News: ANSF and coalition hold meeting to discuss counter-IED issues
Story by Lt.j.g. Andrew Carleen
CAMOP JULIEN, Afghanistan - Leaders from the coalition and Afghan National Security Forces met here Monday and Tuesday to discuss issues and share information to aid in the fight against improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan.
The sixth counter-IED shura was attended by representatives from the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command as well as soldiers and police from the Afghan Ministry of Defense, the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the Afghan National Directorate of Security.
The objective of this seminar is to share information and coordinate between the various organizations and learn from the challenges and experiences of those in the field and to find solutions for their challenges, said Col. Sidiq of the MoI Intelligence branch during the opening comments.
The conference featured large group discussions and presentations in order to share information and collaborate on the way ahead in the fight against IEDs. It also afforded the opportunity for small-group breakout sessions for the various Afghan organizations present to discuss the issues they face.
“[The shura was] an opportunity for leaders from across the ANSF to discuss pertinent issues,” said Australian Royal Navy Lt. Cmdr. Matthew J. Carroll, the Counter-IED Branch Chief Exploitation officer for IJC. “The key topics included tactics, training, logistics and personnel issues.”
The conference helped to address some of the issues faced by the coalition and their ANSF partners in preparing the ANSF to take the lead on counter-IED operations.
“The major challenges have been training and equipping the force,” said Carroll. “[The conference] gave fielded forces the opportunity to provide feedback on these challenges.”
I am very happy with the high participation in this coming together of coalition and ANSF to work together and share experiences on counter-IED, said Col. Faiz Mohammad, the NDS Counter-IED director.
“It was a great opportunity to put everyone in the same room and see that the challenges are all the same,” said U.S. Army Capt. Konstantinos N. Tsilianos, the Combined Joint Task Force Paladin Partnering officer in charge. “It broadens your think tank for sharing ideas and experiences.”
CJTF Paladin is responsible for coalition counter-IED operations in theatre.
“Paladin provides sustainment training and mentorship of ANSF,” said Tsilianos. “Paladin EOD teams have validated 25 of 36 ANSF IED-defeat teams.”
This shura was the first where the ANSF took the lead on organizing and planning the event and the coalition provided logistical support.
“It was good to see the ANSF take the lead,” said Tsilianos. “They arranged the shura and took the lead on the shura. They are taking the lead on counter-IED while we are moving into the backseat and providing more of an overwatch.”
“This is essential for the coalition as we’re guiding the ANSF to take the front seat in guiding their own affairs,” said Carroll.
The shura concluded with a certificate presentation ceremony to recognize ANSF soldiers and police as well as coalition representatives who helped to organize of the event.
“You are the tip of the spear in the counter-IED fight,” said Tsilianos addressing the ANSF present at the conference.
“This has been a challenging but rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to the MoD taking the lead in future events and in the overall fight against IEDs,” said Carroll.