The involvement of the French army in Afghanistan is synonymous with the return of high intensity fighting in a context of an allied coalition (under United Nation Organization (UNO) command and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) command since 2003). Between 2001 and 2014, 70 000 soldiers were deployed, creating the next generation of combat proven soldiers after that of the Algerian war. Within ten years the missions devoted to the French army evolved towards more and more violent fighting. In the heart of the summer 2011, the change of strategy initiated by The French President Nicolas Sarkozy changed the nature of the French involvement in the conflict. The responsibility for counter-insurgency operations was gradually transferred to the Afghan National Army (ANA). The French left Afghanistan on the 31st December 2014 enriched with an intense and meaningful combat experience.
The different steps in the involvement of the French army
The involvement of the French army was built step by step, each step corresponding to a new evolution of its missions; means and doctrines. The evolution of the French army’s actions in Afghanistan went hand in hand with the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) strategy. From 2007, the French army became an essential actor of the international coalition. France was the fourth contributor after The USA Great Britain and Germany. From 2008, France took charge of the Surobi district and of the Kapisa province, which were strategic areas. Those two areas located North-east of Kabul were both a century long Taliban resistance zone and a major supply route for them. Little by little, France shifted from a careful attitude to a full contribution to the war against terrorism (Enduring Freedom Operation for Afghanistan or EFO-A) and to the counter –insurgency (COIN) strategy against the Taliban’s insurrection in the Region-Command (RC) East area. At the end of 2011, the responsibility for counter-insurgency operations was gradually transferred to the Afghan national army (ANA): concepts of “ANA first”, “ANA led” and finally “ANA only”. Confronted with a many faced adversary accustomed to his country, using guerilla warfare and knowing how to adapt swiftly, the French army rediscovered counter-rebellion techniques and doctrine. On the other hand thanks to its adaption process, the French army also rediscovered a large part of its colonial history heritage. According to Professor Jean-Charles Jauffret: “Almost every French infantry military unit took part in the Afghanistan campaign being sent overseas between one and three times each, namely a total of a bit more than 60,000 soldiers”. The young French professional army (since 1996) was given a new international stature after its contribution to that conflict.
|Timeline: The three steps of the French army and the NATO involvement in Afghanistan (2001-2012) - C. Lafaye|
After 9/11 the first French naval, terrestrial and air units were sent to Afghanistan to follow article 5 of the NATO convention (self-defense). The “Heracles operation” was the name given to the French contribution to the EFO-A. After the fall of the Taliban and the Bonn agreement (5th December 2001), France joined the ISAF with the “Pamir Operation” (name given to the French contribution to ISAF). The Afghan army training (“Epidote” mission between 2002 and 2014) and its mentoring (operational mentoring and Liaison team - OMLT), were part of the French contribution to the EFO-A. Between June 2003 and December 2006, the French Special Forces contributions to EFO-A, called Task Group (TG) “Ares”, were deployed in the Kandahar province. After their withdrawal (December 2006), the French Special Forces provided instructors for the Afghan Commando school between 2007 and 2011. After the kidnapping of two French journalists and the creation of the Lafayette task force; French Special Forces went back to Afghanistan (“Jehol” unit) until the French fighting forces withdrew. They became a formidable weapon system developing an accurate fighting experience. Within twelve years, 20 000 Afghan soldiers were trained by French instructors thanks to the “Epidote” mission.
