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Afghan War News > Afghan War Glossary > A

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
click on the first letter of the word below.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M

N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


A2G. Air-to-Ground.

A4. General Allen. Former ISAF Commander. The "A" is for Allen and the "4" is for four stars.

AA. Anti-Aircraft.

AAA. Afghan Aid Association.

AAB. See Advise and Assist Brigade below.

AABIS. Afghan Automated Biometric Identification System.

AAC. See Advise and Assist Cell below.

AAC-SE. Advise and Assist Cell - Southeast.

AAC-SW. Advise and Assist Cell - Southwest.

AACA. Afghanistan Assistance Coordinating Authority.

AACP. Afghan Anti-Crime Police.

AAD. Advise and Assist Directorate. The Kabul-based Resolute Support ADD provides oversight and TAA to each of the regional Advise and Assist Cells (AACs); there are two AACs. The AAD conducts level three expeditionary advising to assist the ANDSF in regions without collocated coaltion partners to facilitate processes focused on key essential functions.

AAEA. Afghan Afgricultural and Engineering Agency.

AAEP. Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Program.

AAF. Afghan Air Force. A newly formed part of the ANSF; being provided lots of money for training and aircraft but not quite getting the job done. The AAF is under fire for not recruiting and training pilots and maintenance personnel.

AAF. Anti-Afghan Forces.

AAG. Afghan Assessment Group of ISAF HQs.

AAG. APPF Advisory Group of the MoI. See APPF.

AAH. Action Against Hunger.

AAIP. Allied Command Europe Accession and Integration Plan.

AAR. After Action Review. Submitted after an operation, exercise or event. Usually has observations, discussions and recommendations.

ABADE. Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enteprises.

ABC. Afghan Bureau for Consultancy.

Abdullah Abdullah. The main competitor of Hamid Karzai during the 2009 presidential elections. Abdullah forced a runoff between him and Karzai but then withdrew because of the corrupt process of the 2009 elections. It is general knowledge that Karzai stole the election through fraud and corruption. Abdullah ran for president against Ashraf Ghani in the April 2014 elections. The results were contested and both candidates agreed to share power with each within a construct called the National Unity Government.

ABF. The Afghan Border Force was formed in December 2017 under the Ministry of Defense (MoD). Personnel and equipment were transferred from the Ministry of Interior (MoI) Afghan Border Police (ABP) to help form the new organization.

ABP. Afghan Border Police. The ABP is responsible for protecting Afghanistan's borders. The ABP is part of the ANP and comes under the control of MoI. In December 2017 a portion of the ABP was moved to the Ministry of Defense (MoD) to become the newly formed Afghan Border Force (ABF).

AC. Afghan Civilian.

AC. Afghanistan Compact (aka London Compact).

A/C. Aircraft.

ACA. Accomodation Consignment Agreement.

ACA. Afghan Customs Authorities.

ACAG. Air Corps Advisory Group.

ACBAR. Agency Coordinating Body for Afghanistan Relief.

ACBL. Afghan Campaign to Ban Landmines.

ACC. Advise and Assist Cell. Two ACCs provide an advisory team to the 203rd and 215th ANA Corps. They conduct 'expeditionary advising' - visiting the corps hqs on a periodic basis.

ACCA. Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority.

ACCC. Air Command and Control Center.

ACC-RI. Army Contracting Command - Rock Island

ACDOT.  See ASI/ANSF Capability Development Objectives and Tasks below.

ACE. Agricultural Credit Enhancement.

Achakzai. A Pashtun tribe found in southern Afghanistan.

ACJC. Anti-Corruption Justice Center.

ACLU. Afghan Construction and Logistics Unit.

ACLU. American Civil Liberties Union; a miss-guided, somewhat controversial group of lawyers and advocates that seem to take the side of anyone opposed to the American way of life. Don't get sucked up into their world.

ACM. Anti-Coalition Militia.

ACO. Administrative Contracting Officer.

ACO. Afghan Customs Official; the guy you pay the bribe to so you can get your smuggled military supplies and weapons across the border. Actually, probably everyone pays a bribe to the ACO no matter what you are carrying across the border.

