Afghanistan.
CSS. Combat Service Support.
CSSK. Combat Service Support Kandak. The CSSK provides medical, logistical, and maintenance support to the rest of the ANA brigade.
CST. The CSTs were an adaptation of the Marine Corps Female Engagement Teams. The Cultural Support Teams were comprised of females selected and trained by USASOC for deployment to Afghanistan to support SOF units.
CSTC-A. The Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan was headquartered on Camp Eggers in Kabul and was the U.S. entity which was part of (in a parallel fashion) the NATO Training Mission - Afghansitan (NTM-A). In the later part of the OEF mission NTM-A became a subordinate unit of ISAF Joint Command (IJC) and CSTC-A became a part of ISAF headquarters. In 2014 CSTC-A was downsized and moved onto the ISAF compound (as if there wasn't enough room for personnel already on that overly crowded base!).
CT. Combined Team. As in Combined Team Uruzgan.
CTAG-A/P. Combined Training Assistance Group Army/Police.
CTAP. Civilian Technical Assistance Program.
CTC. Combat Training Center. As in JRTC, NTC, or JMRC. JMRC, of course, did the best job in preparing units and advisors for the SFA mission in Afghanistan.
CTC-A. Counterinsurgency Training Center. Located at Camp Julien, the CTC provided instruction in COIN to U.S., coalition, and Afghan Soldiers. Now fully transferred to the Afghans.
CTD. Criminal Techniques Department. An Afghan forensics section in Kabul. Learn more at this news story.
CTF. Combined Task Force.
CTOC. Combined Tactical Operations Center.
CUA. Commander's Update Assessment.
CUAT. Commander's Unit Assessment Tool. Not very useful and doesn't provide an accurate picture of just how bad the ANA really are. For instance there is no place to write "the kandak commander doesn't know how to read or write and he steals supplies from his kandak supply room". Reports are, as of summer 2013, the CUAT is dead; replaced by the RASR. The main factors the CUAT tracked were Leadership, Operations, Intelligence, Logistics, Equipping, Personnel, Maintenance, Communications, Training & Education, and Partnering. Learn more about the good, bad and ugly of the CUAT here.
CUB. Commander's Update Briefing.
CUI. Controlled Unclassified Information.
CULINT. Cultural Intelligence.
CV-22. The CV-22 Osprey is a VTOL and STOL aircraft with the capability of a helicopter and the performance of a turboprop. Learn more about the CV-22 Osprey.
CVE. Countering Violent Extremism.
CW. Community Watch.
CWIED. Command-wired improvised explosive device.
CWS. Central Work Shop. Located in Kabul.
CZ. Confirm Zero.
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.