By Staff Sgt. Elvis UmanzorJuly 7, 2013
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan (July 7, 2013) -- Afghan National Security Forces are stepping up, preparing and training, against improvised explosive devices as they take full responsibility for security ahead of the U.S. Forces scheduled drawdown in 2014.
Improvised explosive devices, known as IEDs, are bombs, constructed and deployed by many unpredictable methods, sometimes placed in public areas, and can be detonated by any person, including children, threatening the Afghan citizens' ability to move freely in their country.
According to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan's 2012 Annual Report on Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, IEDs remain the biggest conflict-related threat to the lives of Afghan children, women and men, and accounted for 33 percent of all Afghan civilian deaths and injuries in 2012.
In eastern Afghanistan, there are nine explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, teams with the 731st EOD Company, out of Fort Stewart, Ga., who support the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, and other coalition forces, to advise and assist Afghan security forces to safely detect and dispose of the overwhelming number of IEDs placed by the enemies of Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Jaminet, an Inverness, Fla., native, and 1st Lt. Brent Telle, an Austin, Texas, native, both EOD specialists with the 731st EOD Company, conducted an IED familiarization and hands-on course for Afghan army and police members on Forward Operating Base Shank, from June 17 to July 4.
The course was conducted to help prepare 19 members from the Afghan Local Police, Afghan National Civil Order Police, Afghan National Police, and Afghan National Army to successfully complete the 22-week Afghan EOD school.
During the three-week course, the U.S. advisers covered EOD equipment and tactics to exploit IEDs that included demolition and reconnaissance principles. They also conducted practical exercises with bomb suits, x-ray systems, counter-IED robots, IED detection equipment, and techniques to render safe an IED.
The training concluded with a cumulative event where the Afghan National Security Forces members went through a course and used everything they learned during the class to complete the event.
Capt. Ashley Philbin, a Fort Stewart, Ga., resident, and the commander for 731st EOD Company, said it was important to know every part of the job because you never know what you are going to come across.
"It could be an IED, it could be [unexploded ordnance], it could be multiple ordnance you have to take care of," she said.
Afghan National Army, or ANA, Spc. Fatah Allah, a soldier with Route Clearance Company, 4th Infantry Brigade, 203rd Corps, said he looked forward to the course.
"It will add to my experience," he said. "It's important to find IEDs to help the people and secure the people of our country."
Jaminet, a platoon sergeant on his 3rd combat tour, said he didn't work with EOD certified ANA soldiers during his last tour in Afghanistan.
"The ANA were doing the EOD job, but they hadn't ever been through the school," he said. "We were training them the best we could and they were doing the best they could."
Jaminet said he was pleased there was an Afghan EOD school and more EOD technicians with the equipment they needed.
"Even after we go, they can keep training their own and produce their own EOD techs so they're not depending on us," he added.