Hogg is the head of Afghan commando training and he briefed us on a number of topics, including the units' record retention rates, tough anti-drug policy and rigorous training standards.
One of the things I was interested in was how the US military and the Afghan commando partners in the Special Forces were outfitting their high-speed allies and what sorts of "enablers" are they afforded for operations.
Hogg said that when the Afghan commando "Kandaks," or battalions, work with US forces, they get the support of AC-130 gunships and fighter jet CAS. The commandos have started operating recently with Afghan Air Corps Mi-17 medium lift helos and have an inventory of nine Mi-35s (the fearsome 'Hind' gunship) which he says the military is phasing out for a western replacement (he didn't let on to what that might be).
In terms of person weaponry, Hogg said he's outfitted the commados like a "light infantry" unit, with 60mm mortar tubes, M4 carbines and M249 and M240 light and medium machine guns. He said they've got a cohort of trained snipers (probably using Dragonov rifles) and are equipped with "basic uparmored Humvees."
"I think what you'll see is as we form a special ops type division, we'll maintain basic, light infantry-type equipment ... and that's really what we're looking for in terms of commando equipment," Hogg said. "And they get some other Gucci equipment that the rest of the Army does not get but because of the amount of training these guys get they need it for their operations."
You can see from the picture above, the kandaks have personal i-comm radios, body armor, special chest rigs, high-speed packs and other "Gucci" gear. Hogg said the commandos also have a few-generation-old NVG capability and their rifles are equipped with illuminators, etc. for operating at night.