Afghan Soldiers become joint fires observers


Sgt. David L. Nye
4th Bde. Combat Team, 82nd Abn. Div. PAO

ZHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan – 20 Soldiers with the Afghan National Army’s 3rd Brigade, 205th Infantry Corps celebrated their graduation from the Advanced Observer Course June 21 in Zharay District after proving themselves capable of directing fires in Afghanistan. The observers graduating the two-week class are now certified to call for fires, a general term for methods of engaging enemy targets from far away such as artillery or air strikes.
Comprised of 19 noncommissioned officers and 1 commissioned officer, the class went through a curriculum focusing on the responsibilities of fires observers including planning fire support for operations, coordinating the support, locating targets and reporting from the battlefield. They also trained on skills necessary for observers such as map reading, land navigation, Afghan artillery systems, maintaining observation posts and establishing communications networks for observers.
The students were selected for their skills in map reading, directing fires, English and leadership traits. Leadership capabilities will be especially important for this class as Afghanistan is still establishing procedures for close air support and other fires support. The Soldiers of this class will be involved in developing techniques, tactics and procedures for joint fire support in Afghanistan.
To graduate, students had to pass two written exams, a graded simulation mission and a practical exercise.

By Voice of After The War

ISAF Statement on Insurgent Attack at Kabul Area Hotel 2012-06-CA-009


KABUL, Afghanistan (June 22, 2012) – The following is a statement from Gen. John R. Allen, commander, International Security Assistance Force, in regard to the attack on Spozhmai Hotel west of Kabul City. This attack resulted in the deaths of a number of Afghan civilians, and others being taken hostage.

“This latest attack comes after insurgents failed to disrupt the recent Heart of Asia conference. Afghan National Security Forces and coalition military sources acknowledge that this attack bears the signature of the Haqqani network, which continues to target and kill innocent Afghans and blatantly violate Afghan sovereignty from the safety of Pakistan.”

“Our condolences go out to the families and loved ones of those defenseless Afghans who were murdered in their sleep during the early morning hours of Jum’ ah by the enemies of peace in Afghanistan. There is no doubt that innocent Afghan civilians were the intended targets of this unspeakably brutal attack. Additionally, a number of security guards and law enforcement officers gave their lives protecting women and children. These atrocities should be condemned in the strongest of terms.”

“I am extremely impressed with the Afghan police and special response units who arrived quickly to secure the scene and liberate civilian hostages. While we provided minimal support at the request of the Afghan security forces, there should be little doubt about their ability and capability to protect the Afghan people in the years ahead.”

By Voice of After The War

Afghan Eletricians Train on New Equipment


Story by Dave Melancon, USACE

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -Twelve Afghan electric company technicians will be better able to maintain power lines throughout southern Afghanistan after learning to safely operate electric utility trucks, donated by the United States, during a training course on Kandahar Airfield, June 10-19.
The course, taught by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Distinct-South noncommissioned officers, introduced 12 technicians from Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat, Afghanistan’s electric utility company the fundamentals of power line maintenance and safety, operations of two “Cherry Picker” boom trucks, which allow linemen to reach the top of utility poles and augur trucks used to drill and emplace utility poles. While the classroom training was important, getting outside and operating the trucks and erecting utility poles was the highlight of the course, said lineman Nasheed, who asked that only his first name be used, a 14-year DABS employee.
“This new equipment is going to make my job a lot easier and a lot safer,” he said speaking through an interpreter. “We learned about safety for ourselves, for our friends and with the equipment.” During his years as a lineman, Nasheed said he had to use scaffolds and ladders to climb utility poles.
Safety was also the primary topic for Sgt. Gabriel Akonom, Company A, 249th Engineer Battalion (Prime Power), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South, one of three USACE NCOs leading the course.
“Our mission was to train the DABS employees use the bucket truck equipment that we’re signing over to them, making sure they were proficient with them so they could work safely and efficiently,” he said. “The majority of them expressed concerns about safety. That’s because in the past, they did not have the equipment to do their work safely. They were climbing (utility poles) in their bare feet on ladders and scaffolds.”
Akonom said his students’ experience ran the gamut from more than 20 years as a lineman to almost none. Most had not worked with a bucket truck before. The students were a combination of linemen and drivers and supervisors from Kandahar City.
“This is the first time that we have seen and handled such nice equipment,” added Abdulah, a 15-year lineman who asked that only his first name be used. “I enjoyed using drilling with the truck-mounted auger and erecting utility poles.”
“All of the students were happy to be here, grateful for the instruction and very interested in learning about the equipment, especially the safety portions,” Akonom said.
With only two interpreters for the class, there were some minor language barriers to overcome, he said. The NCOs plan to emphasize hand signals

