New Afghan Army Counter-IED Team demonstrates skills

The Afghan Nation­al Army’s (ANA’s) new­ly-formed Counter-Impro­vised Explo­sive Device (C‑IED) Team recent­ly demon­strat­ed their pro­fi­cien­cy in front of the ANA’s 3/215 Brigade Com­man­der, Gen­er­al Sherin Shah, and Task Force Hel­mand Com­man­der, Brigadier Patrick Sanders.

An Afghan Nation­al Army sol­dier from the Counter-Impro­vised Explo­sive Device Team demon­strates his IED detec­tion skills [Pic­ture: Sergeant Steve Blake RLC, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

The demon­stra­tion was also watched by the Com­mand­ing Offi­cers of the UK’s Engi­neer­ing Group and the Explo­sive Ord­nance Dis­pos­al and Search Task Force who have been men­tor­ing the Afghan team.

The ANA’s C‑IED Team has been built up from bare foun­da­tions in just a few years.

There are now high­ly-trained C‑IED oper­a­tors and instruc­tion in C‑IED aware­ness for Afghan war­riors dur­ing their ini­tial train­ing.

In recog­ni­tion of how far they have come in such a short time, mem­bers of the ANA were pre­sent­ed with ISAF cer­tifi­cates of com­men­da­tion by Gen­er­al Sherin Shah.

Cap­tain Nathan Blencowe, Roy­al Engi­neers, is the British offi­cer men­tor­ing the ANA C‑IED Team. He said:

“Hav­ing suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed months of tech­ni­cal Explo­sive Ord­nance Dis­pos­al [EOD] train­ing at the Engi­neer­ing School in Mazar‑e Sharif, north­ern Afghanistan, the bravest and most com­pe­tent sol­diers are assigned to the most chal­leng­ing and busiest area of oper­a­tions, name­ly Hel­mand province.

“The high­ly skilled and coura­geous EOD oper­a­tors from 3/215 Brigade have been hon­ing their tech­niques along­side their ISAF coun­ter­parts for the last cou­ple of months and are now eager to deploy on their first inde­pen­dent oper­a­tion after much hard work.”

Lieu­tenant Colonel Jason Rhodes, the Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of Task Force Helmand’s EOD and Search Task Force, said the event had demon­strat­ed the progress being made by Afghan forces. He added:

“Sad­ly, the insur­gents’ employ­ment of IEDs is now com­mon­place; but we are devel­op­ing a new breed of Afghan bomb dis­pos­al heroes to join the fight over the com­ing months, and their progress is high­ly encour­ag­ing.

“We very much hope to accel­er­ate the selec­tion and deep­en the devel­op­ment of these police offi­cer and war­rior vol­un­teers who are keen to get on with the task and serve the com­mu­ni­ty. Proud, deter­mined and coura­geous, it is an hon­our and a priv­i­lege to serve along­side them.”

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK

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