ACO. Allied Command Operations.

ACOP. Auto Component Overhaul Program. An ANA program to encourage periodic preventive maintenance.

ACOR. Alternate Contracting Officer's Representative.

ACORN. RCIED Jamming Device.

ACP. Afghan Customs Police.

ACP. Afghan Community Police.

ACSA. Acquisition Cross Servicing Agreement.

ACSOR. Afghan Center for Socio-Economic and Opinion Research.

ACSP. Afghanistan Country Stability Program.

ACT. Allied Command Transformation.

ACT. Advanced Combat Training (ANA term).

ACU. Army Combat Uniform.

ADA. Afghan Development Association.

ADA. Air Defense Artillery.

ADAB. ANSF Development Assistance Bureau.

A/DACG. Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group.

ADAPT. The Agriculture Development for Afghanistan Pre-Deployment Training or ADAPT prepared agricultural specialists for deployment to Afghanistan.

ADALAT. Assistance for the Development of Afghan Legal Access and Transparency. A program to improve citizen access to quality justice services by increasing the effectiveness and reach of the formal justice sector, strengthening linkages between the formal and traditional justice sectors, and increasing citizen demand for quality legal services.

ADB. Asia Development Bank.

ADF. Afgricultural Development Fund.

ADLP. Afghan Digital Legacy Project.

ADPP. The Afghan Democratic Policing Project or ADPP is designed to expand and complement existing programs to strengthen the capacity of women police.

ADRS. See Afghanistan Drug Reporting System below.

Advise. All activities concerning providing subject matter expertise, guidance, advice, and counsel to a foreign security force (FSF) while carrying out the missions assigned to the unit/organization. Advising will occur under combat or administrative conditions at tactical, operational, and strategic levels in support of individuals or groups.

Advise and Assist Brigade (AAB). These specially configured brigades deployed to Irag to train, advise, and assist Iraqi Army units during the later part of the Iraq War. A similar model would be adopted during the later part of the Afghan War when Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFABs) were deployed for the training and advising the ANA and ANP.

Advise and Assist Cell (AAC). This new organization, the Advise and Assist Cell, was established in the fall of 2014 to allow advisors based in Kabul to conduct "Expeditionary Advisory Package" or EAP advising. This is Level III advising where the AAC will conduct periodic visits to the corps to meet with the Afghan leadership and staff and measure progress and examine issues concerning sustainment. As of mid-2015 there were two AACs - AAC-Southeast and AAC-Southwest.

Advising Functional Areas.The Resolute Support Mission has developed a framework for organizing the Train, Advise, and Assist effort in Afghanistan. It has organized the effort into Advising Functional Areas.

Advisor. A subject matter expert (SME) who serves with ANSF to advise, assist, and counsel counterparts. Additionally, SMEs observe, evaluate, and report on the performance of their assigned units. While not liaison officers, they communicate with their ISAF superiors, functional SMEs, and ANSF counterparts to resolve problems and gain confidence. Advisor's primary purpose is to create professional relationships based on trust that will inspire and influence their counterparts to effective action.

ADZ. Afghan Development Zone.

AEA. Actual Expense Authorization.

AECA. Arms Export Control Act.

AECOM. AECOM International Development Inc. AECOM has a few contracts in Afghanistan to include participating as an implementing partner with USAID.

AED. Afghanistan Engineer District.

AED. Afghan Engineering Division.

Aerostat. A white 117-foot long surveillance balloon (dirigible) that floats (filled with helium) 1,500 feet above many of the COPs and FOBs throughout Afghanistan. The balloons have color and infrared video cameras. The balloons are tethered and can be raised and lowered for maintenance or bad weather. The webmaster is still checking on whether sniper teams are changed out during these weather or maintenance lulls  :< )

AETF. Afghan Emergency Trust Fund.

AF. Afghanistan.

AFAK. Individual Afghan First Aid Kit.

AFAMS. Armed Forces Academy of Medical Sciences.

AFB. Air Force Base.

AFDARM. Afghan Defense Acquisition and Resource Management.

AFDD. Air Force Doctrine Document.

AFG. Afghanistan.

