By 1st Lt. Cari ButlerSeptember 29, 2012
TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - The Explosives Hazard Reduction Course in Uruzgan province is breaking barriers and taking another progressive step forward with a historical new addition to its training program. For the first time in history the Explosives Hazard Reduction Instructor Course in Uruzgan was facilitated and taught by Afghan soldiers.
This was not just another EHRC; this was the first instructor course conducted since the program began in July 2010 at Multi National Base Tarin Kot. Afghan National Army senior noncommissioned officers had previously participated as assistant instructors to the coalition forces, but this course formalizes instructors as part of the transition of leadership of the EHRC.
The program was designed to provide Afghan forces the ability to train personnel to dispose of improvised explosive devices and unexploded ordnance without coalition support. To further enhance the ability of the ANA to generate this training, a senior ANA sergeant was identified to be mentored through the role of course manager, and took on responsibility for the administration and coordination of the training.
"This is the first instructor course, the previous courses were just teaching the students common course work," said Staff Sgt. Muhibullah, the course manager and engineering company sergeant major of 4th Kandak, 4th Brigade, 205th Corps ANA.
Nine newly-trained Afghan instructors from 4th Brigade ANA graduated from the EHR instructor course, Aug. 16.
"This course was very effective, because it was the instructor course," Muhibullah said. "We are learning a lot of teaching methods in this course that are going to help in the future, where our instructors will train the students. It will be very good for the ANA as well."
As coalition mentors take a more advisory role in Afghanistan it is becoming increasingly important that Afghan National Security Forces can sustain their own training programs.
"There are other counter IED schools in Afghanistan, but this course was for 4th Brigade ANA, who require more teachers for the large amount of soldiers who need this training," Muhibullah said.
Although this course only included ANA, it is in no way exclusive to the ANA. The commonly conducted 21-day EHRC is open to all Afghan National Security Forces.
"It doesn't really matter what group they are working with," said Muhibullah, "National Directorate of Security, Afghan Uniformed Police, commandos, Afghan Army, for any type of student that attends our classes we are trying to show them the way."
Plans for upcoming classes are already in the works.
"The next course is going to be shortly after Ramadan and we are trying to prepare for it," said Muhibullah. "We are also planning more of these instructor courses in the future because it will take more instructors to get the Afghan security forces trained."
Muhibullah expressed his gratitude toward the coalition forces for evolving this training program to such an advanced state.
"I want to say thank you to all of the coalition assistance in our training," said Muhibullah. "I appreciate everything that has been done because in the future we will be able to train more quality students because of the work they put into this program."