Many cell systems still receive, with due attention to security, support from the outside. This can range from leaders, trainers and supplies (e.g., the Jedburgh assistance to the French Resistance), or a safe haven for overt activities (e.g., NLF spokesmen in Hanoi).
External support need not be overt. Certain Shi'a groups in Iraq, for example, do receive assistance from Iran, but this is not a public position of the government of Iran, and may even be limited to factions of that government. Early US support to the Afghan Northern Alliance against the Taliban used clandestine operators from both the CIA and United States Army Special Forces. As the latter conflict escalated, the US participation became overt.
Note that both unconventional warfare (UW) (i.e., guerilla operations) and foreign internal defense (FID) (i.e., counterinsurgency) may be covert and use cellular organization.
In a covert FID mission, only selected host nation (HN) leaders are aware of the foreign support organization. Under Operation White Star, US personnel gave covert FID assistance to the Royal Lao Army starting in 1959, became overt in 1961, and ceased operations in 1962.
Read more about this topic: Clandestine Cell System
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