AGCHO. Afghan Geodesy and Cartography Head Office. See

AGI. Air-Ground Integration.

AGO. Afghan General's Office.

Afghan 1000. Biometrics system fielded to the ANA.

"Afghan Face". A term used to try and show that the Afghan government, army, or police was responsible for an operation (whether military, humanitarian, etc.) to put the ANSF in a positive light in the view of the Afghan population. For instance, you pass coalition humanitarian supplies to a Afghan commander and he and his men distribute the supplies to a remote village as you watch from the next ridge line away.

"Afghan Good Enough". A lowering of expectations by advisors and mentors so that they don't feel dissappointed when an Afghan government official, Soldier, or policeman fails to perform a task up to standard. For instance; a kandak plans a complicated mission but instead of using the MDMP process they use TLPs. 1.

Afghan Local Police. See ALP below.

Afghan Saddle. Joint U.S. Special Forces and CIA teams inserted into Afghanistan in the fall of 2001 to link up with the fighters of the Northern Alliance. They found themselves on horseback riding in Afghan saddles. View a CIA webpage depicting this type saddle.

"Afghan Sustainable". A term that implies the Afghans will be able to continue an action, process, or task even after the coalition discontinues support and departs Afghanistan. For instance, the Afghans will likely be able to service, maintain, and repair the many Ford Ranger pickup trucks in the army but will likely not be able to do the same for the Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV) provided to the MSF kandaks.

Afghan High Peace Council. The High Peace Council works issues of reintegration and reconciliation with insurgent groups.

Afghan Information Dissemination Operations (AIDO). The Afghan Information Dissemination Operations course is a three-week program that teaches the principles of effective tactical and operational messaging.

Afghan Partner Unit (APU). A specially trained and equipped Afghan commando unit that worked with JSOC elements.

Afghan Security Institutions. Encompasses security organizations such as the MoI and MoD. Not sure why this acronym had to be invented as most don't know what it means and don't use it - but that is ISAF for you.

Afghan Tactical Air Coordinator (ATAC). An ANSF member on the ground accompanying Afghan ground forces who deconflicts issues with airspace ensuring that operators of air- and ground-based weapons systems are aware of air assets in the area and the location of ground units. Learn more about ATACs here.

Afghani. The currency of Afghanistan. NOT a person from Afghanistan; those folks are called "Afghans". For clarification see "What is the difference between an Afghan and Afghani".

Afghanistan Compact. After the 2005 Afghan elections the Afghanistan Compact outlined the goals for international assistance in economic and security assistance.

Afghanistan Drug Reporting System (ADRS). The ADRS was launched in June 2015 by the Ministry of Counternarcotics as an interactive online system for all counter-narcotics related data in the country. The new system is designed to by a key component in the coordination role in countering drug trafficking. The online tool compiles data from many different agencies and ministries and some international organizations. Read a UN News Centre press release on the ADRS.

Afghanistan Infrastructure and Security Cartography System. The AISCS is a web-based geospatial database intended to provide the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) a comprehensive and accurate picturre of infrastructure development in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell (ATFC). The ATFC began operations in 2009 to attack illicit financial networks by providing financial expertise and actionable intelligence to U.S. agencies. The AFTF seeks to identify and disrupt threat finance networks related to terrorism and the Afghan insurgency. The DEA leads the ATFC, with DoD acting as deputy.

AFI. Air Force Instruction.

AFIS. Automated Fingerprint Identification System.

AFMIS. Afghanistan Financial Management Information System.

AFP. Annual Funding Program.

AfPak. A term used to designate Afghanistan and Pakistan as a single theater of opertions. Read an explanation of the AfPak term in Wikipedia.

AfPak Hands Program.  This program was established to develop a pool of subject matter experts on Afghanistan. Although the services tried not to send their best personnel the AfPak Hands program will prove to be one of the better schemes of the Afghan War.

AFS. Afghanistan Food Security.

Afs. Afghanis (currency).

AFSA. Afghan Freedom Support Act.

AFSAT. Air Force Security Assistance Training.

AFSC. Air Force Specialty Code.

AFSOC. Air Force Special Operations Command.

