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Afghan War News > Afghan War Glossary > P

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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P2K. Paktika, Paktia, and Khowst. Three troublesome provinces in eastern Afghanistan along the Pakistan border.

P4. General Petraeus. A "Savior General" who redefined COIN to mean large-scale, population-centric counterinsurgency, former commander in Iraq, former CENTCOM commander, former ISAF Commander in Afghanistan, former Director of the CIA, and a good friend of Paula.

PA. See PAO below.

PA. Physician's Assistant.

PAG. Policy Action Group. A civil-military executive nominally under the authority of President Karzai. Instituted while General Richards (UK) was COMISAF. It engaged in diplomatic activities usually under ambassadorial jurisdiction.

PAG. Public Affairs Group; see PAO below.

PAI. Personnel Asset Inventory. Something the Afghans struggle with; possibly because of the significant financial benefits of the 'Ghost Soldier' phenonomen.

PAK. Pakistan.

PAKGLOC. Pakistan Ground Line of Communications. Route overland from Afghanistan to seaports in Pakistan.

PAKMIL. Pakistan Military.

PAL. Priority Asset List.

Panjwai District Killings. The Panjwai massacre took place on March 11, 2012 where a U.S. Army Soldier killed 16 Afghan villagers just outside a small U.S. compound that was conducting Village Stability Operations.

PAO.  Public Affairs Officer. The guy who tries to spin a bad event into a good one. As in "This operation demonstrates that the Afghans are in the lead and winning against the enemies of Afghanistan"; "The increased ANSF casualties show that the Afghans are in the lead", and "The high increase in enemy attacks this fighting season shows the desperation of the enemy". PAOs are among the most respected occupations in the military and can be counted on to provide the most accurate information on any given topic.

Paramilitary Forces. Forces or groups distinct from the regular armed forces of any country, but resembling them in organization, equipment, training, or mission (JP 1-02).

Park Palace Hotel Attack. In May 2015 the Taliban attacked a Kabul guesthouse and killed fourteen civilians - five Afghans and nine foreigners. Read more about the insurgent attack on the Park Palace Hotel in Kabul.

Partner. Partnering attaches units at various levels to leverage the strengths of both NATO and HN security forces. As an HN security force's capabilities mature, the echelon and degree of partnering decrease. As the HN security force conducts more autonomous operations, NATO forces still provide quick reaction forces and other assistance as appropriate.

Partner Unit (PU). A partner unit is a maneuver / combat support unit co-located with or in close proximity to its Afghan counterpart for planning and conducting operations. PU's were at one time the cornerstone of the SFA effort. unit partnerships do not replace advisor roles or functions. If partnering and advising are used in combination, it forms a three-part relationship amongst the ANSF, advisors and partner unit.

Partnering. A unit relationship (ISAF and ANSF) that involves combined training, planning, and operations. For the most part, partnering has given way to the deployment of advisor teams.

Pashtu. The primary language spoken by Pashtuns.

Pashtuns. Afghanistan's largest ethnic group located primarily in the east and south. Across the border in Pakistan can be found many more Pashtuns. The Pashtuns comprise about 43% of the population.

Pashtunistan Day. This is celebrated on August 31st every year. A day that some Afghans (mostly Pashtuns) hold peaceful gatherings (and make speeches) to demonstrate support for the creation of an autonomous Pashtun region. The day was established by the Afghan Parliament in July 1949. See Wikipedia to learn more about Pashtunistan.

PAT. See Police Advisor Team below.

PAX. Passengers or people who are traveling on an aircraft or other type of transportation.

PB. A temporary patrol base from which to conduct operations. Some "PBs" are more permanent than others. A PB is less permanent than a Firebase (FB).

PB. Peace Building.

PBAC. Program Budget Advisory Committees (PBACs) were established by the MoI and MoD (assisted by Resolute Support EF1) to provide senior level budget oversight and management, bringing together Afghan and Coalition leaders to discuss problems and determine solutions. See a posting on Resolute Support Facebook about PBACs.

