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Posted: November 3, 2017 8:30 a.m.
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Integrating land-nav training with counter IED efforts

Spc. Elizabeth White/

U.S. Army Cpt. Stephen Holden, the counter-IED advisor with the 202nd Police Advisory Team from Forward Operating Base Fenty, instructs members of the 202nd Zone Counter-IED Afghan National Police team on plotting grid points during a joint training session on Oct. 30.

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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, AFGHANISTAN – Marne Soldiers assigned as Counter-IED advisors to the Afghan Police within the 202nd zone participated in a counter-IED Shura, October 30, where they trained officers on basic land navigation tasks that will assist them in evidence collection.

Police officers from three provinces – Parwan, Kapisa and Panjghir – traveled to Bagram Airfield where they were given blocks of instruction on how to use GPS equipment and other tools that will assist them in their jobs.    

“The goal is to have them turn on and use a GPS, write the grid down and then plot it on a map,” said Lt. Col. Matthew L. Kuhns, commander of Task Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD), Bagram Airfield and with the 192nd OD Battalion from Fort Bragg, who help facilitate the Shura.

Kuhns added that in the past, Afghan security forces didn’t bother with gather information from IED sites as they didn’t understand its potential use.  Now, evidence gathering has become a priority and knowing how to do it will increases their growing skill set.  Additionally, knowing how to plot grid on a map will enable the PADs to develop trends, and when processing evidence, potentially identify who placed the IED and maybe where it was made. 

As a small group of officers huddled around GPS devices and then around a table to plot their points, their 3rd ID advisors looked on and provided guidance as needed.  The excited conversations and elbow to elbow huddle made it clear they were there to learn and were eager to do so.  One member, Capt. Bashir Ahmad, the Parwan EOD team leader, even said he skipped a wedding to attend the training because he believed it was more important. 

“The goal is for us to not have these Shura,” said Capt. Stephen Holden, a 3rd Infantry Division Officer assigned as an advisor to the 202nd Zone.  “We want these guys to be able to hold their own Shuras without the support of the Coalition or U.S.  They are very close to that, about six to nine months away.”

Counter-IED Shuras have been given in the south five times and in Kabul three times so far this year.  This is the first time a Counter-IED Shura has been conducted in Bagram.  

Attending the Bagram Shura was Afghan Brig. Gen. Mohammad Arwar Paigham, the Ministry of Interior Counter-IED Chief who sees the benefits of the training and appreciates the support of the U.S. and Coalition.  

“Doing such training, bringing the officers together to learn from each other and share knowledge with each other is great,” Arwar said.  “Since we have one war, the enemy will do what they can to hurt us.  But when we have Coalition and Afghan organizations – MOI, NDS, and MOD – working together where they share information with each other… that will help us locate factories where they build devices [IEDs].”

Before they find the factories, they have to find the grid points on a map.

“This training gives them the foundation, the baseline – plot a grid then collect evidence… that’s the success,” said Holden.  “The mastery of the basic is what will help them the most in the future.”

A future that Arwar hopes will see more Shuras and support as his police officers become better at their job.

“I appreciate the U.S. and the Coalition for their support,” he said.  “I look forward to the international community’s support for more such events in the future.”  

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