Who are these guys?
Are these Gordon Brown’s arbakai from two years ago?
Did they used to be Helmand Scouts?
Whoever they are, British Special Forces Support Group apparently have stood up a “highly regarded” force of indigenous auxiliaries.
British special forces are based in a secret location which The Sunday Telegraph has decided not to identify, where the SFSG select and train Afghan volunteers to serve in the highly regarded Afghan Territorial Force (ATF).
Those who pass the rigorous selection process, which involves physical training, field craft tactics and weapon skills, are posted to front line units to work closely with British troops, where they are now highly regarded.
The Sunday Telegraph has agreed to an MoD request not to publish further details of the relationship between the ATF and the special forces for fear that security may be compromised.
But one defence source said: “The ATF are in great demand. They have saved dozens of British lives. Every unit in Helmand wants to work with them because they are such a fantastic asset.”
I have been trying to keep up with tribal militias, village defense forces, AP3/APPF/Guardians, and any other anti-Taliban Pashtun Armed Supportive Groups, but this is the first I’ve heard of the ATF
UPDATE 1212092020: Found this dated 8 Apr 09
Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF) and Afghan Territorial Force (ATF)
The BRF is an integral asset of UKLF CSG, [United Kingdom Landing Force Command Support Group] and the ATF is a collaboration between UK and Afghan personnel that seeks to maximise the impact of the newly formed indigenous security forces. Working alongside ATF provided the troops with local insight. Working with some 14 different organisations, there have been elements deployed on the ground for over 100 days during the last six months and the energy and flexibility of the reconnaissance troops was shown in the nine different major operations that BRF have been involved in over the tour.
Just prior to Christmas, and again recently, they were involved in independent initiatives in the areas of Nad-e-Ali and Marjah which have done much to facilitate the increasing security within Lashkar Gah, Helmand’s provincial capital. These areas are used as safe havens for the Taliban leadership and provide substantial levels of income to the enemy through poppy cultivation. In addition, BRF has protected logistic patrols and successful counter-narcotic operations have also seen them capture over 10 tonnes of poppy seed, 5 tonnes of hashish and 80kg of wet opium.
UPDATE 1215091015: House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 12 May 2009 (pt 0025)
£500,000 cash gift to the Government of Afghanistan to allow them to equip an Afghan Territorial Force in Helmand province. (Notified to the House of Commons in a departmental minute of 30 October 2006).
So the ATF has been in the works since October, 2006?