ANSF EOD course gives new weapons in counter-IED fight
Fifty-four newly-qualified Afghan National Security Forces explosive ordnance disposal technicians graduated from the EOD course here, Thursday.
The course is meant to familiarize and test the students on basic EOD skills to give the ANSF an additional weapon in combating improvised explosive devices as well as provide a basis for more advanced counter-IED training.
“A student coming from this course is pretty much someone who’s able to identify hazards and UXOs, blow in place IEDs, and trained on basic search, detectors, and tools,” said EOD technician Chief Petty Officer Mario R. Sardina of Navy EOD Mobile Unit 6.
Following graduation from this course, some students have the opportunity to receive additional qualification.
“Some of the graduates will return to their units,” said Sardina. “The highest performing ones will return after Ramadan for the IEDD course.”
The improvised explosive device defeat course trains members in advanced counter-IED techniques. ANSF graduating from that course can go on to additional validation and serve as EOD team leaders.
ANA and ANP who are trained in combating IEDs give the ANSF a unique capability in combating the insurgency.
“The biggest problem in this war is the IED threat,” said Sardina. “Raising the numbers of [ANSF] who are trained [in dealing with IEDs] improves freedom of movement. Once they have freedom of movement they can go attack these guys instead of playing defense.”
Partnership efforts here have also come with their challenges that have had to be overcome.
“The biggest hurdle has been getting the ANSF to step into the lead,” said Sardina. They have the skills but sometimes they need help developing that confidence to take charge.
By passing on counter-IED skills to the ANSF, coalition partnership efforts here are making strides towards the end goal of the coalition’s mission.
“[This training] is going to get myself and other coalition forces out of the front line by letting the ANSF take the lead in counter-IED,” said Sardina. “It also builds an important relationship between the ANSF and ourselves.”
Navy EOD Mobile Unit 6 is part of Combined Joint Task Force Paladin which is responsible for theaterwide counter-IED operations and training.
Article by Lt.j.g. Andrew Carleen, Combined Joint Task Force Paladin