US snipers take aim at insurgents in Afghanistan

The USA Today published an interesting article about the effectiveness of US military snipers in Afghanistan (see: “US military snipers changing warfare” http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2012-04-23/snipers-warfare-technology-training/54845142/1?csp=34news).

The article highlights the role and training of snipers and underscores their importance in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

According to the article:

“Snipers have quietly emerged as one of the most effective but least understood weapons in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Advancements in technology and training have made them deadlier than in any previous generation. Their ability to deliver accurate shots minimizes collateral damage — a key factor in counterinsurgency — and they are often more effective than much ballyhooed drones at secretly collecting intelligence.”

The article goes on to mention the fact that the US Army has increased their training of snipers at Ft. Benning, Ga famed Infantry School from 163 in 2003 to 570 last year.

See videos: Surviving the Cut S2 E2 – US Army Sniper School (Part 1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czZbqT_FvK0 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olu3mJPkEU0

Snipers also act in many ways as a “force multiplier”.

A fact that has not gone unnoticed by other Armed Forces around the world, particularly Russia which has been training snipers at an “unprecedented level” (see article: Russians deploy “sniper” companies to front line infantry units http://www.examiner.com/article/russian-deploy-sniper-companies-to-front-line-infantry-units ).

While the US is still years behind the Russians in appreciating the true combat role of snipers and incorporating them on the size and scale that the Russian military has it has been training more, especially in the US Marine Corp which operates a couple different sniper schools.

 INSURGENT SNIPERS ON THE RISE

The USA Today article also notes the fact that the insurgents in Afghanistan have also taken notice of the role of snipers in combat. The enemy it seems also understands the psychological potency of an unseen enemy that can strike at any time.

Insurgents apparently released a series of videos, in December of 2005 showing U.S. soldiers being shot, claiming it was the work of a “single sniper” who was stalking Baghdad.

The video was not only a training tool for insurgent commanders but “an effort to strike fear into American troops by raising the specter of an unseen gunman preying on U.S. troops”, the article says.

The US military downplayed the videos as a propaganda ploy but evidence suggest it was much more than that, especially when you study the videos very carefully.

see videos:

1) 3 US soldiers killed by an Iraqi sniper”  

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x25h5m_3-us-soldiers-killed-by-an-iraqi-sn_news

2) U.S Soldier Hit By Sniper http://www.metacafe.com/watch/398905/u_s_soldier_hit_by_sniper/

3) Iraqi Sniper Kills US Soldier http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/837648/

4)  Iraqi Sniper Attack US Marines http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAswSJn8ou4

5) islamic nasheed juba baghdad sniper σκοπευτής снайпер قناص http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yU6xFSfMvFs&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxGEYRzCyrU&feature=related

6) 6 Marine Snipers Killed in Iraqhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJDUNcYPU1Q&feature=related

7) US Soldier Missed by Insurgent Sniper by Only Inches (Kunar,Afghanistan) http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=cf6_1329403392

The Pentagon declined our offer to send them the collection of over 3 dozen insurgent sniper videos we collected over 4 years and refused comment on the effectiveness of insurgent snipers and increase in their numbers in Afghanistan.  

Robert Tilford

Kansas