|Timeline: The French army in Afghanistan before ISAF (2001) - C. Lafaye|
Between 2002 and 2006, the French combined Battalion based in Kabul was located in two forward operation bases (“Cazeilles” and “Kersauron”). During those four years, insecurity grew steadily as the Taliban’s insurrection was reinforced in the countryside. Kabul quickly became an unsafe zone and therefore the French army was given as a mission to secure the city and its surroundings, while still focusing on Kabul airport, the North of the city, the police districts 11 and 15 as well as the Chamali plain. At the time, French politicians did not allow the French army to join full combat around Kabul to focus on a stabilization mission. Besides, before the troops were deployed the combined combat training in France was not particularly emphasized. In the early years of the French involvement in the Afghan conflict, some observers saw the triumph of the French touch, some kind of glorified legacy of the colonial age know how, when considering the relative safety of their area of responsibility. It was an illusion. The French army fought very difficult battles from its Surobi and Kapisa bases. Until then, the troops sent to Kabul had been assigned to different missions. The years 2006 and 2007 were a real turning point in the French involvement in the country. In the summer 2006, the Region Command-Capital (RC-C) under NATO command, was created. The Surobi district was integrated to that new territorial division as Coalition Joint Operational Area (CJOA). Each nation in charge of the coalition command, had to send a combined unit to the Tora forward operation base situated in Surobi, so as to control this gate to Kabul. As a consequence, the French men in command of the combined battalion wondered whether it would appropriate to rapidly change the style of action undertaken (reversibility). Did the level of their equipment and their training enable them to lead high intensity fighting against Taliban? An answer is clearly given by President Jacques Chirac in October 2006, when he refused to send reinforcements to give a hand to the Canadian troops trapped in the Helmand province.
In spring 2007, French soldiers took part in the creation of the first OMLT unit. Mentors accompanied their Afghan Kandak in mission to put a final touch to their combat training and to provide them with close support. In the meanwhile French participation to war took a different form. Indeed, once Nicolas Sarkozy was elected in May 2007 France shifted from a careful stance to a full involvement in the war against Taliban and joined counter-insurgency efforts. During 2008 and 2009, the doctrinal adaptation process in order to address the issue of guerilla warfare accelerated. Nicolas Sarkozy, during the Bucharest summit (3rd and 4th April 2008), announced the deployment of a new combined battalion (700 soldiers) in Kapisa for the summer 2008. The French “caveat” was cancelled, while at the same time reactive adaptation was launched. It aimed at modernizing French soldier’s equipment. The deadly ambush in Uzbin on the 18th August 2008, acted as a prompter of the French army mutation (with an increase in the number of jammers, with an improved individual protection for fighters etc.). Training before being deployed was increased from four to six months and deals more efficiently with counter Improvised Explosive Device (IED) process. In January 2009 a counter-rebellion doctrine was published by the army centre for force employment doctrine. This document underscored the basics of counter rebellion fighting. Since that moment, the military commanders in chief in charge of French military troops in Kapisa and Surobi launched a series of tactical experiments. In order to separate the local population from the Taliban, French colonels tried several different tactics such as “Cloche à fromage” with Colonel Nicolas le Nen, “counter-reaction” with Colonel Chanson and with the “Mikado theory” with Colonel Benoit Durieux. All these tactics announced in a way the first campaign plan of the Lafayette brigade created on the 1st November 2009.
|Timeline: The Lafayette combined brigade (2009-2012) - C.Lafaye|
As the complete French military troops were gathered in Kapisa and Surobi, the 5th phase of the French Army commitment in Afghanistan, called “from counter-insurgency phase to retreat (2009 to 2012)” started. The tactical situation became more complex in the field after two French journalists were captured on the 30th December 2009. They were kept prisoners down in the Alasay valley and their presence there prevented the French army from engaging in combat operations in the Taliban sanctuary zone. The imprisonment of the hostages, who were only released on the 29th June 2011, enabled Taliban fighters to ask for truces to negotiate, or to resume the fighting in their own terms. The major effect of the French brigade first campaign plan was focused on “win hearts and mind” of the population. Forward operational bases spread gradually over the area under French command in order to control and pacify the territory. The French military engineers worked very efficiently and successfully in the context of the “Synapse” operation (from the 1st to the 7th March 2010) so as to build a Combat Outpost on the 46th parallel in the Gwan valley. The “promising star” operation (from the 26th September to the 5th October 2010) enabled the French to establish a new advance outpost, the Sherkel COP, aiming at controlling the main supply road “Vermont” facing the entrance to the Bédraou valley. The NATO conference in Lisbon on the 20th November 2010 marked a clear and strategic turning point. As a matter of fact, when the Western forces set the deadline for the troops’ withdrawal for the end of 2014, they as good as gave the rebels a timetable. It unofficially spelled the end for counter-insurgency operations and little by little the goals of the campaign plan for the Lafayette Brigade changed. The new objective then became the weakening of the insurgency forces, so that the ANA could then take command of the remaining operations. Main supplies road had to stay open too.
