Title: SHAPE Weekly Report on NATO-led Operations – 1 June 2011
Release Date: 2015-05-18
Document Date: 2011-06-01
Description: This extract from a NATO intelligence report dated June 2011 provides an assessment of the implications of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound for the Taliban: see the Intercept article What the Snowden Files Say About the Osama Bin Laden Raid, 18 May 2015.
GRAND QUARTIER GÉNÉRAL DES PUISSANCES ALLIÉES
SUPREME HEADQUARTERS ALLIED POWERS
B-7010 SHAPE, BELGIUM
Our ref: 0106/SOC/SCT
01 Jun 11
NATO HEADQUARTERS, SITUATION CENTRE
SHAPE Weekly Report on NATO-led Operations
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE (ISAF) - AFGHANISTAN
1. With the poppy harvest coming to a close, the expected increase in INS activity is
steadily materializing. The past week saw a number of incidents, including the 24 May
11 failed attempt by INS to take over the Do Ab District Centre (Nuristan Province,
RC(E)), the 26 May 11 Kandahar IED strike that killed eight USA ISAF soldiers and the
28 May 11 remote-controlled IED in the Governor’s Palace in Taloqan District (Takhar
Province (RC(N)) that killed the Regional Chief of Police LTG Daoud Daoud and
wounded the RC(N) commander, MG Kneip. The Taloqan attack is the latest in a series* 1
of high profile attacks in RC(N), targeting senior provincial GIRoA figures.
2. The 19 May 11 spike in INS activity in RC(SW) reported in last week’s SHAPE
Weekly effectively marked the beginning of the fighting season. However, despite the
incidents mentioned in Paragraph 1. Regional Commands continue to report INS activity
below normal levels for the Spring period. For example. RC(N) noted that the INS are
focusing on defending their remaining area of operations against ANSF and ISAF instead
of executing offensive operations. Intelligence indicates that although some INS leaders
are planning to retake key terrain to regain some influence, they also fear a possible
ISAF and ANSF reaction should they expose their fighters.
3. RC(SW) provided some interesting and encouraging insights into the 19 May spike
of incidents in Helmand. It appears the INS had planned to execute a three day
offensive but required rest and refit after just one day of operations. Also, unlike previous
operations, the Taliban (TB) leadership was closely involved in the tactical planning and
the execution of the attacks. This is a possible indication of low level commanders
1 On 8 Oct 10,10 Feb 11, 21 Feb 11.10 Mar 11 and 14 Mar 11 IED attacks targeted key GIRoA personnel
in RC(N). killing among others the Kunduz Provincial Chief of Police and the Kunduz Provincial Governor.
incapable or unwilling to commit themselves and illustrates the growing gap between the
senior leadership and tactical commanders. Intelligence sources assess that ISAF and
ANSF targeting of the INS command and control structures and logistical chain during
the past months appears to be having an impact. However, it should be noted that the
ability and willingness of the INS to fight, although diminished, is still present. ISAF
anticipates a further increase in kinetic activity over the summer, but with a greater
number of lulls between attacks, since the INS are forced to rest and resupply more
frequently as a consequence of the increased ANSF and ISAF footprint and operations.
4. Insurgent Command and Control (C2). Taliban senior leaders (TBSL) primarily
operate out of PAK and rarely venture into AFG out for fear of ANSF and ISAF targeting.
This distance limits leaders’ situational awareness, inhibits effective communications,
and complicates command of operations in AFG. Additionally, the autonomy exercised
at lower levels of the insurgency limits the effective control exercised by the TB
hierarchy, interfering with implementation of a coherent strategy. Despite continued TB
assertions of confidence in their success, the insurgency currently faces pressure on
virtually all aspects of operations. C2 issues have been of particular concern for TBSL,
and are exacerbated by a continuing degradation of facilitation lines, loss of AFG
sanctuaries, and strained resources. Limited influence over tactical commanders and
leadership degradation will also pose obstacles to the insurgency. The level of
ANSF/ISAF pressure on the insurgency will continue to challenge the bonds between
TBSL in PAK and the local networks that make up the majority of the INS fighting force.
Weakened links between TB echelons will likely impede implementation of a coherent
INS military strategy and lead to disparate elements operating in a manner counter-
productive to the strategic aims of the insurgency.
5. ISAF Lines of Communication. Since the death of Osama Bin Laden, both the PAK
government and public have expressed anger over the USA raid on PAK soil. On 14
May 11, the PAK Parliament passed a resolution calling for a commission to investigate
the Abbottabad raid, as well as calling for an end to UAV strikes. The resolution
threatened that continuation of UAV strikes may lead to PAK government withdrawal of
NATO transit authority. However, subsequent UAV strikes and the 17 May 11 helicopter
cross border* 2 incident have not provoked any additional PAK reactions. Previous
closures of the border crossings have lasted two to twelve days, with no effect on ISAF's
ability to conduct operations over the short term (14 days or less). Further, border
closures have significant economic and employment impacts within PAK and hence PAK
is unlikely to respond with such a stance.
6. Concerning the issue of shipping ISAF equipment using the northern lines of
communication, during the Lisbon Summit (Nov 10) an agreement was reached with
Russia to allow reverse transit of weapons-free vehicles, and Kazakhstan indicated it
would allow the same. Despite this, NATO will not be able to use the northern route to
their full potential until Uzbekistan also permits transit or alternate agreements are made.
Following the Uzbekistan presidential visit to Brussels in Jan 11, the country announced
it would not allow NATO to make reverse shipments or move armoured vehicles through
its territory, even without weapons.
7. Improvements to Afghan Health Care. During the 64th World Health Assembly in
Geneva on 17 May 11, the AFG Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) stated that AFG has
2 On 17 May 11 two CF attack helicopters supporting operation Oqab Behar VI in Khost Province (RC(E))
inadvertently crossed into PAK airspace in Khost (RC(E)). The helicopters received fire from a PAKMIL OP
and subsequently returned fire, wounding two PAKMIL.