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
R2. Reconciliation and Reintegration.
R2. Retrograde and Redeployment.
R2C2. Route Reconnaissance Clearnce Course taught at the Counter Explosive Hazard Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Learn more about R2C2 in this DVIDS news report.
R2P. Short for "responsibility to protect". A United Nations initiative that states government have a responsibility to protect its citizens from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethic cleansing. See R2P at Wikipedia.
R3P. Rearm, Refuel, and Resupply Point.
R&R. Rest and Recreation.
R&R. Retrograde and Recovery. The actions taken to move troops and equipment out of Afghanistan. ISAF calls this "Transition" - yeah, okay.
R&S. Reconnaissance and Surveillance.
RA. Rear Area. Where the POGs and Fobbits live and work.
RA. Remedial Action.
Radar. Radio Detection and Ranging.
Radio in a Box. The RIAB program is one of the more successful endeavors by the U.S. Army; especially in the Information Operations field where ISAF and the U.S. has had a dismal performance and are "overmatched" by the Taliban PR machine.
Rack Out. Going to sleep. Hitting the rack (bed or sleeping bag).
RAFA. Reconstruction Authority for Afghanistan.
RAID. Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment.
RAID Team. With a name like "RAID Team" one can only imagine steathly night fighters carrying exotic weapons inserting by helicopter in the dead of night to raid an insurgent compound for a high value target and IED bomb components. But wait. This is a Coast Guard RAID Team! Take a deep breath. Learn more about the Coast Guard RAID Team.
Railroads. At the start of the Afghan War there were very few railroads in Afghanistan; however, this has changed and some railroads have been built and are now operating in the northern parts of the country.
Rainbow PT Gear. This type of PT gear is worn because it is comfortable and makes sense for a physical fitness activity. It is substituted for the stupid looking Army PT uniform or the gay Navy PT uniform. The Marines wear their PT uniform during PT because it doesn't look stupid or gay. The Air Force wears their uniform but only when they really have to. SF dudes don't wear PT uniforms - just because. Another reason for the Rainbow PT Gear is that you don't have to wear the stupid yellow reflector strap.
RAM. Random antiterrorism measure.
Ramadan. The ninth month of the Muslim lunar calendar. Muslims fast during daylight hours of Ramadan. In Afghanistan referred to as Ramazan.
RAMP-UP. Regional Afghan Municipalities Program for Urban Populations.
Ranger. Someone who has graduated from Ranger School and/or is assigned to one of the three Ranger Battalions in the Ranger Regiment. Some will be future Green Berets once they graduate from Special Forces training.
RAOC. Rear Area Operation Center.
RASR. Regional ANSF Status Report. A report that the regional commands submitted on the Afghan National Security Forces. The RASR replaced the not so useful CUAT in mid-2013. The report was a compilation of ANSF unit assessments from RC commanders, SFAATs, IJC CJ2, NTM-A, and CTAG. ANASOC and AAF units are not assessed by the RASR system. At some point the RASR was supposed to be replaced by the RSS. However, in early 2015 it was replaced by the Monthly ANDSF Assessment Report (MAAR).
Ratline. A path or means of transport from one location to another that is used by insurgents to avoid detection. Use for infil, exfil, smuggling, or supply of insurgents groups.
Raziq. Sometimes called "Our Man in Kandahar", Abdul Raziq is a dependable U.S. ally with an unsavory reputation that our senior leadership simply adores. He started out working along the border of Kandahar but is currently (as of early 2014) the PCoP for Kandahar. 1.
RC. Recurrent Cost.
RC. Regional Command; as in "RC South".
RC. Reserve Components. Army Reserve, National Guard, Air Guard, etc.
RCA. Religious and Cultural Affairs. In an ANA kandak, brigade, or corps the RCA is responsible for religious education and activities, literacy, wounded warriors, humanitarian assistance and more.
RCBS. See Regional Corps Battle School below.
RCC. Route Clearance Company.
RC-E. Regional Command East.
RCE. Route Clearance Element.
RCIED. Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device.
RC-N. Regional Command North.
RCP. Route Clearance Patrol. An element of very brave men and women who clear roads ridden with IEDs.
RCR. Royal Canadian Regiment.
RC-S. Regional Command South.
RC-SW. Regional Command South West.
RCT. Route Clearance Team.
RDA. Reconstruction and Development Association.
RDC. Record Distribution Center.
RDF. Radio Direction Finder.
