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.
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M16. The standard U.S. rifle that fires a 5.56 round.
M240. A U.S. machine gun. This infantry machine gun is built perfectly for personnel with small frames (men under 5'4" or women). Read more here in a news article on the M240.
M249. A U.S. machine gun.
M4. A shortened version of the M16.
M9. 9mm pistol carried by U.S. Soldiers.
M-ATV. Mine resistant ambush protected All Terrain Vehicle.
MA. Marshalling Area.
MA. Military Assistance. A lackey that generals have to make coffee, keep their schedule, remind them who they are meeting next, and the all important wife's birthday.
MA. Mortuary Affairs.
MAAG. Military Assistance Advisory Group.
MAAR. Monthly ANDSF Assessment Report. The MAAR replaced the Regional ANSF Status Report (RASR) in early 2015. The regional TAAC commanders account for their TAA efforts at the ANA corps and ANP equivalent level headquarters thorught the MAAR. The MAAR assses the ANA and ANP capability in warfighting functions and the five functional pillars of leadership, combined arms operations, C2, training and personnel, and sustainment.
MAB. Mission Analysis Brief.
MACA. Mine Action Clearance for Afghanistan.
MACU. Military Anti-Corruption Unit.
Madrasa. An Islamic school in Afghanistan.
MAG. Ministerial Advisor Group. A section of CSTC-A that advises the security ministries of Afghanistan.
MAIED. Magnetically Attached Improvised Explosive Device.
MAIL. Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock.
Malign Actor Networks (MAN). A method of using charts to outline the criminal syndicates that are found within Afghan business and political life. The charts link the high political leaders such as Hamid Karzai, ministers, and provincial governors to the estensive criminal patronage networks, insurgent groups, and drug traffickers found at every level of Afghan society and government. 1.
Malik. A village or community leader or person of note and influence. Usually the leader of a clan.
MAM. Military Aged Male.
MAMI. Medium altitude, multi-intelligence (C-12 based QRC aircraft systems).
MAN. See Malign Actor Networks above.
Man Love Thursday. Rumored to be the night that Afghan men link up to satisfy sexual desires so that they are not distracted by the opposite sex on Friday. It would be culturally insensitive to say "Man Love Thursday" in front of an Afghan . . . but he would know what you mean.
Mandatory Fun. Usually a planned event to increase the morale and comradeship of the troops; but which actually lowers the fun meter. As in when the company commander plans a get-together at the company MWR tent at the same time that a football playoff game can be seen in the dining facility tent on AFN.
MANPADS. Man Portable Air Defense System.
MAPA. Mine Action Programme for Afghanistan.
MARFOR. Marine Corps Forces.
Marjah. Long a stronghold of the Taliban in Helmand province - the area of and surronding Marjah became a fierce battle of control between coalition and the Taliban beginning in February 2010.
MARSOC. Marine Corps Special Operations Command.
MASCAL. Mass Casualty.
MASINT. Measurement and signature intelligence.
MASIVS. Multi-Aperture Sparse Imager Video System.
Massoud. Ahmad Shah Massoud was an ethnic Takik and was one of the most famous mujahideen who fought against the Soviet invasion and occupation.
Massoud Day. A day in September that celebrates Massoud - a anti-Taliban fighter who was assassinated just days before 9/11. GIRoA holds a ceremony and people visit Massouds' gravesite in Panjshayr Valley.
MarDiv. Marine Division.
MARFORCOM. Marine Forces Command.
MARSOC. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command.
Martyr Week. Also called "Week of Martyrdom". A week-long observance of those who have died fighting for Afghanistan. Usually held in September of each year.
MAT. Military Advisor Team. Europeans call their military advisor teams "MATs". The U.S. calls them SFAATs or SFATs. The Europeans are using the correct nomenclature; the U.S. just hasn't read the NATO CONOP or IJC FRAGO for SFA.
MAT. Mine Awareness Training.
MAT. Medical Advisory Team.
MATA. Military Assistance Training Advisor. The Institute for Military Assistance (IMA), now called the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (JFKSWCS), conducted an advisor course during the Vietnam War called the Military Assistance Training Advisor Course (MATA Course). The course was six weeks long and provided instruction to conventional Army officers detailed to advise South Vietnamese units. The course was taught by Special Forces instructors.
MACV. Military Assistance Command Vietnam.