AFTTP. Air Force Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

AGE. Anti-Government Elements. (insurgents, Taliban).

AGF. Afghan Guard Force. The Afghan Guard Force was a planned initiative of the CJSOTF-A in early 2004. It was met with resistance by some conventional commanders and members of the international community. Some elements of the AGF, a generic name for several similar units, survived as part of other entities. It is possible that some former AGF units are now being called Afghan Security Guards (ASG).

AGFC. Afghan Ground Forces Command.

AGGC. Army Global Command and Control System.

AGP. Afghanistan General Police.

AGO. Attorney General's Office. Where the corruption investigations end up in the infamous "file 13".

AGS. Afghan Geological Survey. A part of the Ministry of Mines; website accessed at the following link:

AGT. Afghanistan Green Trend. The leader of this Afghan political party is Amrullah Salah.

AH. Academie-e-Hawayee.

AH. Attack Helicopter.

AH-64. Attack Helicopter - Apache.

AHDS. Afghan Health and Development Services.

Ahmad Shah. He was the first Durrani ruler and is known by some as the founder of the Afghan nation. He united the Pastun tribes and his Durrani rule lasted until 1978.

AHP. Afghan Highway Police.

AHRIMS. Afghan Human Resource Information Management System. An automated personnel system for the ANA. In 2014 the Afghans (assisted by the Coalition) would roll out the AHRIMS 1.2 version for the MoI and MoD. Learn more about the Afghan Human Resources Information Management System.

AI. Area of Interest.

AIA. Afghan Interim Administration. The Afghan Interim Administration was the first administration for the country after the fall of the Taliban regime. It operated from December 2001 until July 2002.

AIA. Afghan Interim Authority. See AIA above.

AIAT. Army Institutional Advisory Team.

AIHRC. Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

AIDO. Afghanistan Information Dissemination Operations (Afghan MISO).

AIF. Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund.

AIG. Afgahn Interim Government.

AIHRC. Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Aimak. This ethnic group comprises about 4% of the Afghan population.

AIOG. Afghan Interagency Operating Group.

AISCS. See Afghanistan Infrastructure and Security Cartography System above.

AISS. Afghan Integrated Support Services. AISS is in a joint venture with AECOM to provide maintenance and repairs to the ANP vehicle fleet.

AIT. Advanced Individual Training.

AITF. Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund.

AIU. A contractor Air Interdiction Unit.

AJOA. Afghanistan Joint Operations Area.

AJP. Allied Joint Publication.

AK. Avtomat Kalashnikova (Soviet assualt rifle).

AKA. Also Known As.

AKO. Army Knowlege Online. One of the slowest, hardest to navigate, confusing web portals every created.

A/L. Administrative / Logistics

Al Qaeda. The group responsible for 9/11. Al Qaeda and Osam Bin Laden are the reasons the U.S. invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Our stated aim was to dismantle Al Qaeda and ensure that Afghanistan would never offer sanctuary to terrorist groups. We are leaving so we must have accomplished our objectives! Those troublesome al Qaeda leaders that we have been targeting in the two northeastern provinces of Afghanistan (Kunar and Nuristan) for the past several years must have moved on.

Alizai. A Pashtun tribe found in southern Afghanistan.

All Partners Access Network (APAN). The All Partners Access Network is an unclassified, non-dot-mil network providing interoperability and connectivity among partners over a common platform. APAN fosters information exchange and collaboration between the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and any external country, organization, agency or individual that does not have ready access to traditional DoD systems and networks.

ALO. Air Liaison Officer.

ALO. Authorized Level of Organization.

ALP. Afghan Local Police. A component of the Ministry of Interior that had constant nurturing from U.S. Special Operations Forces from 2011 to 2014. ALP was a big component of VSO; until the U.S. conducted their drawdown of SOF forces. Since then, the ALP has come under the direction of the Ministry of Interior; operating in approximately 150 districts.

ALSA. Air Land Sea Application Center.

ALTA. Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Agency.

AMDEP. Afghanistan Media Development and Empowerment Project.

AMF. Afghan Military Forces. A term used to describe any Afghan forces in the early part of the Afghan war. At the very beginning it mean't Afghan Militia Forces (working primarily with Special Forces).

