News: Recognize and stay alive
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - CJTF Paladin taught Afghan National Security Forces to identify IED threats during a counter-IED training session in Parwan province, Afghanistan, July 2.
“IEDs are the number one killer of coalition forces and Afghan National Security Forces in the country.”
A powerful statement that grabbed the attention of everyone gathered at the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Charikar in Afghanistan’s Parwan province. Just as it was intended to do.
U.S. Army Master Sgt. Andrew Bullock was the instructor who made the statement during the recent Counter-Improvised Explosive Device training session for more than 20 Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security personnel. Bullock is a member of Combined Joint Task Force Paladin’s training section.
“This training will help us keep alive and go home to our families,” Bullock said. “We all want to find the things that go ‘boom’ on us.”
Afghanistan has entered Tranche 5, the fifth and final transition phase which will result in ANSF exerting full security responsibility by the end of 2014. As responsibility for Afghan security transitions to the ANSF, training such as this becomes even more important, said U.S. Army Capt. Ryan Johnson, a Combined Joint Task Force-101 military adviser who’s been working with the ANSF in Parwan Province for several months.
“Everything we can do to increase their capabilities and confidence is value added.”
Speaking through an interpreter, Bullock spent the day describing different types of IEDs and their components before moving outside to explain visible signs that could indicate an IED has been placed in the area. He also explained patrol maneuvers ANSF members can use to safely move through areas where an IED is suspected, to cordon off the area to keep both the patrol members and the civilian population safe, and to safeguard evidence that could lead to the bomb-maker’s capture.
CJTF Paladin is a multinational, theater-wide task force that is responsible for coalition counter-IED operations and training in Afghanistan.
The recent ANSF training session was basic familiarization, Bullock said, and was not designed to teach the ANSF forces how to defuse the devices.
“We want to get them to the point where they can identify IEDs before they detonate,” Bullock said. “We want them to be able to recognize areas that cause concern before rushing in.”
CJTF Paladin and Coalition Forces instructors also conduct courses of training above the familiarization level for ANSF. Courses run from the week-long train-the-trainer, where ANSF members are given the knowledge and skills to teach counter-IED familiarization to their own forces; to months-long courses taught by the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan that can qualify students as Explosive Ordnance Disposal team leaders.
“We give the ANSF some knowledge and tools we’ve painfully gained over the years so they can safely operate in the lead,” Bullock said.
While this training session only covered the basics, the ANSF members who received it believed it was very worthwhile.
“Today we learned a lot to be very successful,” said Col. Hussein, an NDS member who completed the training. “We appreciate the forces of NATO. They help us a lot, and we hope we can continue the courses in the future.”