MBIED. Massive Borne IED.
MBIED. Motorcycle Borne IED.
MBITR. Multi-Band Intra-Team Radio.
MB-SFA. Modular Brigade - Security Force Assistance. In late 2009 the Army decided to deploy the MB-SFA to Iraq to advise and assist the Iraqi Army. In Afghanistan the MB-SFA model was partially adapted resulting in the SFAB or Security Force Assistance Brigades.
MBT. Main Battle Tank. Something the Taliban don't have. Something that the coalition has in limited numbers in Afghanistan (RC SW?).
MC-12W. This ISR aircraft provides critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Learn more about the MC-12W here.
MC-130J. A special operations versatile multi-mission tactical airlifter. See a U.S. Air Force fact sheet on the MC-130J Commando II.
MCAST. Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command (MCAST). Stationed at Oceana Dam Neck Annex in Virginia Beach, Va, MCAST was formed in 2009 from the merger of two commands - Maritime Civil Affairs Group (MCAG) and Expeditionary Training Combat Command (NECC). The MCAST mission was to man, train, equip, and deploy both active duty and reserve expeditionary Sailors worldwide in order to conduct Civil-Military Operations (CMO) and Security Force Assistance (SFA) training in the maritime environment. The MCAST was disestablished on May 16, 2014.
MCC. See Metallurgical Corporation of China below.
MCCDC. Marine Corps Combat Development Command.
MCCLL. Marine Corp Center for Lessons Learned.
MCI. Mercy Corps International.
MCIT. See Ministry of Communications and Information Technology below.
MCM. Mine Counter Measures.
MCN. Ministry of Counter Narcotics.
MCP. Mobile Check Point.
MCPDS. Marine Corps Publication Distribution System.
MCRP. Marine Corps Reference Publication.
MCT. Maintenance Contact Team.
MCT. Movement Control Team.
MCTF. Major Crimes Task Force. In 2009 the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) help establish the MCTF-A to attack the financial and political support structure of the growing insurgency. However, within two years, the FBI had withdrawn its personnel from the task force due to conflicts with the corrupt Afghan government.
MCTIMS. Marine Corps Training Information Management System.
MCTP. See Mission Command Training Program below.
MDCOA. Most Dangerous Course of Action.
MDMP. Military Decision Making Process. A convoluted method to develop a plan involving many man-hours and much staff time. Something most Afghans will never learn and/or will choose never to do. They will default to Troop Leading Procedures.
MDP. Ministerial Development Plan.
ME. Main Effort.
ME. Military Equivalent.
Measure of Effectiveness. A criterion used to assess changes in system behavior, capability, or operational environment that is tied to measuring the attainment of an end state, achievement of an objective, or creation of an effect (JP 3-0).
Measure of Performance. A criterion used to assess friendly actions that is tied to measuring task accomplishment (JP 3-0).
Meat Eater. Someone on the direct action, kinetic side of the war versus a Civil Affairs or intelligence specialist. Someone who prefers steak rather than quiche.
MEB. Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
MEB-A. Marine Expeditionary Brigade Afghanistan. The MEB-A officially took authority of Regional Command Southwest from II MEF (Forward) on February 5, 2014 and assumed responsibility to lead coalition operations in Helmand and Nimroz provinces. With the withdrawal of ISAF forces from RC SW in late summer 2014 the MEB-A was stood down. A deactivation ceremony was held on January 9, 2015 at Camp Pendleton, California.
MEC. Monitoring and Evalucation Committee (Afghan).
MEDCAP. Medical Civil Affairs Patrol.
MEDEVAC. Medical evacuation; usually by aircraft.
MEDSITREP. Medical Situation Report.
MEF. Marine Expeditionary Force.
MEEL. Mission Essential Equipment List.
MEL. Master Event List.
Mentoring. A mentor teaches, guides and advises another individual(s). In the context of Afghanistan mentoring has the shared goal of building capacity and capability within the ANSF.
MERT. Medical Emergency Response Team. The MERT saved countless lives in Helmand province throughout the Afghan conflict. This British medical team worked out of a Chinook helicopter which was specially kitted out as a flying emergency room.
MeS. Mazar-e-Sharif. A large city in northern Afghanistan.
Mes Aynak Copper Mine. The Chinese have the Afghan concession for the extracting of copper from the Mes Aynak copper mine located in Mohammad Agha district of Logar province. There is also an archeological site there as well complicating the operation.