RDL. Rating Definition Levels. Part of the evaluation process of ANA and ANP.
RDS. Reconnaissance Drone System.
REAP. Recovery and Employment Afghanistan Program.
RECCA. Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan. The sixth RECCA was held in Kabul in September 2015. The two-day meeting had representatives of over 30 nations and 40 international organizations. Visit the Afghan MoF's webpage on RECCA.
RECCE. Reconnaissance element of the ANA. Each kandak has a Recce platoon in its Weapons Company (Tolay). Each brigade has a Recce Tolay (company) in its 4th Combat Support Kandak (CSK). Typically, these recce elements pull guard duty, are PSDs for the commanders, or are employed as regular infantry platoons or companies. They are not (usually) employed as a brigade or kandak level reconnaissance element. Read more about the ANA recce capability in the description of the Combat Support Kandak.
REDWINGS. Operation REDWINGS was a SEAL mission that went bad in the highlands of Afghanistan. A four-man SEAL recon element was compromised and only one SEAL survived. A rescue chopper went down attempting to extract the SEALs resulting in even more deaths. A book and movie called "Lone Survivor" tell the story.
Regional Corps Battle School (RCBS). The RCBS is part of the regional Afghan Corps (201st, 203rd, 205th, 207th, 209th, and 215th) located around the country. One of the first RCBS to stand up was the one at Camp Shorabak, Afghanistan. Eventually (June 2014) all of the Afghan corps will have a RCBS.
Retrograde. The process of moving men and equipment from theater back to a reset condition in the United States or elsewhere. As in we are conducting retrograde operations in Afghanistan - getting the heck out . . . finally! ISAF stopped using the term 'retrograde' and substituted the word 'transition'. 'Retrograde' makes it sound like we are reducing our presence and moving men and equipment out; 'transition' makes it sound like we are not leaving. Hmmmm - Is the King wearing any clothes?
Recon. Reconnaissance. See RECCE above.
Reconciliation. Attempts by the Afghan government via the High Peace Council to hold peace talks with various insurgent groups. Thus far there has not been a lot of reconciliation of the insurgents.
Red-on-Red. The enemy fighting with the enemy. As in when the Taliban are fighting the HIG in Wardak province.
Reflective Belt. A bright yellow or orange plastic belt worn around the waist or over one shoulder. The bright belt is worn over your camouflage uniform so people can see you. The most common place worn in Afghanistan is on large Air Force bases. However, in taking a cue from the Air Force, the Army has increased combat effectiveness with mandatory use of reflective belts on combat ground patrols; learn more here in this story. *** LATE BREAKING NEWS *** In a stunning reversal, the Air Force is now showing some common sense in the requirement to wear the reflective belt with the PT uniform anywhere and everywhere. See AF story here. Will the Army be next? Learn more about how the reflective belt has become an icon of the GWOT.
Reintegration. A process that the Afghan government is using to encourage insurgents to stop fighting and rejoin Afghan society. The results of the reintegration of Afghan insurgents has not been overwhelming; in fact, many of the reintegrated "insurgents" are actually regular Afghans with no association with insurgent groups; but are cronies of district and provincial governors trying to siphon off international aid.
REMF. Rear Echelon M**** F*****. A more polite term is Fobbit.
Resistance Movement. A organized effort by some portion of the civil population of a country to resist the legally established government or an occupying power and to disrupt civil order and stability (JP 1-02).
Resolute Support Mission. What ISAF will call the post-2014 mission in Afghanistan if Karzai will come to his senses and sign the Bilateral Support Agreement (BSA). Learn more about Resolute Support in Afghanistan.
Resolute Support Annotated Bibliography. 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
Resource Controls. Controls that regulate the movement of consumption of material resources, mobilize material resources, and deny material to the guerrilla.
Revolution. The overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed.
RF. Radio Frequency.
RF. Reaction Forces.
RFA. Restrictive Fire Area.
RFF. Request for Forces.
RFI. Request for Information.
RFIMS. Request for Information Management System. Most people ignore RFIMS and call you on the phone or use e-mail. (It is quicker!).
RFJ. Rewards for Justice.
RG-31. An armored vehicle used to run the roads in Afghanistan. Commonly used in the Route Clearance packages that clear IEDs.
RIAB. Radio in a Box. An inexpensive transmitter with a range of 15 klics. See RIAB.
Rice Bowl. A term used in reference to the ownership of someone's project, budget, department, or program. As in "Stay out of my rice bowl" or "He pissed in my rice bowl"!