The next two commitments of French troops turned out to be much more aggressive. The nomadic strategy launched by Colonel Bruno Héluin in the winter 2010-2011 in order to break the Jangali stranglehold was a real success. From December 2010, the French troops embarked on long term operations. The French soldiers set up camp on the spot, in local houses, cordoned off vast areas and conducted systematic search. The results were more than encouraging: weapon and ammunition caches which were vital for the Taliban were found one by one. The Taliban at that point asked for a much needed truce on their part to negotiate the release of the two French journalists who had been kidnapped on the 30th December 2009 in Kapisa. That truce also gave them the opportunity to reorganize. The “Storm Lightning” operation which coincided with renewed fighting enabled to secure the main supply road “Vermont” for a time and to break the stranglehold of Jangali much to the delight of their American allies. In the meantime, the French troops went on criss-crossing the area between the Kapisa and the Surobi regions, creating new combat outposts and observation posts included in the green zone. The fourth commitments of Lafayette Brigade troops corresponded to the political and military disruption concerning the nature of the battles the army had to wage in Afghanistan. In order to keep the positions won during the winter campaign, heavy fighting was necessary and the whole situation was made even harder since the American troops had then left the Kunar area. Within three months the Raptor battle group recorded a toll of 8 dead soldiers and 30 injured men. As for the “Quinze deux” battle group they suffered four fatalities. After a first operational break during the summer, the operations resumed and ended in September with the death of Lieutenant Valéry Tholy of the 17th Engineers parachute battalion. After that the French would never operate down the valleys again. The ANA was then given sole charge of the fighting, a first step before the French withdrawal. The election of François Hollande as France’s new president speeded up this process which had been endorsed during the Chicago summit on the 18th May 2012. The Lafayette Brigade was disbanded on the 25th November 2012 once the responsibility for the Surobi and the Kapisa areas had been transferred to the Afghan forces. The last phase consisted in the logistics transfer which was both complex and risky and which completed the final French withdrawal (2012-2014).
French strategies in Afghanistan
From a strategic point of view the three French presidents personified three very different attitudes. Jacques Chirac (2001-2007) was in favour of sending few troops in the field, relying on Special Forces to fulfil his involvement as the ally of the US in Afghanistan. President Sarkozy (2007-2012), supported by General Jean Louis Georgelin, army chief of staff (between 2006 and 2010), opted for an increase in the number of soldiers in the field (up to 4000 in 2011). Moreover he decided to concentrate the military assets in the Surobi district and the Kapisa province. After the battle of Mobayan, on the 7th September 2011 during which Lieutenant Valéry Tholy was killed, French troops remained stationed in their FOB. After the shooting incidents of “Green on Blue” during the winter 2011-2012, Nicolas Sarkozy decided to speed up the withdrawal of the French troops. President Hollande (2012-2014) gave as a deadline the 31st December 2012 for the fighting French troops to go home and the 31st December 2014 for the departure of the last French soldiers from Kabul.
Why did France decide to intensify its involvement in Afghanistan in 2007? The major political and diplomatic goal was in fact to make sure France would keep its influence in the world as a member of the UN Security Council. Keeping its defense capabilities seemed absolutely essential (it was out of the question to be subjugated as General Georgelin told us). According to President Sarkozy, it required to play a more important part within NATO. It also meant paying the blood money together with the French allies in Afghanistan. Whatever the battle plans are with their own aims designed to win (or not to lose), they have to yield before the political choices which pursue other objectives, other priorities, other goals. Any moment, the national policy can impose its choices and change the battle plans. This issue was worsened by the fact that the Taliban used a strategy consisting in making an impression on Western public opinions in order to force the foreign forces to withdraw. This weak spot was particularly well identified by the French’s opponents. When the Taliban hit France hard on the eve of the French national day on the 13th July 2011, they managed to deal a tremendous blow to the French resolve. Not, of course, the resolve of the troops in the field but the resolve of the politicians who happened to have another agenda. The French withdrawal also questioned the coalition’s global strategy and its ability to lean on realistic, concrete political goals which need to be limited in time. Adding up tactical successes is not synonymous with complete victory. The French army did not win in Algeria with its counter-subversive strategy. Neither did the new counter-insurrection process in 2007 enable France to enjoy an overwhelming victory in Afghanistan. That conflict emphasized the helplessness of modern democracies when confronted with irregular warfare in the 21st Century. The lessons are yet to be learnt.