By Voice of After The War

U.S. and Australia join forces on key Rule of Law program in Afghanistan


U.S. and Australia join forces on key Rule of Law program in Afghanistan

On June 18, the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C. Crocker and Australian Ambassador to Afghanistan Paul Foley signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the deployment of Australian Justice Advisers to the Justice Center in Parwan (JCIP), Afghanistan. The Australian Justice Advisers, provided through the Australian Civilian Corps, will assist Afghan justice officials at the JCIP. During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Crocker said that this agreement reinforces the close U.S.-Australian bilateral relationship, and added that the deployment of the Australian Justice Advisers demonstrated Australian and U.S. joint commitment to the people of Afghanistan and support for the rule of law.

The JCIP is one of the key justice centers in Afghanistan, providing a mechanism for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA) to fairly and legitimately prosecute national security threats, including detainees previously held under the Law of Armed Conflict at the Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP). U.S. advisors have been mentoring the Afghan judicial actors at the JCIP since 2010.

During a visit to Australia in November 2011, U.S. President Obama and Australian Prime Minister Gillard reiterated our countries’ joint commitment to promote transparency, accountability, and strong Afghan civil institutions including the justice system. Australia agreed to assist efforts to strengthen the Afghan justice system by deploying up to three Australian Justice Advisoes to the JCIP.

With the fulfillment of this agreement through the Memorandum of Cooperation, the Australian deployment is expected to occur later this summer.

By Voice of After The War

ISAF aircraft makes forced landing in eastern Afghanistan


Bagram, Afghanistan (June 21, 2012) – An International Security Assistance Force aircraft made a forced landing in eastern Afghanistan today.

ISAF is still in the process of investigating the incident to determine more facts; however, initial reporting indicates that there was no enemy activity in the area. All personnel on the aircraft were recovered and there were no civilian or ISAF fatalities.

By Voice of After The War

ISAF Joint Command morning operational update (June 21)


KABUL, Afghanistan (June 21) – A combined Afghan and coalition security force destroyed 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of explosive materials in Nawah district, Ghazni province Tuesday.

During a search of the ruins of a compound, the combined force discovered an explosives cache comprising of 30 containers each holding 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of ammonium nitrate. In addition the forces discovered 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of aluminum powder and several barrels of fuel.

Ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder are both key ingredients in the production of home-made explosives.

No shots were fired and no civilians were harmed during the operation. All explosive materials were destroyed on site.

In other International Security Assistance Force news throughout Afghanistan:

South

An Afghan-led security force, supported by coalition troops, conducted an operation to detain a Taliban leader who was responsible for Tuesday’s “green-on-blue” attack in Zharay district, Kandahar province, today. The security force detained two suspected insurgents during this operation.

East

In Sharan district, Paktika province an Afghan and coalition security force apprehended a Haqqani weapons facilitator, today. The detained Haqqani facilitator was responsible for supplying weapons for use in attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the region. The weapons facilitator directed the insurgents under his command to use ambush-style tactics and recently conducted an improvised explosive device attack against coalition and Afghan troops. The security force detained one suspected insurgent as a result of this operation.

An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation in Sabari district, Khost province today, to detain a Haqqani leader behind Wednesday’s deadly suicide bombing in Khost City. He leads a cell of insurgents and is connected to the suicide attack that killed more than a dozen Afghan civilians. The security force detained four suspected insurgents as a result of this operation.

An Afghan-led security force, supported by coalition troops, conducted an operation to detain a Haqqani leader in Sabari district, Khost province, today. The leader plans and coordinates attacks against Afghan and coalition forces throughout the region, as well as providing IEDs to insurgents. The security force detained five suspected insurgents as a result of this operation.

In Charkh district, Logar province an Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to detain a Taliban leader, today. The leader directs attacks throughout the region, specializing in attacks using mortars and IEDs.

An Afghan and coalition security force conducted an operation to detain a Taliban explosives specialist in Khugyani district, Nangarhar province, today. The specialist is responsible for the acquisition, transport and production of IEDs for use in attacks throughout the region.

