Training Brings Counterinsurgency Strategy to Afghans

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2010 — Afghan mil­i­tary lead­ers will have to bor­row from the Amer­i­can anti-insur­gency hand­book to main­tain secu­ri­ty with­in their country’s bor­ders after NATO’s Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force turns secu­ri­ty respon­si­bil­i­ty over to them.

Army Col. Chad­wick W. Clark is the man in charge of mak­ing sure that hap­pens.

Dur­ing an Oct. 26 “DOD Live” blog­gers round­table, Clark — direc­tor of coun­terin­sur­gency train­ing for NATO Train­ing Mis­sion Afghanistan and Com­bined Secu­ri­ty Tran­si­tion Com­mand Afghanistan — dis­cussed the train­ing cen­ter he runs and how it enhances the capa­bil­i­ty of coali­tion and Afghan forces and Afghan gov­ern­ment agen­cies.

“Our task is to work with the [Afghan forces] to increase capa­bil­i­ty and capac­i­ty through train­ing, doc­trine, work­ing through, by and with the Afghan nation­al secu­ri­ty forces,” he said. “That’s our pri­ma­ry mis­sion.”

The train­ing cen­ter, based at Camp Julien in the Afghan cap­i­tal of Kab­ul, runs a few cours­es for NATO and Afghan forces alike. In addi­tion to the basic coun­terin­sur­gency course, the cen­ter offers a “train-the-train­er” course for train­ers from NATO nations and for Afghan instruc­tors. Mobile train­ing teams deploy across Afghanistan as well, edu­cat­ing troops in the field.

But the train­ing isn’t just a basic course learned over a few weeks of class­room work, Clark said. It’s become an inte­gral part of the req­ui­site knowl­edge for mil­i­tary lead­ers in Afghanistan. Between spe­cif­ic train­ing giv­en by the coun­terin­sur­gency train­ing cen­ter and the train­ing giv­en at basic train­ing, non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer acad­e­mies, offi­cer schools and the Afghan Defense Uni­ver­si­ty, a lot of peo­ple are learn­ing how to bat­tle an insur­gency, he explained.

“Think of [coun­terin­sur­gency] train­ing as part of every lev­el of edu­ca­tion for both offi­cers and enlist­ed, from the time that they come in, both the army and police,” Clark said. Afghan police have 1,200 to 1,300 train­ing seats in the police, and anoth­er 20,000 go to Afghan sol­diers.

Of those, only a small por­tion – between 200 and 240 – are trained at the coun­terin­sur­gency train­ing cen­ter each month, although an upcom­ing expan­sion should dou­ble that num­ber, Clark said.

In the last 10 months, Clark said, the cen­ter and its mobile train­ing teams have trained more than 20,000 coali­tion per­son­nel, about 14,000 of whom were from the Afghan forces and 500 of whom were civil­ians. As their train­ing expands, Clark said, the effort will be able to focus increas­ing­ly on train­ing Afghans.

“Some of the coali­tion forces had doc­trine and pre­de­ploy­ment train­ing; some did­n’t,” Clark said. “So in order to get every­body on a lev­el play­ing field, they had folks come through the train­ing cen­ter here at Julien. Now, we’re begin­ning to export a lot of that train­ing back to home sta­tion in a course that meets the [Inter­na­tion­al Secu­ri­ty Assis­tance Force] commander’s intent for pr-deploy­ment train­ing, and we’re going to change our focus to [Afghan secu­ri­ty forces] while train­ing the army, the police, and then oth­er agen­cies that par­tic­i­pate or are on the bat­tle­field for coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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