Amir. A prince or commander.

AMN. Afghanistan Mission Network.

AMoF. Afghanistan Ministry of Finance.

AMPSIM. Afghan Medical Skills Improvement Program.

AMPW. Afghan Ministry of Public Works.

AMS. Automotive Management Services. AMS has the contract for repair and maintenance of MoI vehicles. The contract will end on December 2014 and the ANP vehicles will likely grind to a halt.

Amu Darya Oil Field. The Chinese firm, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) International, is partnered with an Afghan firm, Watan Oil and Gas, for the production of oil in the Amu Darya basin in north Afghanistan. The venture is plagued with problems running from a lack of an agreement with Uzbekistan on refining the oil to the men of Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostrum attacking employees until "arrangements" most likely involving monetary exchanges occurred.

ANA. Afghan National Army. See ANA. See also the MoD webpage at the following link:

ANAAC. Afghan National Army Air Corps. Now transitioned to the Afghan Air Force.

ANAP. Afghan National Auxiliary Police. The ANAP was formed in 2006 but quickly went away due to poor implementation by the Ministry of Interior.

ANAREC. Afghan National Army Recruiting Command.

ANA-O. Doctrine Development System Manual.

ANAOA. Afghan National Army Officer Academy.

ANASF. Afghan National Army Special Forces. The ANASF are trained at Camp Moorehead and advised and assisted by the CJSOTF-A.

ANASMA. Afghan National Army Sergeants Major Academy.

ANA-SOAG. Afghan National Army Special Operations Advisory Group. Hqs at Camp Moorehead.

ANASOC. Afghan National Army Special Operations Command. A three-star level command with Special Operations Brigades (SOBs), Special Operations Kandaks (SOKs), and several specialty units (as of January 2014). Learn more about ANASOC.

ANASOF. Afghan National Army Special Operations Forces.

ANATEC. Afghan National Army Training and Education Command.

ANATED-C. Afghan National Army Training, Education & Doctrine Command.

ANBD. Afghan New Beginnings Program.

ANBP. Afghan National Border Police; more commonly referred to as Afghan Border Police or ABP.

ANCOF. The Afghan National Civil Order Force or ANCOF was established in March 2018 when the majority of the MoI's ANCOP was transferred to the MoD.

ANCOP. Afghan National Civil Order Police or ANCOP was established to provide a rapid response force to handle civil disorders. It fell under command of the Ministry of Interior. In March 2018 the majority of ANCOP was transferred to the Ministry of Defense and formed into the Afghan National Civil Order Force.

Anderson. LTG Joseph Anderson assumed command of the ISAF Joint Command (IJC), a three-star billet, in February 2014. Read his ISAF bio here.

ANDF. Afghan National Detention Facility. ANDF-P is located in Parwan (next to Bagram Air Field).

ANDS. Afghanistan National Development Strategy.

ANDSF. Afghan National Defense and Security Forces. This acronym is preferred by the Afghans over the ANSF acronym.

ANDU. Afghan National Defense University.

ANFO. Ammonium Nitrate/Fuel Oil.

ANG. Afghan National Guard; they collect a payroll but has anyone ever seen someone in the ANG?

ANP. The Afghan National Police come under the control of the Ministry of Interior and are comprised of the Afghan Uniformed Police (AUP), Afghan Anti-Crime Police, Public Security Police, Afghan Border Police, General Command of Police Special Units, Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan, and other police entities.

ANPA. Afghan National Police Academy.

ANPH. Afghan National Police Hospital.

ANPR. Afghanistan National Peace and Reconciliation Strategy.

ANPS. Afghan National Policing Strategy. Learn more about the ANPS on the Afghan Ministry of Interior website here:

ANPREC. Afghan National Police Recruiting Command.

ANPTGC. ANP Training General Command.

ANQAR. Afghanistan Nationwide Quarterly Assessment Research.

ANRP. Afghanistan National Rail Plan.

ANSF. Afghan National Security Forces. The ANA, ANP, and NDS. A more recent acronym is ANDSF (see above).

ANSO. Afghanistan Nongovernmental Organization Safety Office. Monitors security events and conditions for NGOs.