By Voice of After The War

Life is good in Bamyan Province


By U.S. Army Sgt. Ken Scar
7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Old and new collide as an old Russian tank provides the background for two local farmers as they tend to their potato field June 17, 2012. Potato farming has become very important for the economy of Bamyan, as potatoes are the biggest cash crop for the large farming community, thanks in large part to the efforts of the Bamyan Provinical Reconstruction Team. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A local boy who was serving tea at a meeting of local farmers flashes a shy smile through the grass blades in an orchard near the town of Bamyan June 16, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A local farmer has a laugh on a roadside near the town of Bamyan, June 16, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Saywed Khadin, a potato farmer, has a laugh with members of the Bamyan Provinical Reconstruction Team in one of his potato fields, June 16, 2012. Potatoes have become the main cash crop for farmers in Bamyan Province, thanks in large part to efforts by the Bamyan PRT. Afghan potatoes are considered superior throughout the Middle East, and can fetch a premium price per pound. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A native farmer and his son tend to their potato field June 17, 2012. Potatoes have become the biggest cash crop for the large farming community in Bamyan, thanks in large part to efforts by the Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two school girls watch through a window as soldiers from the Bamyan Malaysian Contingent, which is part of the Bamyan Provinicial Reconstruction Team, install a bio-sand filter water system on their school grounds near the town of Bamyan June 18, 2012. There are more than 120,000 children enrolled in school in the province, of which nearly half are girls. The Malaysian Contingent in Bamyan has a goal of standing up 50 clinics and schools in the province during their 6-month deployment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A group of school girls turn their heads away from a gust of wind and sand during their class at the Bamyan Regional High School June 18, 2012. Teachers are forced to conduct classes outside for lack of electricity and lighting inside the building. Bamyan province has over 120,000 children enrolled in school, nearly half of which are girls. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A group of local boys watch as soldiers from the Bamyan Malaysian Contingent, which is part of the Bamyan Provinicial Reconstruction Team, install a solar panel on a free clinic near the town of Bamyan June 18, 2012. The Malaysian Contingent in Bamyan has a goal of standing up 50 clinics and schools in the province during their 6-month deployment. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Female students stream out of a school a couple of miles west of the town of Bamyan at the end of the class day June 17, 2012. There are over 120,000 children enrolled in school in the province, and nearly half of them are girls. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two local farmers tend to their potato field June 17, 2012. Potatoes have become the biggest cash crop for the large farming community in Bamyan, thanks in large part to efforts by the Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team. The collection of ancient fortifications on the hill behind them is known as Shahr-e Gholghola, or the “City of Screams”. In the 13th century the inhabitants of Bamyan made their last stand against Ghenghis Khan there, and lost. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A group of school children react to seeing themselves on the small screen of a video camera at the Bamyan Regional High School June 6, 2012. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Bamyan Governor Dr. Habiba Sarabi stands on a patio overlooking the Bamyan river valley where the ancient standing Buddhas of Bamiyan statues used to reside in the giant insets, one of which can be seen here, June 18, 2012. Sarabi is the only female Afghan provincial governor in history. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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BAMYAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A local farmer works around an old Russian tank as he tends to his potato field June 17, 2012. Potato farming has become very important for the economy of Bamyan, as potatoes are the biggest cash crop for the large farming community – thanks in large part to the efforts of the Bamyan Provinical Reconstruction Team. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

By Voice of After The War

Corpsmen celebrate 114th birthday on KAF


Story and photos by Sgt. Ashley Curtis, RC(S) PAO

KANDAHAR AIR FIELD, Afghanistan -Hospital corpsmen, or “docs”, can play extremely important roles in the lives of service members from all branches. When they are assigned to remote or small quarters, they may be the only healthcare professionals available. When they work with a full staff, they’re also vital to the caretaking of service members, like the patients of Role 3 Multinational Hospital at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan.
“It’s one of the most important jobs in the Navy. We care for the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy. We play a pivotal role in the mission’s success,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Dave Wysk, hospital corpsman at Role 3.
Those serving at Role 3 celebrated the legacy of the profession during the 114th Hospital Corpsman Birthday ceremony and luau there, June 13. “It gives us a chance to celebrate the history and tradition of the hospital corpsman. It’s the one time of year we get to highlight what we do,” said Wysk.
“The opportunity to celebrate the 114th Hospital Corpsman Birthday in an active combat zone really gives us all here at the NATO Role 3 MMU a much greater appreciation of the sacrifices that our past and present hospital corpsmen have made in supporting Sailors, Marines, Airman and Soldiers in every conflict that the nation has seen,” said Master Chief Petty Officer Keith Staples, Master Chief Petty Officer of Role 3. The event was marked by several time-honored traditions like the reading of the Hospital Corpsman Pledge and cutting of the cake by the distinguished guest, oldest and youngest hospital corpsman present. “I’m proud of everyone that took part [in the event] and helped out,” said Wysk.
Before the ceremony ended and the birthday luau began, everyone who had gathered stood silently and respectfully while names were recited and a solemn bell tone rang out for each hospital corpsman who paid the highest price by giving their life to the cause of during Operation Enduring Freedom.

By Voice of After The War