Shooting the Gap (bottom of blog) is considered to be as close to a combat jungle exercise as US military personnel can experience at present.
I was going to ask you to ID the tank, but this one is too exotic. If you want to give it a shot before scrolling down to the bottom, you can. The answer can be had there.
Panjshir (Five Lions Valley)
The narrow entrance to Panjshir, DalanSang gorge, has been blown off by NRF, making it impossible for the Taliban to leave the valley. Est 180 Humvees & a great amount of ammunition along with 100s of TB fighters are currently trapped inside Annaba.
Panjshir is so named because anciently the valley was controlled by five kings, referred to as ‘lions’. They still play buzkashi there (Buz=goat Kashi=killing) where they drag a goat carcass or an enemy’s carcass between goal posts on small horses native to the area. Or use an enemy’s head wrapped in leather because it holds together better than a human body – and hit it with polo-style sticks. How many goals to a chukker in Afghanistan?
Taliban is a code word for Pakistan. There was a time back in the mid-’90s when I was considered to be an expert on Afghanistan. I was published in Indian defense journals and elsewhere on the subject. So, dear readers, let’s get the dominoes lined up.
The Pakis have been pulling those levers since the fiction that is “Talib”=student crawled out of the madrassas in Pak-land (land of Pacman). So ISI created the Talib (holy student army) and the goal was to rid the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) of the six million Pathans who lived there and lead them on a jihad into Afghanistan to create a “Greater Pachtunistan”. The Pathans or Pachtun, if you will, had been displaced by the war with the Soviets and stayed in Pakistan, subsisting on welfare and “The Afghan Transit Trade” – smuggling opium. The Pakistanis considered them vermin and the US didn’t care because the Soviet Union was gone.
Elvis left the building (because Elvis is a moron) and told the Pakistanis that they could do whatever they wanted in their sphere to rid Pakistan of the human lice. A Green Light from DC.
So off they go to take Afghanistan from the Tajiks who ran the place post-Soviet, with Pakistani advisors, Pakistani rotors, and Paki artillery tubes. As often as not with Paki soldiers wearing rags doing the heavy lifting for the Student/Talib army.
Who built the Paki nuclear arsenal? China
Who built a belt road through Pacmanistan to Karachi and the Indian Ocean? China
Who pulls a lot of levers in Pacmanistan? China
Who does China hate most? MUSLIMS (oops).
Buy your popcorn, sit back and watch the thing play out.
America showed itself for the creeps we have become. We used Afghanistan to justify fleecing the American taxpayer to the tune of $2 trillion. It was an endless cash cow. The real war over there was finished by SPECOPS and CIA Special Activities with overhead artillery (B-52) from the USAF and directionally guided bombs. But nobody in the beltway wanted to let that sort of opportunity to steal go to waste. The Republicans were every bit as bad as the Democrats and the war industry served to provide jobs to the middle class. Enter Big Army.
Ok, we were going to talk about shooting the gap.
For those of you who follow this blog and actually humped gear, how heavy was your STANDARD combat loadout?
Some US Military units train in difficult terrain by traversing the Darien Gap (Tapón del Darién), or “Shooting the Gap”. There is a 66-mile break in the Pan-American Highway between Turbo, Colombia, and ending at Yaviza, Panama.
Traversing the gap is not (usually) accomplished by carrying a full combat load-out (above).
Traveling north from the Colombian side, you must negotiate the Atrato River delta – a marsh 50 miles wide. As you enter into Panamanian territory, the terrain changes into that of a mountainous rainforest (with very steep mountains) reaching into 3-4,000 feet elevation. Is it as tough to get through as the entre d’entraînement en forêt équatoriale, the French Army jungle warfare school located in French Guiana run by the French Foreign Legion (1er RE and 4e RE)?
Normally, you go through the advanced course at forêt équatoriale first to get you ready to Shoot the Gap, which (depending on the weather), can take between two or three weeks. Sometimes a month. Once you’re in the Panamanian mountains, clouds, weather, and impossible terrain make a CASEVAC difficult.
Between the narco gangs, the remnants of FARC guerillas, poisonous snakes and bugs, and the overall challenge of the transit, you need to be ready for the training evolution.
Answer to Identify the Tank: Libyan M577 command vehicle with a BMP-1 turret stuck on top and a sick paint job