TARIN KOT, Afghanistan (Army News Service, June 15, 2012) -- Coalition and Afghan National Army Soldiers worked together on an unexploded ordnance range here, June 14, to conduct training that is moving Afghan forces closer to independence.

The range was a small part of a block of training called the Explosive Hazards Reduction Course, designed to teach ANA soldiers the dangers of explosives and how to properly handle them. The goal of the training is to teach Afghans how to train other Afghans.

"These basic demolitions skills will further them in their career in the Afghan Army, as well as teach them skills that will help the Afghan people with the freedom of movement and safety," said an Air Force explosive ordnance disposal technician who helped in the training.

Present at the range were two ANA soldiers who have already gone through the program and are now helping to train their own.

"In the past, the coalition was my teacher and now I am the teacher helping my soldiers learn what they need to keep Afghanistan safe," said ANA Sgt. Mohib Buaallah, an explosive ordnance disposal technician. "We are improving our country by collecting and clearing [unexploded ordnance]."

Afghanistan is a country riddled with danger in the form of UXOs, and many Afghans have had to grow up next to that ever-present danger.

"The ANA we are training with are pretty good already," said Australian Cpl. Stuart Morrissey, a combat engineer with the 3rd Royal Australian Regiment. "Some have been doing this for years in one way or another, so this training is really to show them the safe and proper way of doing things."

Morrissey said the ANA are showing that they are capable of maintaining safety in their own environment.

"People need to realize that the ANA are very intelligent," Morrissey said. "They might not have the same book smarts as you or me, but hands-on they are very proficient, and Western culture needs to be aware of that."

As the Western world takes notice, Buaallah wants his soldiers to stand tall and listen up.

"The soldiers in my class better pay attention, because the world is watching," said Buaallah. "They are learning skills that will give us a better future."

(Spc. Nevada Jack Smith writes for the 117th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Page last updated Fri June 15th, 2012 at 17:36