Paratroopers Share Their Intelligent Targeting


The innovative approach used to great effect on operations in Afghanistan by 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment is being shared at the highest level.

A team from 3 PARA, led by Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel James Coates, returned to Afghanistan in late summer 2011 to give further briefs to HQ ISAF on Intelligent Targeting.

For Op HERRICK 13, Colchester-based 3 PARA developed the Intelligent Targeting approach to use in Nad-e Ali (North). Intelligent Targeting maximised the use of ISTAR to target insurgents in a manner usually adopted by more specialist forces.

The methods used by 3 PARA drew interest from the outset from the-then ISAF commander General David Petraeus, with the HQ ISAF COIN Advisory and Assistance Team (CAAT) studying the tactics, techniques and procedures to share with forces operating across Afghanistan.

Lt Col Coates said: “It was a huge honour to be invited back to Afghanistan on behalf of 16 Air Assault Brigade and 3 PARA and to see that the lessons of Intelligent Targeting are being taken forward at a high level within ISAF.

“Intelligent Targeting places a premium on understanding insurgent networks and their critical vulnerabilities as well as the application of precise and decisive effect; both kinetic and non-kinetic. In terms of strike operations, such actions were always precise, decisive and proportionate and were always relentlessly exploited, both physically and psychologically – the aim was always to undermine the insurgent narrative and their hold over the population.

“Effectively, the insurgent was given nowhere to hide within the Protected Communities. We were under no illusions that they would attempt to re-infiltrate, but if they did the message was that they would be struck very precisely and ruthlessly. Importantly, all of this activity was conducted in full view of the local population, who gained in confidence as a result.”

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