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Afghan War News > Afghan War Glossary > I

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.

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I2. See Identity Intelligence below.

IA. Interim Agreement.

IAG. Illegally Armed Group.

IARCSC. Independent Adminstrative Reform and Civil Service Commission.

IAT. Incident Assessment Team.

IAW. In accordance with.

IBA. That heavy stuff that you wear when you leave the FOB.

IBS. Infantry Branch School.

IC. Intelligence Community. Assorted organizations like the CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.

IC. International Community. The countries and people (primarily from Western Europe, Australia, Japan, Canada, and the United States) who have given the Afghan government billions of aid dollars (much of which is now in Dubai banks).

ICC. International Civilian Consultant.

ICCTF.  See International Contract Corruption Task Force below.

ICG. International Crisis Group.

ICITAP. International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program, part of the Department of Justice, established in 1986. ICITAP provides assistance in a broad range of law enforcement subject areas to include organizational development, criminal investigations, transnational crime, forensics, corrections, community policing and more.

ICOM. A type of radio commonly used by U.S., Afghan forces and insurgents.

ICP. Illegal Checkpoint.

ICRC. International Committee of the Red Cross.

ICT. Information Communication Technology.

ID. Identification; or the process of identifying in someone.

IDAD. See Internal Defense and Development below.

IDB. Islamic Development Bank.

IDC. Identification Card.

IDEA-NEW. Incentives Driving Economic Alternatives - North, East, and West.

Identity Intelligence. A fairly new intelligence construct referring to the analysis and use of personal information (biometrics, forensics, etc.) to identify intelligence targets of interest.  JP 2-0, Joint Intelligence, October 2013 says that identity intelligence is used "to discover the existence of unknown potential threat actors by connecting individuals to other persons, places, events, or materials, analyzing patterns of life, and characterizing their level of potential threats to US interests". Information on Identity Intelligence can also be found in JP 3-05, Special Operations, July 2014.

IDF. Indirect fire. Usually a rocket, mortar, or artillery attack. Bagram Air Field and FOB Shank have a high incident rate of IDF despite having thousands of military personnel on the base. Hmmmmm.

IDLG. Independent Directorate of Local Governance.

IDLO. International Development Law Organization.

IDP. Internally Displaced Person.

IEC. Independent Election Commission (Afghan). See Afghan elections. This body was dissolved by the Taliban in December 2021.

IED.  See Improvised explosive device below.

IEDD. IED Defeat.

IFV. Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

IG. Inspector General.

IGO. Intergovernmental organization.

IGTAO. Inspector General / Transparency, Accountability, and Oversight. There is an acronym that will bring a chuckle to your eye. Evidently the IGTAO folks see to it that the Afghan's spend the money we give them appropriately (with no corruption). See for more on how good these guys do their job.

IHSAN. Initiative for Hygiene, Sanitation, and Nutrition.

IJC. See ISAF Joint Command below.

IJIC. The Integrated Joint Coordination Council was established to afford multiple organizations the ability to participate in the budget development process. This includes representatives from Afghanistan's government, Resolute Support Headquarters, and the international donor community. As a joint committee the IJCC provides a platform for coalition members and donor countries to work together through a transparent process to address and adjust any issues with the Afghan Security Institution's budgets.

IIA. Inform and Influence Activities.

IID. Intelligence Investigation Directorate.

IIR. Intelligence Information Report.

IIU. Intelligence and Investigation Unit.

Illum. Illumination round fired from a mortar or artillery piece to provide light at night.

ILLWG. ISAF Lessons Learned Working Group.

IMDC. Isolated, Missing, Detained, or Captured.

IMET. International Military Education and Training. A training program for the Afghan military. Unfortunately the Afghan selection process for who gets to go abroad for these highly competitive schools have less to do with English literacy and competence and more about what political patronage net you belong to. The fill rate for the IMET courses is dismal - somewhere around 50% and the students that fill the slots are wanting in many respects. The Afghans have managed to screw up a program with lots of promise - and the U.S. (and other Coalition members) has managed to, with their "hands off attitude", allowed the Afghans to screw it up. The process for a student application requires in excess of 20 signatures from different offices (many of these in Kabul that require a bribe). Even getting a VISA from the U.S. Embassy is a time-consuming, bureaucratic event.

IMF. International Monetary Fund.

IMO. Information Management Officer.