PBG. Polish Battle Group.

PBGF. Performance Based Governance Fund.

PBIED. Person-borne improvised explosive device.

PBO. Property Book Officer. The guy that keeps the commander out of jail.

PC. Police Chief; as in DCoP or PCoP.

PC-12. The Pilatus PC-12 is a fixed-wing aircraft. The U-28 is a PC-12 variant operated by AFSOC and is a single engine transport with multiple uses.

PCASS. Preliminary Credibility Assessment Screening System.

PCC. Pre-combat check.

PCI. Pre-combat inspection.

PCoP. Provincial Chief of Police. This is an extremely lucrative position to be assigned to. You basically can control the criminal patronage networks in your province if you are a PCoP. Many PCoPs become millionaires quite quickly. PCoPs can demand up to 250K Afghani a month from their respective District Chiefs of Police (DCoPs).

PDB. Professional Development Board.

PDC. Provincial Development Council.

PDP. Provincial Development Program.

PDSS. Pre-Deployment Site Survey.

PDT. Pre-deployment Training.

PDY. Present for Duty.

PGov. Provincial Governor.

PeH. Afghan Air Force Air University (Pohantoon-e-Hawayee).

PEO. Project Executive Office.

People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Formed in 1977 and seized control of the government in 1978 with Daoud Khan's assassination. The party's Marist reform programs sparked major rebellions in the country side. The Soviets invaded in 1979 to put down the budding insurgency with over 80,000 troops.

People's Uprising Program (PUP). This program directed and financed by the NDS provides funding and assistance to local uprisings against the Taliban and other insurgent groups. See People's Uprising Program.

PEP. Poppy Elimination Program. Yeah, so how is that project going?

PERSREP. Personnel Report.

PERSTAT. Personnel Status Report.

PfP. Partnership for Peace.

PFTA. Post-Functional Transition Assessment.

PG. Provincial Governor.

PGov. Provincial Governor.

PGM. Precision Guided Munitions.

PHQ. Police Headquarters. Each province has an ANP headquarters - usually located at the provincial capital.

PIAT. The Police Institutional Advisory Team works with the Afghan police national training centers to help develop a professionally qualified, effective police force.

PIB. Procurement Information Bulletin.

PICC. Presidential Information Coordination Cell.

PID. Positive Identification.

PIR. Priority Intelligence Requirement.

Pink Mist. Combat Soldiers know what this means.

PINS. Precision Inertial Navigation Systems.

PKM. A Soviet-bloc light machine gun. Pulemyot Kalashnikova Modernizirovanniy.

PKO. Peace Keeping Operation.

PL. Patrol leader, platoon leader.

PL. Public Law.

Plant Eater. Similar to "Fobbit".

PLB. Personal Locator Beacon. Turn it on and you will be found. Make sure it is registered and you have a good battery!

PLS. Palletized Loading System.

PLT. Platoon - an Army organization usually around 25-40 personnel.

PM. Preventive Maintenance.

PM. Provost Marshal. (Don't let him catch you!).

PMCS. Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services.

PME. Political Military Estimate.

PME. Professional Military Education.

PMESII-PT. Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information, Infrastructure, People, and Time. An acronym you learn at the War College; and forget upon retirement.

PMM. Post Meeting Minutes.

PMO. Program Management Office.

PMO. Provost Marshal Office. Where the cops hang around and drink coffee.

PMOS. Primary military occupational specialty.

PMR. Program Management Review.

PMT. Police Mentor Team.

PMT. Pre-Mission Training.

PMU. Project Management Unit.

PN. Partner Nation.

PoA.  President of Afghanistan - as in "President Karzai is the most corrupt Afghan we know and will soon retire to his palaces in Dubai at the end of his term of office".

PoAM. Program of Action and Milestones.

POC. Point of Contact.

POE. Port of Entry.