ANATF. ANA Territorial Force.

ANTS. Afghan National Tracking System.

Anti-Corruption Coordination Group. A group established by the U.S. Embassy to provide strategic direction for the anti-corruption effort in Afghanistan. This attempt will also be marginalized by political sensitivities and a failure to confront Karzai.

Anti-Taliban Movement. There have been an isolated number of anti-Taliban movements or local uprisings against the Taliban. Some are supported by ISAF and/or the government of Afghanistan while others have withered away due to lack of support.

ANUP. Afghan National Uniform Police; more commonly called Afghan Uniform Police or AUP.

AO. Abandoned Ordnance.

AO. Area of Operations.

AOB. Advance Operating Base. Where company-sized Special Forces units are based; usually supporting 2-6 SFODAs.

AOC. Area of Concentration.

AOC. See Area of Operations Commander below.

AOG. Armed Opposition Group. A acronym and term used by the US. State Department and other organizations.

AOI. Area of Influence.

AOR. Area of Responsibility.

AOSC. See Area of Operations Support Commander below.

AP. Anti-Personnel.

AP3. See APPP below.

AP-A. Atmospherics Program - Afghanistan.

APAN. See All Partners Access Network above.

APC. Armored Personnel Carrier.

APD. Afghanistan Petroleum Directorate.

APFM. Afghanistan Public Financial Management program.

APM. Anti-Personnel Mine.

APO. Army Post Office.

APPF. The Afghan Public Protection Force (AP3) was (or is) a for-profit Afghan government enterprise under the control of the Ministry of Interior established to replace the Private Security Companies or PSCs. In many ways APPF stands for 'government corruption' at its finest. In early 2014 Karzai (for no apparent reason) decided to abolish the APPF and merge its personnel, equipment and functions into the ANP. The merger was haphazard at best with no plan or direction causing disruption in the movement of supplies to ANSF and ISAF units at a critical time (the period prior to Runoff Elections and the start of the fighting season). The status of the APPF is up in the air as of early 2015.

APPP. The Afghan Public Protection Program; sometimes referred to as AP3. This started out as a CJSOTF-A led endeavor to establish local security at the village level but after transferring APPP to conventional units the program transitioned to placement of security checkpoints along Highway One in eastern Afghanistan.

APPS. The Afghan Personnel and Pay System is an automated and streamlined electronic pay system that connects to AHRIMS and enhances accountability.

APRP. The Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Program. See High Peace Council, reintegration, and peace talks. The APRP has had marginal success thus far and most observers would classify it as a failed process. The FRIC was usually headed up by a two-star British officer who usually spent a frustrating year trying to get the Afghans to make APRP actually work to reintegrate insurgents.

APTA. Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Agreement. An extension fo the 1965 transit agreement solidified in 2011 but undermined. Yet again renegotiated in 2013 but stymied because of non-implementation by Pakistan.

APU. See Afghan Partner Unit above.

AQ. Al Qa'eda.

AQAM. Al Qa'eda and Associated Members (or Movements).

AQAP. Al Qa'eda Arabian Peninsular.

AQIS. An acronym for al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. The group's formation was announced in 2014 by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and is believed to be based in Pakistan and focused on India, Pakistan and other nations in southern Asia.

AQSL. Al-Qaida Senior Leadership.

AR 8200 Scanner. Communications scanner fielded to the Afghan National Army.

AR2VP. ASFF Requirement and Resources Validation Process. An ISAF process to procure funding for ANSF equipment or personnel based on capability gaps. ASFF stands for Afghan Security Forces Fund (see "ASFF" below).

ARA. Afghan Rail Authority, part of the Ministry of Public Works.

ARAT. ISAF's Advisory Rail Assessment Team is composed of experienced railway managers from the United States that is currently drafting the Afghan Rail Plan.

Arbakai. A village or tribe-based group of armed individuals organized to provide protection. The group is usually community-based and vetted by elders. Parts of Afghanistan have historically formed arbakai due to the constant nature of conflict and lack of a strong central government that can project force into remote areas away from Kabul. Sometimes European-based human rights organizations wrongly confuse "arbakai" with "Afghan Local Police"; thinking the two organizations are the same. This confusion erodes the support for an important counterinsurgency tool (ALP) available to the Afghan government and security forces.