The transformation of the French army
The French army’s involvement in Afghanistan was accompanied by a deep transformation of its capacities. At that time, this army was a young professional one. The French army improved its performances in Afghanistan, in terms of: leading a counter-insurgency strategy, making quick doctrinal adaptation process, adopting appropriate organization in the battlefield in combined joint coalition, facing fire experience, maintenance (soldiers, materials), fast procurement process for new equipments (like Mine Resistance Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles (MRAP) “Aravis” or “Buffalo”), training and mentoring foreign national army (operational instruction detachment (OID) concept), counter-IED process, combat first aid, shooting combat training, training process in general, individual and collective physical preparedness for a challenging military operation and a “way back home” process for soldiers (called in French “main air locked” in Paphos in Cyprus). The French army equipment was renewed and extensively proven under combat conditions. We can take as examples: individual equipment of the soldiers (helmets, elbow supports, knee braces, bulletproof vests, combat kits, digital transmissions, the French digital combat system integrated with soldier called the “FELIN” system, tested for the first time in operational condition in 2012), the new French air force and naval air force combat aircraft (Dassaut “Rafale” and “Rafale Marine” update for the navy), the deployment of the French carrier battle group (“Charles de Gaulle” carrier), an artillery of precision (CAESAR system), the French helicopter gunship “Tiger”, mechanized infantry combat vehicle with operated turret with two 30mm cannons (French VBCI), different sorts of unarmed drones, MRAP vehicles, an entire Road Clearance Package (RCP) unit, search unit etc. The French army had no longer participated in such a large allied military operation since the Gulf War (1990-1991). The French army was undergoing drastic change in Afghanistan. A Fast procurement process for new equipments allowed the French army to fill its capacity gaps. Every year between 2008 and 2012, a budget of 580 million Euros was dedicated to this, at the risk of creating micro-parks of equipment difficult to maintain in complete operational condition. The French army had shown its value to its allies. The French army, faced with a combative, unpredictable and determined adversary, rediscovered the culture and the fundamentals of the art of combat. Psychological Operations (PSYOPS) were back in the French army doctrine. Colonel Roger Trinquier had practiced this kind of “win hearts and mind” theory, well known as a part of the French counter-subversive strategy, during the Algerian war. On the terrain, the balance of this doctrine was mixed. The competition between two radio stations supported by the French army illustrated this impasse (“Surobi radio” versus “OMID radio”). The first one sought to “free hearts and minds” by broadcasting poems and newscast written by local villagers and the other only broadcast the French brigade’s messages. The impact of these two radios on people’s perceptions was limited. The French commitment in Afghanistan promoted allied combined joint cooperation from the top to the bottom (from general to lieutenant). It was an asset for the next commitment in Sahel.
“Train as you fight and fight as you train”: a good option for the French army in a situation of counter-insurgency?
After the deadly ambush in Uzbin on the 18th August 2008, the French army set up a six-month training cycle for troops intended to go to Afghanistan, called in French “MCP” (mise en condition avant projection – in English “training before commitment’). The main objective was to streamline, systematize and harden this training. Soldiers spent one entire year dedicated to training for and fighting in Afghanistan. It was very difficult for families too. This training consisted in two stages: a two-month individual training phase and a three-month collective training phase. The most important and useful exercises included in this training were: survivability in combat, joint counter-IED process, shooting combat training, operational English language, individual physical condition, improving attitudes and coordination in combat situation. In 2009, the French army had created a special unit for training: the operational instruction detachment attached the 1st Régiment de Chasseurs d’Afrique (RCA) in Canjuers. They specifically bought an entire forward operation base for instruction use. Soldiers lived and behaved as if they were in Afghanistan. This idea matched perfectly the famous saying: “Train as your fight, fight as your train”. The evaluation team included soldiers who had recently returned from Afghanistan. They shared the lessons they had learned there with the other soldiers preparing for commitment. The French army organized a training validation to confirm that each unit was qualified to perform their specific tasks in Afghanistan. Once they had arrived, the French army unit had to perform an ISAF validation course and a counter-IED trail.
