Planning for success
20 March 2019
An Australian Army captain has played a crucial role in a recent offensive against the Taliban.
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) conducted a five-day offensive against a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan in January.
It was a feat not achieved in more than five years – and Captain James Kingham was the coalition’s lead planner for the operation.
As the future operations planner at Train Advise Assist Command – South (TAAC-S) at Kandahar Airfield, he assisted the ANDSF to plan the clearance operation.
“The Taliban stored weapons and staged attacks on the ANDSF from the Shah Wali Kot jungle,” Captain Kingham said.
“With TAAC-S assistance during the planning stage and advice during the execution stage, the Afghan security forces cleared it of Taliban in five days. They also destroyed weapons caches and homemade explosives.”
Captain Kingham is one of six Australians at the command who assist the ANDSF.
“We will identify a Taliban support zone or an area we want to increase government control of and we will assist and advise the Afghans to formulate a ground force scheme of manoeuvre for their forces to clear or disrupt that support zone,” he said.
“Once a plan is agreed on, TAAC-S will forward deploy advisers and assets to a location near the combat zone.
“We will position ourselves there with the Afghan commanders and provide advice and fire support to assist them during the manoeuvre.”
Captain Kingham said every operation was planned through “negotiation and shared compromise”.
“TAAC-S does not own a manoeuvre force. The ANDSF are the manoeuvre force. We only advise and assist them,” he said.