LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Throughout history, conflicts have been won and lost based on the successful or unsuccessful flow of information. These days, having the upper hand in that information-flow means knowing your way around a computer.
First Brigade, 201st Afghan National Army Corps’ soldiers took a big step toward fighting on the digital landscape when they graduated Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam’s basic computer course, Sept. 1.
“Communication is key to everything that you do, especially to what the 1st Brigade’s mission is, so this makes me happy. It’s a very good thing,” said Fairview Heights, Ill. native, U.S. Army Capt. Matthew Allison, signal adviser to 1st Brigade, with 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, Team Laghman.
The course was seven weeks long and covered a range of computer functions and programs like the Microsoft Office Suite.
Computer literacy has become one of the focal points for training in this brigade. The education has provided a big confidence boost to the graduates in a country where the ability to read and write, much less operate a computer, is not a common skill.
“Right now I’m very happy and I feel proud that I’ve learned the computer,” said ANA Capt. Turan Niazullan. “Before, I would wait for hours for a computer operator to write something or do something and now I can do everything myself and fix my own problems.”
The graduates were also given the mission of taking the knowledge they learned in the course and becoming internal instructors for the other soldiers in their unit.
Niazullah said now he understands how important computers can be to the ANA’s campaign to protect their country and he is happy to teach others the skills he learned over the past seven weeks.
Brig. Gen. Qadaii Noorullah, 1st Brigade’s commander, wants to integrate computers into as many systems as he can, to make operations in the unit run more efficiently.
“In every single office we need a computer operator,” said Noorullah, during the graduation. “The computer is very important in this era and I want everybody to learn it.”
In order to achieve that goal, the brigade plans to continue offering the course to its soldiers. At the time of the graduation ceremony, the brigade was already preparing for the next iteration.
“This is a very good opportunity for the ANA. We have good teachers for the computer, we have different classes and we can provide good conditions for the classes,” said Noorullah.
He added that he wanted the graduates to not be satisfied with their current level of computer knowledge. His wish is for them to continue to take different classes and seek out more computer education.
Team Laghman, who runs the basic computer course, is a part of 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Patriot.