During the training in France, the focus was on high intensity fighting. The Commander in chief of the combined battalion had a lot of fire power in his own hands, provided by jets, tanks, artillery, missiles, drones, combat helicopters, machine guns, mortars etc. Naturally, he was tempted to use this firepower when troops were in contact with the Taliban. In counter-insurgency situations, this was not always the appropriate option. Winning the hearts and minds of the population required not to kill them or not to destroy their goods or cultivated fields. The French soldiers were ready for high intensity fighting but not necessarily for complex counter-insurgency operations. The devil is in the details. The French colonel (now General) Benoit Durieux faced the incomprehension of his legionnaires when he chose once or twice to avoid fighting with the Taliban to gain the support of the population of Surobi in 2009. They were training for high intensity fighting and they wanted to do so. In late November 2010, this gap was reduced when the road map of the Lafayette brigade changed. Since then, looking for and destroying the Taliban then keeping the main supply road ‘highways 7” open, had been the French army's main goals.
During its commitment in Afghanistan, the French army deployed its most modern equipment to the detriment of the remaining units. In France, a quick reaction force (called “Cheetah alert”), which was ready to respond to international crises, had to do with used equipments. It was not possible to train on modern equipment either. We were in a situation marked by the shortage of night scopes, machine guns (Mini-mi 7,62 mm, HK-417, Infantry FAMAS etc.), modern bulletproof vest or modern armored combat vehicles. Each brigade in France was forced to give their own allocation of modern equipment for the benefit of the Lafayette Brigade in Afghanistan. In January 2013, during the “Serval operation”, the French army started the war against terrorists in Mali with old equipment. Fortunately, the French army was particularly effective and aggressive. Step by step, units were equipped with modern weapons as the withdrawal from Afghanistan continued.
The return of the counter-guerilla warfare in French doctrines
French commanders in chief rediscovered the importance of surprise to take the initiative when facing an enemy, who belonged to the population, and knew the terrain perfectly. The Taliban used hugging tactics perfectly well to neutralize close air support opportunities which potentially caused heavy losses to the population. That’s why movement and fire power were essentials to defeat an opponent perfectly accustomed to infantry combat. Fire discipline, which is acquired through long training and experience of combat, was an important key for success. Any effective targeted strike required positive identification of the enemy while he was firing. Massive retaliation would only cause high human toll. The action of the 2nd Foreign Legion Parachute battalion was exemplary in Afghanistan (Task Force Altor – 2010). The nature of combat also pointed out the importance of heavy weapons in infantry units and in combat support units to face counter-guerilla warfare (missile MILAN and Javelin, 89 mm anti tank rocket, mechanized infantry combat vehicle with its 30mm cannon, wheeled tank AMX 10-RC with its 105 mm cannon etc.).The French soldiers had to deal with stress. When the troops were in contact, the battle could last many hours. In contrast to the Indochina or Algerian Wars, the night belonged to the French soldiers not the Taliban. This benefit came from soldiers' night vision scope and observation skills delivered by captive balloon (PGSS). The French soldiers tracked Taliban logistic movement with multiple cameras. The Taliban were avoiding night combat because they could not take advantage of their surveillance system based on the local population. Mountain troops were also important because of the geography of the country and the seasonality of the fighting (very cold winters and very hot summers). Helicopters once again proved their importance in counter-guerrilla warfare. But the French resources were no longer those of the Algerian war. The French helicopter battalion spent 7 % of its operational flight time for airmobile operation, 49 % of this time for tactical transport and 30 % for VIP transport. To plan major operation, the Lafayette brigade had to request support from coalition heavy helicopters (CH-47 “Chinook”).