"Ring of Steel". The "rings of steel" were very prominent in Kabul. ANA and ANP checkpoints have long been established to stop and check traffic looking for insurgents and suicide bombers. In the early days the 'rings of steel" were a joke and their primarily function was to collect bribes before allowing traffic through to the protected areas.
RIP. Relief in Place. Sometimes referred to as RIP/TOA.
RISTA. Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition.
RKT. As in 107mm rocket used by the insurgents to target coalition FOBs.
RLC. Regional Logistics Command (or center) for the Afghan National Police.
RLSC. Regional Logistics Supply Center; handles all things logistics for the Afghan National Army at the regional (corps) level. The RLSC used to come under the control of the Army Support Command (ASC) but now (as of August 2013) it reports to the corps (201st, 203rd, etc.).
RMC. Risk Management Companies. The RMCs now work in conjuction with the APPF.
RMH. Regional Military Hospital.
RMTC. Regional Military Training Center. An Afghan National Army training center usually colocated with or near ANA Corps. The RMTCs will soon be designated the Regional Corps Battle School or RCBS and fall under the ANA corps command.
ROAD. Relief Organization for Afghanistan Development.
Robosexual Soldier (RS). This unique phenomenon is when an EOD Soldier develops a fondness for his robot that turns almost . . . well, you can learn more about robosexual soldiers here.
ROC. Recruitment Operations Center.
ROD. Record of Decisions.
ROE. Rules of Engagement. Sometimes referred to as "Tactical Directives". In an effort to appease the Afghan government the Marines have now issued new Karzai approved rifle combat sights with engraved ROE to help Marines avoid CIVCAS incidents.
RoL. Rule of Law. The basis on which law enforcement and the judiciary operates within Afghanistan. Thus far, the establishment of Rule of Law in Afghanistan has been problematic.
Role 3. A medical facility.
ROM. Refuel on the Move. Drinking coffee while driving? Hitting the drive-through at MacDonald's?
RON. Remain Over Night - usually in a patrol base. Something that the ANA tries not to do very often.
Ronna. A legacy program of ISAF
that provided open-source information to the military, civilians, and NGOs
on Afghanistan. Unfortunately it was curtailed towards the end of the ISAF
mission. An attempt to revitalized Ronna in December 2015 will hopefully
yield success. It is an internet-based website for unclassified
information sharing between government and non-government organizations.
Ronna is hosted by the All Partners Access Network at the following link:
ROS. Reports of Survey.
ROZ. Restricted Operations Zone. Controlled air space over a geographic area for a temporary or permanent timeframe.
RP. Release Point.
RPA. Remotely Piloted Aircraft. See drones.
RPG. Rocket propelled grenade. As in "RPG-7".
RPK. A Soviet-bloc light machine gun.
RPRA. Reconstruction of Peace & Rehabilitation Association of Afghanistan.
RPTC. Regional Police Training Center.
RPV. Remotely Piloted Vehicle. Like a drone or UAV. Could also be a vehicle used to destroy IEDs alongside the road.
RRAD. Red River Army Depot.
RRS. Readiness Reporting System. The RSS is the operational readiness reporting tool utilized by the Ministry of Defense. This report is collected on a monthly basis from the Afghan National Army (ANA), Afghan Air Force (AAF), Commando division, and the Headquarters Support and Security Brigades (HSSB).
RS. Resolute Support. The NATO mission that replaced the ISAF mission beginning January 2015.
RSC. Regional Support Center. Provides logistics and supplies for the Afghan National Police at the regional level.
RSM. Resolute Support Mission.RSM is the replacement for ISAF.
RSMIC. Resolute Support Mission Information Campaign. Follow RSMIC on Twitter at #RSMIC.
RSMWG. RS Manpower Working Group.
RSO. Regional Security Office. Or Officer. If "Officer" then that is the guy that tells the State Department official where he/she can and cannot travel in a war zone.
RSOI. Reception, Staging, Onward-movement, and Integration.
RSTA. Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition.
RTB. Return to Base.
RTC. Regional Training Center. Where the police conduct training courses.
RTD. Return to Duty.
Rule of Law. Sometimes abbreviated to RoL; a process of establishing court, legal, and law enforcement systems within a post-conflict nation.
RUMINT. Gossip, a mix of good info and rumor. As in "I heard that the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders will visit brigade next week".
RW. Rotary Wing. As in helicopters.
RZ. Recovery 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.