One of the generally unpublicized “secret weapons” American troops have in Afghanistan is much better Winter clothing. This often proves critical, especially in the hilly areas of Afghanistan, where it gets extremely cold. So cold, that the Taliban cannot handle it, while the better equipped Americans can.
The Afghans don’t normally have cold weather clothing for this sort of thing. There traditional solution, during these days, or weeks, of very cold weather, is to stay inside as much as possible, and try to keep the fires going. But when the Americans come out to fight in the Cold Weather, the Taliban gunmen have a choice between staying home and possibly getting arrested, or going out to the hills and getting frostbite, or worse. Some U.S. commanders pray for really cold weather when Taliban are being sought. That’s because the Taliban can stay hidden, up in the hills, for a while. But if it get cold enough, they either have to come down to the village (and risk capture or death), or stay up there, and endure cold injuries, or worse.
American Army cold weather gear has been getting better for decades. But it was about two years ago that it was realized that the latest stuff (the “Generation III” set) was really outstanding. It kept you warm, even if you were running around in freezing weather and working up a sweat. And it wasn’t bulky or itchy. It was good, no great, stuff.