. . . an all-volunteer local defense force that vastly outnumbers the approximate number of insurgents in the district. Capt. Paul J. Kasich, the commander of the Marine police mentoring team in Marjah, estimates ISCI to be almost the size of a battalion.
At that size, ISCI is approximately three times larger than the insurgent force in Marjah was last summer, when resistance to coalition forces was notably stronger. At that time, there were between 200 and 300 insurgents, according to a Small Wars Journal article written by Brett Van Ess last July.
The emergence of ISCI has several implications regarding the counterinsurgency campaign in Marjah. The first is coalition forces obvious size advantage – ISCI being only a sliver of the total coalition force, which also includes a Marine battalion, an Afghan National Army Kandak, and various departments of Afghan National Police.
The deeper implication, however, lies in the composition of the force itself. Unlike the ANA and ANP, which are comprised of Afghans from all over the country, the ISCI is made up entirely of local citizens led by local elders. Members of ISCI patrol their own neighborhoods, which are delineated by a canal system the U.S. helped build during the 1950s. In essence, the local ISCI force represents a grass-roots resistance to insurgents.