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Afghan War News > Afghan War Glossary > L

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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Lakeshore. A U.S. contracting firm doing business in Afghanistan.

LAN. Local Area Network. (computers all lined together).

Lapis Lazuli. Royal blue lapis lazuli is a semiprecious gemstone found in the rugged Kokcha Valley of northern Afghanistan. The stone is used for jewelry and pigment for ultramarine paints. Criminals and the Taliban smuggle out the gem to other countries for money. See a picture of the gem on the CIA's website.

LAS. See Light Air Support aircraft below.

Lashkar. An armed force comprised of men from a village or group of villages formed in pursuit of a common interest. Sometimes lashkars are also called militias.

"Last Gasp". Words used by Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense, to characterize the spike in insider attacks against coaltion forces. An unfortunate use of words and indicative of many senior military and defense officials who hold the incorrect mentality that the Taliban have been beaten. Other key phrases that rhyme with "last gasp" include "final thoes" and "acts of desparation". These phrases are usually used to characterize unique and successful Taliban methods of hitting the coalition. Why the PAOs of the world continue to use these phrases is beyond comprehension.

Law and Order Trust Fund Afghanistan (LOTFA). The LOTFA is a mechanism established in 2002 by the UNDP to enable the international community to mobilize resources to strengthen the country's law enforcement. Funds are used to pay police officers' and Central Prison Department guards' salaries through direct electronic transfer systems, build infrastructure such as police check points, and support the professionalization of police officers.

LBG. Louis Berger Group.

LCH. Local Civilian Hire.

LDESP. See Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace below.

LDF. Local Defense Force. Host Nation (Afghan) personnel armed and organized at the local level to provide protection to a village, tribe, community, organization, or warlord.

LDI. Local Defense Initiative. A CJSOTF-A program to develop community level self-defense forces in rural and remote areas of Afghanistan. See Local Defense Initiative.

LEA. Law Enforcement Advisor.

LEA. Law Enforcement Agency.

LEP. Law Enforcement Professional. A civilian police officer or LEP that provides the expertise to ensure that evidence-based operations are conducted so that warrants can be issued and evidence collected that results in insurgents being properly targeted and prosecuted.

Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program. The Leader Development & Education for Sustained Peace Program found at was established in 2001. This program provides education for military and civilian leaders to establish a regional, geopolitical, and cultural framework for understanding the challenges of conducting full spectrum operations in unique and rapidly changing environments. The program has distance learning courses and seminars to cultivate skills and promote whole-of-government approaches to achieve unity of effort in countries and regions around the world.

LES. Law Enforcement Sensitive.

LES. Leave and Earnings Statement.

Lethal Miniature Air Munition System (LMAMS). A hand-launched drone that can lock onto a target and pursue relentlessly until a deadly conclusion results. One such drone is the Switchblade. Another test model is the Terminator - read more here.

Level One Advising. This refers to when Coalition units train, advise, and assist ANSF unit(s) on a continous, persistent basis from either an embedded footprint (hardly ever done) or in close proximity (adjacent ISAF/ANSF compounds/bases). Level I advising is seen as the most desirable approach and provides the best conditions for ANSF development.

Level Two Advising. Something that does not work very well. MATs, PATs (SFAATs and SFATs) are advisor teams in Afghanistan attempting to advise "from afar" on a less frequent basis to ensure their continued development. The frequency of the interaction varies based on the proximity to and capability of their Afghan counterpart, the threat level of the advisors, and coalition resources.

Read more about the pitfalls and folly of Level Two Advising. Level Two advising does work in some limited circumstances; for instance, when visiting a lower echelon unit with a principal ANSF staff officer who is conducting a Staff Assistance Visit (SAV) or with the higher echelon ANSF unit commander who is conducting a Battle Field Circulation (BFC) visit.

Level Three Advising. Coalition forces that provide additional training and advice from a centralized location such as a Regional Training Center (RTC) or Regional Corps Battle School (RCBS). Level 3 advising is not limited to SFAATs or advisor teams. For instance, Coalition headquarters staff may coordinate and execute training to improve the planning capability of their counterparts in an ANSF brigade or corps headquarters. Expeditionary advising packages and visits are planned and coordinated with Afghan counterparts to assist periodically in terms of operations and/or sustainment.

