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Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan

The Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A) is the United States component of the NATO Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (NSOCC-A). The commander of NSOCC-A is also the commander of SOJTF-A - a dual-hat command arrangement. 1.

Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan (SOJTF-A)
Photo from USSOCOM Tip of the Spear Magazine (Dec 2014)

This division-level headquarters is commanded by a two-star general and encompasses all in-country NATO special operations forces and assets. The SOJTF-A mission spans the entire spectrum of special operations in a counterterrorist and a counterinsurgent environment. The missions range from direct action to capacity-building to Security Force Assistance.

Personnel Strength. In mid-2013 the number of personnel assigned to SOJTF-A/NSOCC-A was close to 13,000 special operators, staff, and support personnel from over 25 different nations. It is estimated that the combined NATO / U.S. military force at the start of Resolute Support in January 2015 will be about 12,000 troops; of which a fraction (25%?) will be SOF associated units. In December 2014 the CJSOTF-A was downsized and replaced by a Special Operations Task Force of battalion strength commanded by a LTC.

Afghan Partner Units. The special operations forces work with a variety of Afghan units from the police and army to include the Afghan National Army Special Forces (ANASF), Afghan National Army Commandos, Special Mission Wing (SMU), Provincial Response Companies (PRCs), General Directorate Special Police Units (GDSPU), Afghan Local Police (ALP), and other lesser known highly-specialized direct action units.

Uniting the "Tribes". SOJTF-A is a newly formed organization. Prior to 2012 the various U.S. and NATO SOF components were answering to different bosses. There was the Combined Joint Special Operations Component Command - Afghanistan (CFSOCC-A) that had command of most of the 'white SOF' (most under the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force - Afghanistan or CJSOTF-A). There was ISAF SOF who worked with various elite Afghan police units like the GDPSU and the Provincial Response Companies. And then there were some other chaps that did a lot of direct action stuff at night (as in night raids). 

SOJTF-A Commanders. The first commander of the SOJTF-A was Major General Tony Thomas. He changed command with Major General Scott Miller in the summer of 2013 (a former CFSOCC-A commander). MG Miller was replace in the summer of 2014 with MG Ed Reeder (also a former CFSOCC-A commander). In the summer of 2015 MG Sean P. Swindell replaced Reeder. Like all good SOF units the SOJTF-A has a commander's challenge coin. 2.

Papers about SOF in Afghanistan

RAND, Building Special Operations Partnerships in Afghanistan and Beyond, RAND Corporation, July 2015.

News Articles about SOJTF-A

July 1, 2017. "Special Operations Force (SOF) Logistics Advising in Afghanistan", SOF News. A special operations advisor in logistics describes opportunities and challenges of advising in an Afghan culture.

January 14, 2015. "Camp Integrity brings winter cheer to Afghanistan's girls' orphanage". Resolute Support News. The "Save the Children" home gets a little help from SOF.

December 15, 2014. "Special Forces leaders say building friendships key in Afghanistan". Fayetteville Observer.

December 14, 2014. "With U.S. leaving, elite Afghan commandos take up the mission". Fayetteville Observer.

May 15, 2013. "Special Ops Task Force Helps Shift Afghanistan Trend Line". American Forces Press Service. This news release discusses the role, mission, and future of the Special Operations Joint Task Force - Afghanistan.

May 14, 2013. "Afghan Commandos Step Up Their Combat Role". The New York Times.

December 5, 2012. "U.S. Commandos' New Landlord in Afghanistan: Blackwater". Danger Room.

October 22, 2012. "Afghans or Americans on Top? The Future of Special Forces Operations in Afghanistan". Afghanistan Analysts Network.

August 21, 2012. "New joint special ops command won't assume control of Afghan commandos". DEFCON Hill Blog.

August 19, 2012. "U.S., Afghan elite forces merge". USA Today.

February 12, 2012. "U.S. Plans Shift to Elite Units as it Winds Down in Afganistan". The New York Times. This article reveals the plans to establish a two-star command to oversee all special operations forces in Afghanistan.



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1. For more information on SOJTF-A see the USSOCOM Fact Book 2015, page 42, DVIDS.

2. See MG Miller SOJTF-A Commander's Challenge Coin, September 1, 2015.




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