TANGI VALLEY, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army soldiers in Tangi Valley, Afghanistan are beginning to reap the rewards of their training with the Australian Army as the start of the spring season begins.

Afghans are not only taking the lead in combined combat operations, but they are also conducting a number of patrols completely on their own, said Australian Army Maj. Dave French, commanding officer, Combat Team C, Mentoring Task Force 2, Combined Team Uruzgan.

"We've seen them start to do patrols with no input from us and actually do them quite well," said French. "That's been a massive thing for us."

In the five months French and his mentoring team have been working with ANA Heavy Weapon Company, 1st Kandak (Battalion), 4th Brigade, 2nd Atal Corps, he said he has seen them go from a unit with little coordination, to a unit capable of advanced infantry tactics and complex nighttime operations with or without night-vision equipment.

"Working with the Australian troops, we improve day by day," said ANA Lt. Nasir Ahmad, platoon commander for Heavy Weapon Company, 1st Kandak, 4th Brigade, 2nd Atal Corps. "The Taliban, they get weaker day by day."

An example of Heavy Weapon Company's improvement occurred several weeks ago during a four-hour firefight, said Australian Army Capt. Byron McDonald, team leader for Combat Team C, MTF 2, CTU.

McDonald said Heavy Weapon Co. and Combat Team C were on a patrol to search a suspicious compound when they began taking fire from six different locations. While under fire, the ANA effectively moved across open ground, took up fighting positions and began to search their objective.

The Taliban retreated from the fight and the ANA returned to their base after completing their mission.

"The way the ANA performed during that patrol under fire - it just showed how far they've come since we started working with them," said McDonald. "The ANA commander took very good control over his section, and they did really well."

McDonald said even though the ANA is a very young Army, instances like these give him confidence they will be ready to fight the taliban on their own.
"These guys are keen - they want to learn, they take advice. I think this company has got a lot ahead of it," said French. "They've got a lot of decent fights coming up, but I think they'll continue to improve and do quite well."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16