POG. A fat guy. Usually works on a large FOB or in a headquarters unit. Sometimes he is the guy that likes to say "No" to requests from the field. For instance, if you are on an SFODA working at high-altitudes (say Bamian) and your medic requests Viagra to combat high-altitude sickness - you would refer to the guy that denies your request as a "POG".

POI. Point of impact. Where the rocket or mortar round landed.

POI. Program of Instruction.

POI. Point of Injury. The geographical location where someone is injured (in medical terms).

POIU. Province Operational Intelligence Unit.

POL. Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricants.

POL. Polish.

POLAD. Political Advisor. Here in Afghanistan the POLAD is the person who figures out after a one year tour that Afghanistan is a mosaic overlaid on top of a tapestry. The POLAD is also a good guy to invite on trips while touring Afghanistan because he comes with a helicopter and you usually get a VIP room when you travel with him.

Police Advisor Team (PAT). An advisor team with police expertise within it that advise the ANP, provide for liaison and command and control, and when required, support the operational planning and employment of the ANP unit to which they are aligned in order to support the development of a self-sufficient, competent, and professional ANP capable of maintaining public order, security, and rule of law. A PAT is one of the various types of SFAATs deployed to Afghanistan.

Police Call. This is where all the non-smokers line up and sweep an area looking for cigarette butts lying on the ground. The smokers avoid police call because others speak poorly of them during this event.

POM. Program Objective Memorandum.

POMLT. Police Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team. Provided by NATO.

POO. Point of Origin. Where the rocket or mortar round was fired from.

POPINT. Population Intelligence or simply put - understanding group behavior.

Pop Smoke. This refers to when troops will throw a smoke canister to mark their location; either for the marking of their position for others to see or to signal that they are either in trouble or ready for pickup. It also could mean that the party is boring and you are getting ready to leave as in "I am going to pop smoke".

Popolzai. A Pashtun tribe in southern Afghanistan.

Populace Controls. Controls that provide security for the populace, mobilize human resources, deny personnel to the guerrilla, and detect and reduce the effectiveness of guerrilla agents.

Popular Uprising Program. An attempt by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) to harness local militants to fight ISIS (and other groups?). It has had mixed results; successful in some areas but not so much in other areas.

Population-Centric COIN. A counterinsurgency campaign that aims to protect the people; and gain their support for the government.

POR. Program of Record.

PowerPoint Ranger. Someone who builds PowerPoint slides for briefings. A staff guy. For more information visit See also a news story about a Colonel who got fired after ranting about PowerPoint briefings at the ISAF Joint Command. Soon the U.S. Army will be putting displays in armored vehicles that are PowerPoint capable.

POTUS. President of the United States. When he shows up to visit the war comes to a screeching halt.

PPBE. Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution. PPBE is part of the Resolute Support Essential Function 1 portfolio.

PPD. Presidential Policy Directive.

PPE. Personal Protection Equipment. Body armor, helmet, protective sunglasses, ear plugs, etc.

PPRC. Provincial Peace Reintegration Committee.

PPTA. Project Preparatory Technical Assistance.

PPIED. Pressure Plate IED.

PPRM. PoAM Progress Review Meeting.

PRC. Provincial Response Company. Learn more about the Provincial Response Company here. PRCs were renamed as Provincial Special Units or PSUs.

PRN. Psychological Operations Radio Network.

Process Map. A process map is a graphical depiction of a specific functional process that takes place with the organization and structure of the ANSF. For instance a process map could depict how a the ANA requests ammunition for lower echelon units or how to call in a MEDEVAC to evacuate casualties.

PRED. A UAV or drone used to provide full motion video (FMV) over a target or NAI.

PR. Personnel Recovery.

PRIDE Ribbon. In an effort to encourage greater acceptance of the LGBTQ community within the Army's ranks a new ribbon has been announced by DA. The "Personnel Ribbon In Diversity Experience" will be issued to every graduate of Basic Training upon completion of sexual re-orientation training. Learn more about the PRIDE Ribbon here.

