KAJAKI, Afghanistan - Seventeen members of the Afghan National Security Forces graduated the Explosive Hazards Reduction Course at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugee here, April 4.
The graduation ceremony was held in conjunction with a local security shura, or meeting, at the Kajaki District Center. Local leaders from the Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniform Police and Afghan National Civil Order of Police were in attendance.
Nine soldiers with the ANA and eight policemen with the AUP attended the two-week EHRC course, where they learned how to detect and remove improvised explosive devices.
During the course, students received advanced training in detecting and disposing of IEDs, accident investigation techniques and evidence collection. The students also trained hands-on with Composite C-4, or plastic explosives, and learned how to detonate unexploded ordnance using controlled detonations.
According to Maj. Burke Eltringham, the officer in charge of the U.S. Marine-led Police Advisor Team, the course was held because improvised devices arbitrarily kill civilians and soldiers alike.
In Kajaki District, IEDs remain the greatest threat to the Afghan population, police and military. Last week alone, the Afghan Uniform Police discovered three homemade explosives inside an abandoned compound near Outpost Qazi Kheyl. The ANA also discovered an emplaced IED near an entrance to one of their bases.
“By having this course, it provides the Afghan Security Forces with their own organic capability to reduce security threats in the area,” said Eltringham.
Capt. Haji Faizullah, Kajaki District police chief, agrees with Eltringham. He said policemen who graduate from the course will become instrumental to both the AUP and the community.
“Many of these police officers will move to outposts where improvised explosive devices are a reality,” said Faizullah. “Their technical knowledge of removing [the devices] will be of great assistance.”
According to Eltringham, sustainment will be important to the growth and longevity of the Afghan National Security Forces.
“Improvised explosive devices are cheap and their impact has devastating effect on the community,” said Eltringham. When coalition forces leave Afghanistan, the [ANSF’s] ability to reduce this threat is a key part of ensuring a secure future for the people here, he said.