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A soldier with 4th Tolay, 6th Kandak, 4th Brigade, Afghan National Army, provides security during a final training exercise for the security training program with Regional Corps Battle School aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, April 1, 2014.

Photo by Cpl. Joshua Young

Afghan National Army soldiers put new learned skills to the test during final training exercise

8 Apr 2014 | Cpl Joshua Young

Soldiers with 4th Tolay, 6th Kandak, 4th Brigade, Afghan National Army, conducted a final training exercise for a security training program with Regional Corps Battle School aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, April 1.

The two-week training program teaches the soldiers medical treatment, communication, patrolling techniques, forward operating base security and how to conduct vehicle checkpoints and operate as a quick reaction force. Afghan instructors run the entire exercise, with coalition forces in the background who provide feedback to the instructors.

“When you go into the battlefield, these kind of things will happen,” said Sgt. Patson Zazai, a soldier with the ANA and a participant in the course, speaking about the applicability of rehearsing the set-up of forward operating base security. “We are getting experience from here and we need to continue our training. Doing this kind of practice will help us provide security for our people and we can save our country.”

When the soldiers arrived at the simulated forward operating base, they received instruction from their commanders and took to providing immediate security. Once security was established the platoon was broken off into smaller groups designated as communication, FOB security and a quick reaction force, the remainder establishing a team dedicated to patrolling.

“This is way ahead of what we thought it would be,” said Staff Sgt. Damian Rodriguez, security forces chief, Regional Corps Battle School. “This is night and day compared to where it was two weeks ago at the beginning of the training.”

The patrol’s initial mission was to search the surrounding villages for potential threats and to get a better idea of what to expect. The Afghan villagers were role-played by coalition personnel and interpreters. Following the patrol, the next training task was to reach out to local village elders to find out if there are any Taliban role-players in the area.

“There were some barriers to overcome, but they’re trying to get it worked out right now,” said Rodriguez, 33, from San Fernando, Calif., referencing the language and cultural barriers the Afghans have with each other as a result of being from various regions of Afghanistan. “Things are going very well. With the right amount of training, they should be able to get it.”

“There is a proverb in the military that if you waste much in sweat, it will prevent you from wasting blood in the battlefield,” said 1st Sgt. Abdulla, the company commander for 4th Tolay. “That’s why I’m very sure this kind of exercise and training is best for our soldiers.”