Meshrano Jirga. The House of Elders (upper house or Senate) of the Afghan Parliament. The house has 102 members. Learn more at Wikipedia here.
MET. Mission Essential Task.
Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC). The Chinese firm that is working the Mes Aynak copper reserves in Logar province.
METL. Mission Essential Task List.
METT-TC. Mission, Enemy, Terrain and weather, Troops, Time, and Civil considerations.
MEU. Marine Expeditionary Unit.
MFAT. Multi-Function Assistance Team. Really . . . this is a real acronym. Some folks thingk it means Multi-Function Assessment Team.
MF. Maneuver Force.
MFNDU. Marshal Fahim National Defense University. Named after a long-time Northern Alliance leader and member of the Afghan government; now deceased Mohammad Qasim Fahim.
MG. Machine gun.
MGRS. Military Grid Reference System.
MH-47. Special Operations Chinook.
MHM. Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C.
Mi-17. Russian made transport helicopter.
Mi-35. Export model of the Russian Mi-24 HIND D attack helicopter.
MI. Military Intelligence.
MIA. Missing in Action.
MIB. Military Intelligence Brigade.
MICO. Military Intelligence Company.
MICP. Ministerial Internal Controls Program. See EF 2 TAO for further explanation.
MICV. Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
MID. Military Intelligence Detachment.
MIDAS. Mining Investmanet and Development for Afghan Sustainability.
MIED. Magnetically-attached IED.
MIK. Military Intelligence Kandak.
Milestone B. Established by DoDI 5000.02, Milestone B designates entry into acquistion program.
MILSTRIP. Military Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedure.
MILVAN. A military van or container.
MINDEF. Minister of Defense.
MININT. Minister of Interior.
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) (Afghan). A specialized Afghan governmental body that covers down on the information, telephone, and communications sector.
MIP. Ministry of Interior's Plan.
MIPR. Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request.
MIS. Ministry of Interior's Strategy.
MISO. Military Information Support Operations. Used to be called PSYOPs; but that acronym was not so politically correct.
MISP. MoI Strategic Plan. MISP provides the framework for meaningful reform and development within the Ministry of Interior.
Mission Command Training Program (MCTP).
The MCTP is part of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort
Leavenworth, Kansas. the MCTP supports the collective training of Army
units as directed by the CSA and scheduled by FORSCOM IAW the ARFORGEN
process at worldwide locations in order to train leaders and provide
commanders the opportunity to train on Mission Command in Unified Land
MIST. Military Information Support Team.
MISTI. Measuring Impact of Stabilization Initiatives.
MiTT. Military Transition Team. Advisor teams deployed to Iraq to work along side Iraqi Army and Police units. Originally the MiTTs were small adhoc units composed of callups from the reserve component but as the war progressed Human Resources Command and other Army organizations got a little more responsible in selecting and training advisors and the MiTTs (later in the war) were reasonably selected, trained, and equipped for their mission.
MKT. Mobile Kitchen Trailer.
MLCOA. Most Likely Course of Action.
MLS. Military Logistics Support.
MMC. Material Management Center.
MNS. Mission Needs Statement.
MO. Modus Operandi.
MOA. Memorandum of Agreement.
Mobile Strike Force. Each Afghan corps has a MSF available for use as a quick-reaction force. This kandak level Mobile Strike Force is armored and receives special training.
Mobile Training Team (MTT). A team consisting of one or more US military or civilian pesonnel sent on temporary duty, often to a foreign nation, to give instruction. The mission of the team is to train indigenous personnel to operate, maintain, and employ weapons and support systems, or to develop a self-training capability in a particular skill. The Secretary of Defense may direct a team to train either military or civilian indigenous personnel, depending on host nation requests. (JP 1-02)
MoC. Ministry of Commerce.
MoD. The Afghan Ministry of Defense located in Kabul.
MoD 14. A form to requisition supplies or part; something that the Afghans are struggling with.
MoD 9. A form authorizing the release of equipment.
MoDA. Minister of Defense Advisors Program. Read more about it here.
MoDNET. A communication network for the MoD and Afghan National Army.
MOD P&E. Ministry of Defense Policy and Education.
MOE. See Measure of Effectiveness above.
MoE. Ministry of Education.