ARC. Afghan Relief Committee.

Archer. This master spy, Sterling Archer, is a fictional character in an adult cartoon series who works for the International Secret Intelligence Service. There is speculation that he resembles a man who has worked in Afghanistan for several years who has been known as "Dr. Ghazni" and "Mr. Bagram". Same character flaws. Reportedly, the Afghan character (who might be real) was the role model for the Stature of Freedom doll that provides a graphical demonstration of proper Afghan contractor gear and attire.

ARCS. Afghan Red Crescent Society.

ARDS. Afghan Reconstruction and Development Service.

ARDU. Afghan Reconstruction and Development Unit.

Area of Operations Commander. The old term was Battle Space Owner (which probably sounded too warlike for a conflict in which we have supposedly "won"). As of mid-summer 2013 the Afghans are supposed to be "in the lead"; so this would probably make the Afghan brigade commanders the "Area of Operations Commander".

Area of Operations Support Commander. If the Afghans are in the lead - and therefore the "Area of Operations Commander"; then what do you call the U.S. brigade commander? The AOSC, of course. The AOSC is the ISAF commander who operates within ANSF boundaries, provides "Train, Advise, and Assist" activities to the ANSF, and conducts unilateral ISAF operations when necessary. A former term that meant the same as AOSC was Battle Space Integrator (BSI); however BSI died a quick death - probably because it had the word "battle" in it.

AREU. Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit. A small, lightly-resourced non-profit international organization based in Afghanistan with more knowledge of what is going on in Afghanistan than the entire ISAF staff of thousands.

ARF. Aerial Reaction Force.

ARF. Afghanistan Rebuilding / Relief Foundation.

ARG. Afghanistan Reconstruction Group.

Arg. Presidential Palace in Kabul.

ARGUS. Autonomous Real-time Groud Ubiquitous Surveillance. An imaging system.

ARI. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

ARLO. Afghan Rehabilitation and Logistical Organization.

ARMS. Aerial Reconnaissance Multi-Sensor System.

ARP. Afghan Read Program.

AROC. Afghan Resouces Oversight Council.

ARTF. Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund.

ASCG. Afghan Security Coordination Group.

ASCOPE. Areas, Structures, Capabilities, Organizations, People, and Events. Something that commanders, Civil Affairs, Intel weanies, and others should know about when in a COIN environment; but sometimes don't.

ASF. Afghan Security Forces.

ASFF. Afghan Security Forces Fund. See "AR2VP" above.

ASG. Afghan Security Guard.

ASI. See Afghan Security Institutions above.

ASI. Afghanistan Stabilization Initiative.

ASI/ANSF Capability Development Objectives and Tasks (ACDOT). A combination of SFA task lists to include ISAF's 13 Critical Tasks and 11 Developmental Priority Objectives, IJC's SFA Top Ten, and the ISAF CJ5's 150 Capability Development Deficiencies. The ACDOT was organized by pillars, objectives, and then by task. The ACDOT, established in January 2014, died a quick death somewhere around early Spring when IJC planners decided they (with just a few months in country and a three-star commander with no previous Afghan tour) had a better idea. ACDOT was replaced  by something called the 8 Essential Functions or 8 EFs. Can you spell "staff churn"? In early Spring 2014 the abrupt dissappearence of ACDOT and emergence of the 8 EFs caused immense confusion in the regional commands. Essentially, nothing on the battlefield had changed. The advisors located at corps level and below have long ago recognized the ANSF challenges and capabilty gaps at their level and know what needs to be fixed; nothing has really changed. The change from ACDOT to 8 EFs is just 'old wine in a new bottle' -  with a smudged label difficult to read. 2.

ASL. Authorized Stockage List.

ASNF. Afghan Special Narcotics Force.

ASOP. Afghan Social Outreach Program.

ASP. Afghan Standby Police.

ASP. Afghanistan Stabilization Program.

ASP. Ammunition Supply Point. Where they keep the bullets and hand grenades before they issue it to you.

