Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski, deputy commander of Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, discusses training efforts for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces explosive ordnance disposal technicians with Afghan National Army Col. Muhammad, commander, National Engineering Brigade. Ostrowki addressed a group of more than 120 EOD technicians from the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and the National Directorate of Security who convened for a five-day meeting to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for combatting explosives throughout Afghanistan. (U.S. military photo by Lt. Charity Edgar/Released)
KABUL, Afghanistan (April 12, 2016) — Explosive ordnance disposal technicians from the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security convened for a five-day meeting last week to exchange ideas and discuss best practices for combating explosives throughout Afghanistan.
The Resolute Support and Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Directorate joined more than 120 EOD technicians from throughout the country for the first joint meeting of its kind.
CSTC-A Deputy Commander U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Ostrowski provided opening remarks at the inaugural gathering.
"We must continue to build a sustainable, effective and affordable ANDSF through training and resourcing to achieve mutually support and simultaneous employment of the following lines of effort,” said Ostrowski, before highlighting the systems and processes required for success in the fight against IEDs.
Ostrowski stated there are four necessary steps: continue to attack the network, defeat the device, prepare the force and enable a holistic government approach. He also highlighted the Coalition’s equipment contributions to counter-IED efforts in Afghanistan, noting they’ve issued more than 455 mine rollers in support of route clearance operations since 2011, along with 90,000 mounted and dismounted counter-IED radio controlled electronic warfare devices. He said there were 64 EOD items delivered to the ANDSF, including critical equipment such as medium tactical vehicles, IED jammers, bomb suits, hand-held detectors and robots.
"Finally, we have established two state of the art Ministry of the Interior exploitation labs in both Kabul and Herat, designed to gain further intelligence about the devices that are being used against us,” said Ostrowski, as he summarized the materiel support provided to ANDSF counter-IED efforts.
He added that while equipment is important, personnel and training are paramount.
"One of the lessons relearned is the value of training; training must accompany innovation,” Ostrowski said. "Our best counter-IED weapon will always be a well-trained soldier or policeman.”
Gen. Mohammad Anwar Paigham, director of the Ministry of the Interior Engineering, praised the joint event and emphasized that, "the goal is to have better coordination between the security elements, the Ministries of Defense and the Interior and National Directorate of Security, especially in the area of counter-IED.”
Ministry of the Interior Deputy Minister for Administration Lt. Gen. Akramuddin Yawar echoed the importance of communication between agencies, and said creation of a reoccurring joint event was a good medium for interagency operations.
"This conference will give us a chance to exchange ideas, thoughts and learn from each other’s experience,” Yawar said. "You can all implement what you learn here in your units.
"So many of our casualties are due to IEDs,” Yawar continued. "We need to let the people of Afghanistan know that we put our lives on the line to save the lives of civilians.”
"It is a great honor to the people of Afghanistan that you each would put your lives at risk to save the population of our country,” echoed Paigham.
Paigham thanked his advisers and coalition partners for making the event and training possible and concluded his remarks by recognizing all of the soldiers and police in the audience.
"Thank you to the counter-IED and EOD operators, who without you, there would have been countless lives lost in Afghanistan.”