Improvised Explosive Device (IED). An explosive device made from various parts; a favorite weapon of terrorists and insurgents. It is the signature weapon for Afghanistan (and also Iraq). IEDs vary in size from small foot-poppers to large truck bombs that can level a city square. 50% of ANSF and coalition casualties in recent years in the Afghan War have been as a result of insurgent use of Improvised Explosive Devices.

IMSMA. Information Management System for Mine Action.

IMT. Individual Movement Techniques - small infantry tactics.

IMU. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.

INCLE. International Narcotics Control and Law Enforcement (U.S.).

Indigenous. Existing, born, or produced in a local region. Synonym: Native.

INFIL. Meaning infiltration of troops or forces into an area of operations.

Information Operations. IO is now called IIA or Inform and Influence Activities. Old timers referred to it as Psychological Operations or PSYOP.

Information Warfare. Information Operations conducted during time of crisis or conflict to achieve or promote specific objectives over a specific adversary or adversaries (JP 1-02).

INL. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (U.S. State Department).

Inside the Wire. Means you are relatively safe because you are on a secured compound (except for IDF and Insider Threats).

Insider Threat. The threat posed by 'green-on-blue' attacks. For example, an ANA or ANP member turning his weapon on a member of ISAF. For more information on this topic see Insider Threat, Insider Threat News, Insider Threat References, and the Insider Threat Handguide 2.0.

INS. Insurgents. For a while (2012?) we actually were not supposed to use the word 'insurgents' anymore. We called the bad guys 'Enemies of Afghanistan' or EOA. How stupid is that? I think we are back to INS again.

INSO. See International NGO Safety Organisation below.

INSSA. See International NGO Safety & Security Association below.

Interim Security Critical Infrastructure. ISCI was a temporary Afghan security force hired by Marines in southwest Afghanistan. Learn more about ISCI.

Internal Defense and Development. Abbreviated to IDAD. The full range of measures taken by a nation to promote its growth and to protect itself from subversion, lawlessness, and insurgency. it focuses on building viable institutions (political, economic, social, and military) that respond to the needs of society.  Note: Something the United States did not do very well in Vietnam; and is trying to do in Afghanistan but failing. (JP 1-02)

International Contract Corruption Task Force (ICCTF). A special interagency body created in 2006 to deal with the immense crime problem of bribes, kickbacks, and theft among U.S. civilian and military contracting officials and contractors working on contingency operations. ICCTF's affiliated agents operate in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Pakistan, and Haiti. The ICCTF's members include the FBI, SIGAR, DCIS, MPFU, NCIS, and the IG offices of State and USAID.

International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO). The INSO is dedicated to supporting the safety of humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan.

International NGO Safety & Security Association (INSSA). The INSSA is a non-profit global membership association of individuals, supported by organizations, committed to improving the quality and effectiveness of safety and security for humanitarian relief and development assistantce workers operating in complex and dangerous environments around the world.

INS. Insurgents. The government of Afghanistan (and now ISAF) calls them "Enemies of Afghanistan". They are still insurgents; . . .  just saying.

Insurgency. An organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through the use of subversion and armed conflict (JP 1-02).

INTSUM. Intelligence Summary.

IO. Information Operations; now called Inform and Influence Activities. Something the Taliban always seem to do quicker and better. Currently ISAFs big IO message is that the ANSF are in the lead, they beat the Taliban this fighting season (2013), and the ANSF is emerging from this fighting season confident that they can protect the Afghan population. Ummmm . . . . . . sure. The Afghan government has control of the media to include print, radio, and TV. Ninty percent of the Afghan population do not watch TV or read newspapers. The Taliban control much of the countryside, enjoy support in the mosques, and deliver night letters. So, . . . show is winning the IO fight? The answer is Karzai; with his successful verbal assaults against the U.S and ISAF.

IOC. Initial Operational / Operating Capability.

IOM. International Organization for Migration.

IOP. Interoperability Profile.

IOT. In Order To. Some people say "in order to" because "to" is too hard to say.

IP. Implementing Partner. Many international funded programs were implemented on the ground by various aid, government, and non-governmental organizations. For instance, USAID would use 'implementing partners' to develop and conduct their aid programs in Afghanistan.

IP. Internet Protocol.

IPACS. Initiative to Promote Afghan Civil Society.

IPB. Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. The systematic, continuous process of analyzing the threat and environment in a specific geographic area. IPB is designed to support the running estimate and military decision-making processes. Most intelligence requirements are generated as a result of the IPB process and its interrelation with the decision-making process (FM 34-130).

IPC. Initial Planning Conference.

IPCAG. Interagency Police Coordination Action Group.

IPCB. International Police Coordination Board.