The French army in Afghanistan: a military operation marked by strong political constraints
President Nicolas Sarkozy limited the French troops' commitment to 3,500 men in 2008, without distinguishing between combat personnel and support. In 2011, the total number of military personnel reached 4,421. This political limit weighed heavily upon the conduct of French military operations. It caused a lot of tiredness and could put the soldiers at risk. It was sometimes even difficult to find sufficient staff to carry out operations. The French brigade was producing its main action in specific areas, while the rest remained in the hands of the Taliban. Global action was impossible. With the building of combat outpost all along the main supply road “Highway 7”, many soldiers were posted to watch “the green zone”. The French brigade lost its tactical maneuver capability. During the summer of 2011, the US Army provided a Road Clearance Package (RCP) unit to the French battle group “Raptor”, for a few months, to ensure roads were not trapped by IED. Finally, six-month commitments were insufficient to conduct effective counter-insurgency operations. It was difficult to connect with people and to build trust. French soldiers were seen as occupation troops that were waging war to villages. We can say that General Jean-Louis Georgelin, joint chief of staff between 2006 and 2010, won his bet. After the Afghanistan commitment, the French Army was no longer a vassal army in the NATO organization. The French Army was able to conduct complex operations alone including first entry in conflict zones. The price to pay for the French army was important: 89 dead, 700 wounded and many soldiers with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The French army involvement uncertain heritage
Since 2014, many war veterans have left the French army. For example, in a French engineers company deployed in Surobi in 2011, only 15 % of veterans left in the unit less than one year later. Micro-parks of equipment are also difficult to maintain in complete operational condition. The French Army Road Clearence Package is losing some important vehicle like Buffalo truck or MRAP “Aravis”, for example. Spare parts are missing to repair Buffalo truck. They are no longer available on the US supply chain. That’s why French army must once again renew its combat equipment. Meanwhile, the French soldiers have less time to train. They are involving in intense foreign deployments and homeland security missions. Combined combat trainings are difficult to plan. As a conclusion, we can say that main benefits from this war were reaped in Mali during the “Serval operation” (January 2013). The French Army took on a new stature with Afghanistan involvement amongst its allies. But the future remains uncertain.
Dr. Christophe Lafaye
Select bibliography (in French)
Douady Y (sergent), D’une guerre à l’autre. De la Côte d’Ivoire à l’Afghanistan avec le 2e RIMA, Paris, Nimrod, 2012, 380 p.
Ferraro A., Trahison sanglante en Afghanistan: 20 janvier 2012, massacre de militaires français à Gwan, Paris, Publibook, 2015, 452 p.
Haberey G (Colonel), Combats asymétriques en Afghanistan, Paris, Nuvis, 200 p.
Jauffret JC, La guerre inachevée. Afghanistan 2001-2013, Paris, Autrement, 2013, 345 p
Larouziere-Montlosier G (de), Journal de Kaboul, Paris, Bleu Autour, 2009, 202 p
Lafaye C., L’armée française en Afghanistan : le génie au combat (2001-2012), Paris, CNRS éditions / ministère de la Défense, 19 mai 2016, 502 p
Senetaire R (Colonel), Les aigles dans la vallée, Paris, Editions Mélibée, 2013, 252 p
Trinquier R. (Colonel), La Guerre moderne, Paris, Economica, 2009 (réed.)
Lafaye C., «Des montagnes de Surobi à la salle d’honneur du 19e régiment du génie. Construction et transmission de la mémoire de l’engagement français en Afghanistan», WALTER Jacques et FLEURY Béatrice (sous Dir.), Vies d'objets, souvenirs de guerre, Metz, Editions universitaires de Lorraine, décembre 2015, p 199-215.
Lafaye C., « Le génie au combat en Afghanistan. La formation des troupes afghanes. Exemple des missions ELMO appuis ». BRUYERE-OSTELLS Walter et DUMASY François (sous dir.), Pratiques militaires et globalisation aux XIXe et XXe siècles, Aix-en-Provence, mars 2014, Ed. Bernard Giovanangeli, p 113-127.
Lafaye C., « L’armée française en Afghanistan (2001-2012) : la collecte de l’expérience combattante au service de l’histoire des opérations militaires », Inflexions, Paris, octobre 2017, p 203-212.
