Afghan Army work with UK mentors

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Afghan Army work with UK mentors

Post by Guest on Wed 12 Mar 2008, 6:56 pm


Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (2 YORKS) are advising and mentoring the Afghan National Army (ANA) on ways to fight the Taliban.

The ANA is very much in its infancy and 2 YORKS (known as the Warriors) has been called upon to pass on the countless years of experience that the British Army has to offer.

The 2 YORKS Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team (OMLT), who operate out of the ANA's own Camp Shorabak, work in seven-man sections, integrated into ANA company-sized units in Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and Patrol Bases (PBs) throughout the whole of Helmand Province. Here they advise the Afghan commanders on tactics and patrolling methods to fight the Taliban in the demanding terrain that is Afghanistan.

The ANA are already a well respected Army in the region, and the training they receive from British soldiers only adds to their professionalism and determination.

Major James Bryden,Officer Commanding A Company 2 YORKS, is at the centre of the OMLT in Musa Qaleh. He regularly has meetings with senior ANA commanders to discuss the mentoring provided by his troops and to plan future operations against the Taliban. He said:

"The main threat in Musa Qaleh is from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and suicide bombers, though we have been in a number of firefights with the Taliban too.

"It is against suicide bombers and IEDs that the ANA really excel. The ANA soldiers have an uncanny ability to spot IEDs. They are able to spot the slightest suspicious indicator - whether that is someone acting strangely, or a piece of disturbed ground.

"A suicide bomber attacked my headquarters recently. It was two very brave ANA soldiers who, acting on the tip-off from a local shopkeeper, challenged him, forcing him to detonate himself 100m from the HQ, killing himself and injuring both of the ANA.

"Also the local population trust the ANA and sometimes offer valuable information to us, which has undoubtedly saved lives. We seek to integrate their popularity and ever increasing ability with our experience in fighting counter-insurgency operations such as this."

The 2 YORKS sections consist of an Officer or Warrant Officer as the commander, with a Sergeant as the second-in-command, and a mixture of four Junior Non-Commissioned Officers and private soldiers.

Lieutenant Craig Dawson, Commander of PB South in Musa Qaleh, said:

"This is possibly one of the hardest jobs I have ever had to do throughout my army career. I have to use a translator to communicate with the ANA both in the PB and out on patrol, so everything takes that little bit longer."

Major Bryden added:

"This job is not without its frustrations but it is a fascinating and exciting role. My men operate and fight alongside the ANA in small teams in remote locations and the bonds that develop between us and our Afghan comrades are outstanding. None of us shall forget this experience."

The ANA supported by a team from the OMLT recently completed multiple searches in the area of Musa Qaleh, uncovering Taliban weapons caches hidden in compounds, Taliban and Al Qaeda propaganda, and explosive devices, including parts for IEDs and an Anti-Aircraft Gun.

Provided By: MOD - http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/MilitaryOperations/AfghanArmyWorkWithUkMentors.htm

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