IPL. Intelligence Priority List.

IRD. International Relief and Development, Inc.

IPE. Individual Protection Equipment.

IPOE. Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment.

IPR. In Progress Review.

IPTC. Initial Police Training Course.

IPTF. International Police Task Force.

IR. Incident Report.

IR. Information Requirement.

IR. Infrared.

IR. Iran.

IRC. International Red Cross.

IRNA. Islamic Republic News Agency.

IRoA. Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Irregular Forces. Armed individuals or groups who are not members of the regular armed forces, police, or other internal security forces (FM 3-07). See Training Circular 7-100.3 Irregular Opposing Forces, January 2014.

Irregular Warfare. A broad form of conflicts in which insurgency, counterinsurgency, and unconventional warfare are the principle activities (FM 3-0). Components of IW include Foreign Internal Defense (FID), Counter Terrorism (CT), Counterinsurgency (COIN), and Unconventional Warfare (UW). The definition of IW is confused by different doctrinal pubs providing varying definitions. (See also JP 1-02)

ISAF. International Security Assistance Force. ISAF was created in 2001 by the Bonn Agreement and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1386. ISAF was initially limited to Kabul. NATO and ISAF assumed lead responsibility for security in all of Afghanistan during 2005-2006. Visit the ISAF website at

At one time ISAF was composed of about 42 different nations each with their own set of 'national caveats'. To imagine how this C2 arrangement works bear in mind the old joke about heaven and hell - where in heaven the police are British, the cooks are French; and in hell the . . . well, read the joke here - heaven and hell - for an appreciation of how well the ISAF C2 arrangement worked.

The ISAF mission ended in December 2014 and was replaced by the NATO Resolute Support mission.

ISAF Joint Command. Sometimes called IJC. The three-star command to which the regional commands report to. Located on KAIA until 2013; rumored to move to BAF soon. Learn more about IJC at ISAF Joint Command.

Isakhel. Isakhel establishes the penalties for kidnapping of women, property damage, theft, murder, assault, and other crimes.

ISCI. See Interim Security Critical Infrastructure definition above.

ISE. Intelligence Support Element.

ISI. Interservice Intelligence Agency of Pakistan. Provides intelligence, logistics, supplies, money, and sometimes direction to the insurgents. The aim is to prolong instability in Afghanistan so that Pakistan only has to worry about India; keeping its rear protected.

ISIL. Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Most media refer to ISIL as either ISIS or the Islamic State.

IS-KP. The Islamic State - Khorasan Province has moved into Afghanistan and emerged as an operationally active force in 2015. It has established footholds in eastern Afghanistan in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.

ISIS. Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

ISIS-K. See IS-KP above.

ISLA. Initiative to Strengthen Local Administrations Program.

Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. The IMU has been fighting alongside Al Qaeda and the Taliban for a number of years. The IMU is based out of Pakistan.

ISO. In support of.

ISOPREP. Isolated Personnel Report.

ISR. Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. Some people think it means only air assets such as drones; but they are wrong.

ISR CIC. Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Capabilities Integration Cell. A part of the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A), this organization works with the Ministries of Defense and Interior to determine ISR requirements, and trains, advises and assists the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces on implementation and sustainment of the equipment and technology.

ISRA. Islamic Relief Agency.

Istanbul Process. The Istanbul Ministerial Process, sometimes referred to a the "Heart of Asia", is an Afghan-led regional cooperative endeavor to assist Afghanistan in reconstruction and security. Learn more about the Istanbul Process.

ISTAR. Intelligence, Surveillance, Target, Acquisition, and Reconnaissance.

ISU. Investigative Surveillance Unit.

IT2. Insider Threat Training.

IT. Information Technology.

IT. See Insider Threat.

ITAR. International Traffic in Arms Regulation.

ITAT. Infrastructure Training Advisory Team.  This is a divisional level team that provides advice and mentoring to ANSF in facilities maintenance and construction. Read a news story on the ITAT here by DVIDS.

ITC. The Afghan Intelligence Training Center.

ITGA. Islamic Transitional Government of Afghanistan.

ITPM. Insider Threat Prevention Model. See the ISAF SFA Guide 2.0 for more on ITPM.

ITT. In Theatre Training.

ITTF. Integrated Tactical Training Facility.

IUC. International Ulema Council/

IVO. In vicinity of.

IW. See Irregular Warfare above.

IWA. Integrity Watch Afghanistan.

IWPR. Institute for War and Peace Reporting.


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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 All external sites open up in an new window. 


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