Lafaye C., « L'armée française en Afghanistan: le génie et la contre-insurrection du XXIe siècle », Revue Historique des Armées, n°284, Paris, octobre 2016, p 64-74
Lafaye C., « Le génie dans la guerre en montagne. Le 2e REG en Afghanistan », DSI, hors série n°46, février-mars 2016, p 38-42.
Lafaye C., « La campagne d'été 2011 de l'armée française en Afghanistan. Regards de combattants (le BG Quinze-deux 2ème partie) », Les Cahiers d'Histoire Immédiate, n°47, Toulouse, 2015
Lafaye C., « La campagne d'été 2011 de l'armée française en Afghanistan. Regards de combattants (le BG Raptor - 1ère partie) », Les Cahiers d'Histoire Immédiate, n°46, Toulouse, 2014.
Lafaye C., « L’adaptation du génie à la lutte contre-guérilla. De l’Indochine à l’Afghanistan : le génie face aux EEI », DSI, hors série n°36, juin-juillet 2014.
Lafaye C., «L’emploi de l’arme du génie en contre-insurrection : la fouille opérationnelle en Afghanistan». Revue Historique des Armées, n°3/2012, Paris, septembre 2012.
Lafaye C., Le génie en Afghanistan (2001-2012). Adaptation d’une arme en situation de contre-insurrection. Hommes, matériel, emploi, Thèse de doctorat en histoire réalisé sous la direction du LCL Rémy Porte, Université Aix-Marseille, soutenue le 19 janvier 2014.
. Sources: LAFAYE C., L’armée française en Afghanistan. Le génie au combat, Paris, CNRS éditions, 2016, 512 p and avril 2017, 184 p. FORT 0. (Colonel), Afghanistan : les enseignements de l’opération Pamir (2001-2014), Paris, Cahier du RETEX, avril 2017, 184 p.
. “A generic security course of action which consists in neutralizing an organization resorting armed violence either under the form of guerilla warfare or militarized terrorism in urban areas. Such goal is achieved either by limiting the organization freedom of maneuver by denying or confining effects or by destroying it through reduction and disintegration effects. This kind of fight, which can be of varying degrees of intensity, depends on political option favored and the relative combat power in the field”. EMP 60.641, Glossary of Military Terms, Acronyms and Symbols; Paris, 2013, p 167-168.
. Jauffret JC, La guerre inachevée. Afghanistan 2001-2013, Paris, Autrement, 2013, p 205.
. Lafaye C., « Le génie au combat en Afghanistan. La formation des troupes afghanes. Exemple des missions ELMO appuis ». BRUYERE-OSTELLS Walter et DUMASY François (sous dir.), Pratiques militaires et globalisation aux XIXe et XXe siècles, Aix-en-Provence, mars 2014, Ed. Bernard Giovanangeli, p 113-127.
. Larouziere-Montlosier G (de), Journal de Kaboul, Paris, Bleu Autour, 2009, 202 p
. “Ability to rapidly change the style of action undertaken, depending on the overall attitude of the opponent, especially in order to keep an operation at the lowest possible level of intensity”, EMP 60.641, Glossary of Military Terms, Op. Cit., p 433.
. Ten soldiers were killed by the Taliban during this ambush.
. Douady Y (Sergent), D’une guerre à l’autre. De la Côte d’Ivoire à l’Afghanistan avec le 2e RIMA, Paris, Nimrod, 2012, 380 p.
. Senetaire R (Colonel), Les aigles dans la vallée, Paris, Editions Mélibée, 2013, 252 p
 Haberey G (Colonel), Combats asymétriques en Afghanistan, Paris, Nuvis, 200 p.
. Ferraro A., Trahison sanglante en Afghanistan: 20 janvier 2012, massacre de militaires français à Gwan, Paris, Publibook, 2015, 452 p.
. Interview with General Jean-Louis Georgelin in Paris (July 2012).
. « Action designed to detect and counteract subversion”, EMP 60.641, Glossary of Military Terms, Op. Cit., p 168.
. Trinquier R. (Colonel), La Guerre moderne, Paris, Economica, 2009 (réed.)
. 1st African armored infantry regiment.
. Fort 0. (colonel), Afghanistan : les enseignements de l’opération Pamir, Op. Cit., p 107.