Project Gray. The nature of warfare is changing. Almost all of the adversaries that the United States faces cannot defeat us in a conventional fight. So they, by necessity, resort to Hybrid Warfare - operating in what is now called "The Gray Zone". Read about an effort by the Special Forces community to study warfare in the gray zone.

PROMOTE. Promoting Gender Equality in the National Priority Program.

Propaganda. Any form of communication in support of national objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly (JP 1-02).

Proper Exit, Operation. An event intended to provide an opportunity for wounded warriors to return to theater and exit on their terms in order to aid in the healing process.

Provincial Development Plans. A scheme where Provincial Development Councils formulate a plan to spend (and skim) money provided by international donors for development projects at the province level. See PDP.

Provincial Response Company. See PRC below. The PRCs have been redesignated as Provincial Special Units or PSUs.

PRC. A Provincial Response Company is a specialized Afghan police force highly trained in high-risk operations advised by ISAF SOF teams from NATO. PRCs are now called Provincial Special Units or PSUs.

PRC. Populace and resource control; things you do when conducting counterinsurgency.

PRT. Portugal.

PRT. Provincial Reconstruction Team. The first PRT was established in Gardez in early 2003 by a National Guard Special Forces detachment from C/1/20th SFGA that was augmented by an infantry platoon, PSYOP, medical, and Civil Affairs personnel. The PRTs were an excellent way to funnel aid money down to provincial and district level bypassing corrupt provincial governors and Afghan ministries such as MRRD, MoI, and MoD. By the end of 2013 most of the PRTs were phased out . . . . and we lost track of the money. The PRTs were national entities provided by various nations of the Coalition. PRTs assisted in reconstruction, development, governance, and security sector reform efforts. Most PRTs were closed down as each province transitioned (to ANSF in the lead) or Coalition forces retrograded. PRTs varied in composition and size. Some were led by military and others by civilians.

PSC. Private Security Companies. Security companies hired by facilities, NGOs, ISAF, and others to provide protection to personnel, facilities, development projects, and convoys. Karzai is attempting to abolish PSCs in favor of the Afghan Public Protection Force (APPF); however, the APPF has proven corrupt, expensive, and ineffective.

PSD. Personal Security Detail. PSDs can be a military team or a contract civilian team. The military PSD wears a uniform, carries standard weapons, and have short hair. The civilian security contractor looks a little different.

PSP. The Afghan Public Security Police was formerly called the Afghan National Civil Order Police or ANCOP. The majority of the ANCOP was transferred to the ANA in March 2018 and renamed the Afghan National Civil Order Force.

PSS. Persistent Stare System.

PSS. Persistent Surveillance System. These systems are principally camera towers or areostats that have high definition cameras feeding video to a ground station.

PSS(T). Persistent Surveillance System (tethered).

PSU. Provincial Special Unit. See PRC above. (non-ASSF portion of GCPSU).

PSYOP. Psychological operations.

PSYREP. Psychological Operations Report.

PT. Play time. Not for the kids; usually referring to how on station time an aircraft has in your area.

PTEC. Power Transmission Expansion and Connectivity.

PTP. Pre-deployment training plan.

PTRAT. Police Training Readiness Assessment Tool (ANP).

PTWG. The Procurement Technical Working Groups were created by the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior (assisted by the Resolute Support EF1) to meet and identify root problems and best practices in requirements, procurement, and contract administration. See RS Facebook posting on PTWGs.

PU. Partnered Unit.

PUC. Person Under Control. (Term no longer used?).

PUP. See People's Uprising Program above.

PVO. Private Voluntary Organization.

PZ. Pickup Zone. That place where the helicopter will land to pick up a foot patrol.

PZ. Police Zone. The Coaltion nations helped the MoI establish Police Zones that roughly corelated with the Afghan National Army Corps (geographically). In 2012 the MoI de-established the Police Zones. In 2016 the Police Zones were re-established. Hmmmm.


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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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