FORT POLK, La. (Army News Service, Oct. 30, 2006) - Forty two members of the Afghan National Army and police arrived at the Joint Readiness Training Center here Oct. 23, to begin working side by side with the 82nd Airborne Division family, 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Bragg, N.C.

They have been conducting combat patrols and convoys as part of a training exercise, which allows them to rehearse their missions in a simulated combat environment by testing their skills under stressful conditions. The Afghan soldiers and police officers have been doing this training by embedding in groups of 10 with each of the brigade's battalions.

"The presence of Afghan troops with the 4th BCT units during the training rotation will greatly enhance the joint operations in Afghanistan," said Maj. Neil Harper, operations group public affairs officer. "The combined training mission will allow units from both countries an opportunity to learn how to coordinate and synchronize operations between forces."

He said the Afghan troops will be operating throughout the JRTC training area demonstrating how they work in Afghanistan.

"They will add realism to the training by making it necessary for the 4th BCT Soldiers and Afghan troops to coordinate with one another as they will be expected to do in Afghanistan," Harper added. "The training will incorporate real-world problems for the units to work through while preparing and conducting combat operations as well as humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan."

JRTC achieves realism by linking to current theaters of operation and immediately incorporating lessons learned, and merging tactics, techniques and procedures, threats, along with best practices into the training scenarios, Harper pointed out.

"The Afghan soldiers and policemen came here to train and are motivated to train," said Capt. Elijah Dreher, who works with the Afghan army. "They are doing extremely well."

The 4th BCT and the Afghan soldiers and policemen will transition into the force-on-force phase of JRTC Nov. 1. In this phase, the rotational unit will put their training to use by actively engaging an opposing force.