News: ANA soldiers increase counter-improvised explosive device skills
Story by Staff Sgt. Jacqueline Fitzgerald
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Learning how to counter improvised explosive devices has always been a priority for members of the Afghan National Army, and now they are increasing their capabilities through training on new equipment.
Forty ANA soldiers trained on new up-armored, mobile tactical vehicles at Forward Operating Base Thunder throughout August 2013. The new vehicles are designed to push and operate the mine roller devices and replace the Humvees the ANA are using.
“There are lots of benefits from the mine rollers because we use them on the road in front of our vehicle,” said ANA Sgt. Samiullah, 4th Brigade, 203rd “Thunder” Corps. “If something is going to happen, it won’t happen to us; it will directly hit the mine rollers. We will be safe in the vehicle.”
The two-week course was taught by civilian contractors, who are technical experts in counter-IED tactics. Upon completion of the course the ANA soldiers became trainers themselves as they took the lessons learned back to their brigades to share the knowledge with their fellow soldiers.
“I’m 100 percent comfortable with the training I’ve learned here,” said Samiullah. “I can do the training myself and I am able to teach others about it, as well.”
The course is broken down into two phases: a driving portion meant to familiarize ANA with the new UAMTVs and their capabilities, and a mine roller maintenance and operation section where soldiers learn how to fix the machines after an incident.
As the enemies of Afghanistan continue to use IEDs as their number one attack option, these new UAMTVs give the ANA a better opportunity to conduct missions safely.
The new vehicles will be used for the first time by the ANA during the upcoming security operation Nijat III.
“It’s very important we learn these things,” said ANA Sgt. Rahmanullah Laghmani, 1st Brigade, 203rd “Thunder” Corps. “[This training] is going to help us out and give us capabilities to save our countrymen.”