PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – In the remote mountains of the eastern Paktika Province, improvised explosive devices continue to be one of the primary methods used by insurgents to attack coalition forces.
Methods of implementing IEDs are constantly changing and the counter IED training is constantly evolving right along with them.
Members of the Afghan Uniformed Police along with soldiers from the 554th Military Police Company out of Stuttgart, Germany, held a counter IED exercise at Combat Outpost Zerok, March 15.
Their goal, according to U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class J. Scott Herring, 554th MP Co., platoon sergeant, is to teach the AUP to react to and implement counter measures when encountering an IED. They are also trying to develop members of their AUP counterparts to be instructors in the future.
“We walked them through an IED lane and taught them what to look for and be aware of and how to fully react to the situation,” said Herring. “We try to get them to react like it’s a real life situation and get them to move a safe distance away from the deadly range of the IED.”
One member of the AUP currently being groomed for the role of instructor is Asadullah Shabaz, a radio telephone operator for the AUP. Shabaz has trained with the Polish MP’s and is very knowledgeable in the Zerok district about enemy protocol.
“It was very good training and I’m glad we are doing this training,” said Shabaz. “In this area we frequently face IED’s and we need to know how to react properly when we encounter one. I will be very happy to train my own AUP counterparts; it is a very big opportunity for me.
Herring said that Shabaz helped them by giving them insight into the methods used by insurgents in the area, methods that even they were not aware of.
“The whole idea is to make these guys self-sufficient and what better way to do that then to teach some of them to be instructors,” said Herring.
U.S. Army Sgt. Ricardo Mercado, 554th MP Co., who hails from Philadelphia, helped conduct the IED lane.
“I love coming out here and training these guys, they are very willing to learn and we have a great rapport, they respect us and we respect them,” said Mercado.