LI. Lessons Indentified. LL (see below) means you learned the lesson; LI means you have identified a lesson but didn't learn it. As in what the U.S. Army will do with all the documentation on how to do counterinsurgency. We will have identified lessons but not learned them as we walk away from COIN once the post-2014 era begins.

LIAP. Lessons Identified Action Plan.

LIET. Lesson Identified Endorsement & Tasking Sheet.

Light Air Support (LAS). The LAS aircraft is the ideal counterinsurgency aircraft and is very suitable to the Afghan conflict. The Afghan Air Force will soon acquire twenty A-29 Tucano close air support aircraft (in 2016?).

Lincoln Learning Center. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul has established a Lincoln Learning Center to provide reliable information about the U.S. through books, films, and other media. Learn more at this U.S. Embassy web page.

Line of Effort. A line that links multiple tasks and missions using the logic of purpose - cause and effect - to focus efforts toward establishing operational and strategic conditions (FM 3-0).

LIP. Lawful Intercept Program.

Litter. A stretcher used by medics to carry wounded personnel.

LIVEX. Live Exercise.

LL. Lessons Learned. Reports that are wrote on lessons learned (things we could have done better) but that are hardly ever read.

LLC. Lessons Learned Community.

LLVI. Low Level Voice Intercept. Watch a video about LLVI on the Defense Video & Imagery Distriction System (DVIDS) here.

LMAMS. See Lethal Miniature Aerial Munitions System above. Learn more here at Strategy Page.

LMG. Light Machine Gun.

LN. Local national.

LNO. Liaison Officer.

LNU. Last Name Unknown.

LOA. Letter of Authorization. What contractors have to show at the Bagram dining facilities so they can eat. Lots of guys fly to Afghanistan to get free meals and Bagram won't let those free-loaders get away with that! The LOA also says that if you get hurt you can't go to a military medical clinic.

LOA. Limit of Advance.

LOAC. Laws of Armed Conflict.

LOC. Line of communication. Road, highway, donkey path, railway, etc.

Local Defense Forces (LDF). Host nation (HN) personnel armed and organized as protective forces. This overarching category includes Civilian Self Defense Forces (CSDF), Local Security Forces (LSF), and many other associated elements or groups to include militias and the Afghan Local Police (ALP).

Local Defense Initiative. This was a program to develop local self-defense forces in rural and remote villages. See LDI.

Local Anti-Taliban Uprisings. There have been a number of local anti-Taliban uprisings against the Taliban that have occurred over the past three or four years. Some have been successful while other have withered away do to lack of Afghan government and ISAF support.

Local Security Forces (LSF). Armed, non-insurgent, host nation personnel organized as a protective force (usually at the community level). LSF are not sanctioned by GIRoA and/or ISAF, but are not necessarily anti-GIRoA. LSF are a sub-set of LDF. Some examples of LSF in Afghanistan are local militias and private security companies (PSC).

LOE. See Line of effort above.

Log. A short version of "logistics".

Logistics. The ANA and ANP logistics system is broke. It is rife with corruption, staffed with illiterate workers, and plagued with favoritism, tribal, and family issues. The Afghan logistics system, especially lack of Class IX parts, hurts the ANA operational readiness.

Logistics Training Advisory Team (LTAT). The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has the LTAT to assist the ANSF in logistics procedures and training.

LOI. Letter of Instruction.

LOO. Line of Operation.

LOS. Line of sight.

LOTFA. See Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan above.

LOTS. Logistics Over-The-Shore.

LOTS. Means there is a lot of something.

Loya Jirga. A tribal gathering, meeting or assembly.

LP. Listening Post.

LPN. License Plate Number.

LRRP. Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol.

LRSD. Long Range Surveillance Detachment.

LRSU. Long Range Surveillance Unit.

LS. Landing Site.

LS/RS. Left Seat / Right Seat.

LSA. Logistic Support Area.

LSD. Logistic Support Detachment.

LSD. I only did it in college; is that really a bad thing?

LT.  Lashkar-e-Taiba. A Pakistan-based militant group.

LTC. Lieutenant Colonel.

LTD. Laser Target Designation.

LTIOV. Last time intelligence of value.

LTV. Light Terrain Vehicle.

Luna. A German UAV or drone.

LWS. LAN Workstation.

LZ. A landing zone for a fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft.



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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.

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