A/SPOD. Aerial / Sea Ports of Debarkation

ASSESSREP. A short way to spell Assessment Report; you can use the acronym to write nine letters instead of sixteen letters and also experience the joy of forcing someone to use this glossary so they can find out what you mean.

ASSF. Afghan Special Security Forces. See ANASOC and GCPSU.

Assist. Providing the required supporting or sustaining capabilities to the ANSF so they can meet objectives and reach the desired end-state.

Assistance Platform. Selected locations on GIRoA bases used by Coaltion units that can accomodate advisor teams for temporary periods of time, i.e., temporary bases for specific missions.

AST. Ammunition Survey Team.

AST. Area Specialist Team.

Asymmetric Warfare. Conflict in which a weaker opponent uses unorthodox or surprise tactics to attack weak points of a stronger opponent, especially if the tactics include terrorism, guerrilla warfare, criminal activity, subversion, or propaganda. (FM 3-24.2, 21 April 2009).

AT. Anti-Tank.

AT. Advisor Team. Over the past several years there have been several types of advisor teams include OMLETs, POMLETs, ETTs, MATs, PATs, OCC-ATs, SFATs, and SFAATs.

ATA. Afghan Transnational Authority / Administration.

ATA. Afghan Territorial Army. An ALP-like militia or local defense organization, but under the control of the MoD.

ATAC. See Afghan Tactical Air Coordinator above.

ATC. Advisor Training Cell.

ATC. Afghan Technical Consultants.

ATC. Anti-Terror Coalition.

A-TEMP. Afghanistan Technical Equipment Maintenance Program.

ATF. Afghan Territorial Force. ATF 444 is one of three elite national mission units of the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

ATFC. See Afghanistan Threat Finance Cell above.

AT/FP. Anti-Terrorism / Force Protection.

ATG. Advisor Training Group.

ATG. Afghan Transitional Government. Something that existed in the early 2000s.

ATI. Afghanistan Transition Initiative.

ATIT. ANDSF Training & Intregration Team.

AT&L. Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics.

ATM. See Anti-Taliban Movement above.

ATM. Anti-Tank Mine.

ATN. Army Training Network.

ATP. Annual Training Plan.

ATRA. Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Agency.

ATRAT. Army Training and Readiness Assessment Tool.

ATT. At This Time.

Attack The Network. An intelligence targeting process utilizing sophisticated software such as Palantir and specially trained intelligence analysts. See Attack the Network.

ATV. All Terrain Vehicle.

ATWG. Advisor Training Working Group.

AUAF. American University of Afghanistan.

AUP. Afghan Uniform Police; a component of the Afghan National Police.

Autonomous Unit. Any ANSF unit without an assigned CF unit providing partnering or advising assistance. An autonmous unit should not be mistaken as a unit assessed as "independent without advisors" or capable of Phase IV transition in accordance with the IJC OPS/TAC directive.

Auxiliary. In unconventional warfare, that element of the resistance force established to provide the organized civilian support of the resistance movement (AR 310-25).

Avenue of Approach. An air or ground route of an attacking force of a given size leading to its objective or to key terrain in its path (JP 1-02).

AV. Armored Vehicle.

AVB/SPARC. AviaBaltika Aviation Ltd / Saint Petersburg Aircraft Repair Company. A firm doing overhaul work on Mi-17s that are deployed to Afghanistan

AvTEG. The air component of JSOC.

AWDA. Afghan Women Development Association.

AWDP. Afghanistan Workforce Development Plan.

AWN. Afghan Women's Network.

AWO. Afghan Welfare Organization.

AWOL. Absent With Out Leave.

AWT. Air Weapons Team. An infantrymans's best friend when the bullets are flying.


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1. Read a news article here that describes the lowering of performance expectations in "Afghan Good Enough May Be the Best We Can Hope for in Afghanistan", The Daily Beast, September 16, 2013.

2. For more on ACDOT read an article entitled "Creating Unit of Effort in Functionally Based SFA", SFActs, formerly COIN Common Sense, Volume 5, Issue 1, March 2014, pages 21-22 by Ellen Jackman of the COMISAF Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT).


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.

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