Afghan officer shares first-hand knowledge at Fort Hood
June 10, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas, June 13, 2011 -- Leaders of the 57th Signal Battalion, 3rd Signal Brigade, soon to be deploying in phases to Afghanistan, had the opportunity to talk with an officer in the Afghan army June 3, 2011, at the III Corps Headquarters.
Koshal Sadat, a major in the Afghan Special Forces, made a pit stop through Fort Hood, Texas, to visit his friend, Lt. Col. Patricia Collins, before continuing on to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he’ll attend the U.S. Army Command & General Staff School Intermediate Level Education, which is designed to develop officers for command of large units and staff assignments.
During his visit to Fort Hood, Sadat offered up any knowledge that might be useful to the inquisitive Soldiers.
Capt. Scott Bailey, 57th Sig. Bn., said that being able to talk with Sadat helped him to see the bigger picture of the situation in Afghanistan.
“It’s very helpful to get a perspective on their thoughts and views of the U.S. and of NATO in that area,” Bailey said. “I think a lot of times you’re inside your own little cubicle, and it’s harder to see other people’s perspective.”
He said that it’s always good to hear from the source what their opinions are on what we are doing.
“I think it’s very positive, very reassuring,” he said. “His thoughts on how he thinks making the Afghan army stronger will in the long run help the Afghan people.”
Sadat grew up in Kabul, Afghanistan, under the rule of the Taliban, which he said wasn’t always easy.
“When I grew up under the Taliban, it was hard; it was tough,” Sadat said. “We didn’t have the opportunity to play soccer or go watch a movie. That was the biggest crime, watching a movie or listening to music.”
He described one situation growing up where he was stopped by the Taliban for having a cassette tape in his possession. He had been carrying the tape for a friend, he said, and didn’t even know what was on it. After the Taliban confiscated the tape, they went back to their vehicle to play it. Much to their surprise, the sounds of Michael Jackson began blaring from their speakers.
Sadat said that even with the Taliban’s heavy restrictions, a taste of American pop culture still spread to Afghanistan.
“Michael Jackson, even in the 80s, he was famous,” Sadat said. “I remember when I was a child, people used to talk about break dancing and all of this moon walking, and so on."
“I don’t necessarily know all of his albums and everything,” he added, “but the main ones are very catchy to people.”
Sadat graduated from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom in 2003, and he joined in with allied forces, first as an interpreter for the UK.
Sadat stated there were various reasons for joining in the fight.
“My dad was in the military in the 1970s. He was an Afghan air force pilot,” he said, noting that his grandfather was in the Afghan military, too. “So we have a military background.”
He added that another reason to join was because of what his country has been through.
“The people we are fighting against are the ones who (caused) a lot of bitter experiences that I have and our people have,” Sadat said.
Following his role as an interpreter, Sadat was taken on as the aide-de-camp by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former commander of the International Security Assistance Force, and he later remained in that position when Gen. David Petraeus took command of ISAF.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to work with both,” Sadat said. “They are the best American military leaders of our generation."
“The important thing I want to note is that they’re very hard workers. I learned a tremendous amount of experience from them,” he added.
During his meeting with the 57th Sig. Bn., he was asked of his thoughts on how the people of Afghanistan see the U.S. involvement in their country.
“They don’t want the Taliban. They want the U.S.,” Sadat said. “They just need more confidence in that the U.S. won’t leave too soon. It needs to be at time when they can fend for themselves.”
He said that a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces without a ready Afghanistan would be a success for the terrorists. He went on to say that the terrorists are constantly trying to annoy the U.S., with things like improvised explosive devices, in hopes that they’ll pick up and leave.
Sadat did mention that he was optimistic of how things will play out down the road.
“Things are going well, with ups and downs,” Sadat said. “There are quite a lot of challenges, but I’m optimistic. The U.S. plans and policy in the region will affect and determine the future of Afghanistan.”
The best case scenario, Sadat said, would be for Afghanistan to be a good partner for the U.S. in the region. He said that because of the culture of the Afghan people -- history being something highly valued -- the U.S. aid to their county would never be forgotten.
Sadat visited Texas for only a few days, but said he was excited to visit Air Force friends of his in Del Rio. They were planning on taking him out on a boat and out to shoot shotguns, he said. Ultimately, Sadat said he was just along for the ride.