MoF. Ministry of Finance. A stop U.S. money takes after leaving the U.S. Treasury but before it is deposited into the Karzai bank account in Dubai.
MoFA. Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
MoH. Ministry of Health.
MOI. Memorandum of Instructions.
MoI. The Afghan Ministry of Interior located in Kabul.
MoIC. Ministry of Information and Culture (Afghan).
MoJ. Ministry of Justice.
MOLSAM. Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs & Disabled.
MoMP. Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (Afghan).
Moon Dust. A powder like dust and sand combination that can be a few inches deep on the ground. When the wind howls it goes everywhere. Just think of centuries of dried, ground up fecal matter infesting your nostrils.
MOOTW. Military Operations Other Than War.
MOP. See Measure of Performance above.
MoPH. Ministry of Public Health.
MOR. Memorandum of Request.
MOS. Military Occupational Specialty.
MOU. Memorandum of Understanding. An agreement between two organizations.
MoWA. Ministry of Women's Affairs.
"Mowing the Grass". One of the tenets of counterinsurgency in "Clear, Hold, and Build". The U.S. learned how to "Clear" but they never got the "Hold" or "Build" part right. As a result they continually would clear insurgent areas only to have to go back in one to six months later to clear the same area. Repeatedly clearing areas became known as "mowing the grass'. Of course, now that we are in "retrograde" the Afghans are doing the fighting. They are being advised by the same people who practiced "Clear" really well in previous years. So the Afghans are fighting the insurgents like we did - "mowing the grass".
MP. Military Police.
MPBS. Military Police Branch School.
MPC. Main Planning Conference.
MPO. Military Post Office.
MPP. Manpower Plan.
MPRI. Military Professional Resources Incorporated.
MPS. Mobile Payment System.
MPW. Ministry of Publice Works.
MRAP. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle.
MRD. Motorized Rifle Division. Standard infantry division in Soviet era armies.
MRE. Meal Ready to Eat; something that the U.S. Army will say tastes good as we go "Expeditionary". The PAOs will have their work cut out for them on this one.
MRE. Missioin Rehearsal Exercise.
MRP. Motorized Rifle Platoon.
MRR. Minimum-Risk Route. The road where the IEDs are not. Or, . . . take a helicopter.
MRR. Motorized Rifle Regiment. A unit (smaller than a brigade) found in Soviet-era armies.
MRRD. Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development.
MRX. Mission Rehearsal Exercise.
MSA. Mutual Support Agreements.
MSC. Major Subordinate Command (or commander).
MSC. MoI Support Center.
MSC. Most Significant Change.
MSD. Minimum Safe Distance. Where you need to be when you hear "Watch this *hit".
MSE. Mobile Suscriber Equipment.
MSF. See Mobile Strike Force above.
MSF-AT. Mobile Strike Force Advisor Team
MSFV. Mobile Strike Force Vehicle, the primary vehicle of the Mobile Strike Force.
MSH. Management Services for Health.
MSK. Mobile Strike Kandak.
MSL. Mean Sea Level.
MSOT. Marine Special Operations Team.
MSP. Ministry of Interior Supply Point.
MSR. Main Supply Route.
MSS. Mission Support Site.
MSU. Major Subordinate Unit.
MTA. Military Technical Agreement.
MTAG. NTM-A Medical Training Advisory Group.
MTI. Moving Target Indicator.
MTF. Medical Treatment Facility.
MTF. Message Text Format.
MTF. More to follow.
MTOE. Modified Table of Equipment.
MTR. Minimum Training Requirement.
MTT. Military Training Team.
MTT. See Mobile Training Team above.
MTTP. Multi-service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.
MTV. Medium Tactical Vehicle.
MUB. Morning Update Brief.
MUD. What the MUB (see MUB above) sounds like without your first cup of coffee; as in "clear as mud".
Mujahedin. A term meaning those who engage in jihad, fighters of jihad. A term used to identify insurgents who fought the Soviets from 1979 to 1989. Also spelled Mujahidin.
MUS. Mission Unit Specialty.
MW. Mine Warfare.
MWR. Morale, Welfare, Recreation.
MWD. Military Working Dog; man's best friend.
MWE. Men Weapons Equipment.
MWG. Management Working Group.
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.
1. For more info on the Malign Actor Networks (MAN) see an article by the New York Times dated September 5, 2010 entitled "Inside Corrupt-istan, a Loss of Faith in Leaders" found at this link.