Afghan, Coalition Forces Train Together in Jalalabad
By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service
JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, April 8, 2006 Afghan and coalition forces participated in platoon-level training missions near here April 5, improving their readiness for joint combat operations.
Afghan and coalition forces regularly such operations, to kill and capture insurgents, deny them freedom of movement and hinder their ability to resupply.
About 20 soldiers of the U.S. Army's 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, joined 30 soldiers from the Afghan National Army's 2nd Kandak, 3rd Brigade, 1st Corps, for the joint training session.
The training marks the early stages of an important long-term relationship, said Capt. James M. McKnight III, commander of the 1-32 Infantry's A Company. "We're building joint teams, and we'll do our best to keep the same teams operating together in the future," he said.
The Schuylerville, N.Y., native described his Afghan allies as capable and dedicated. "To date I've been very impressed with their courage, their capability and their commitment," he said.
"The ultimate goal is that the ANA can protect its people and conduct all military operations that need to be conducted," he added. "Our goal is to train ourselves out of a job."
Organizers designed the training to reinforce squad-level tactical skills, practice coordination among the allied forces and introduce ANA soldiers in the area to their coalition counterparts.
Learning took place among Afghan and Coalition service members alike, said 1st Lt. James Preston, platoon leader for the 1st Platoon of A Company. "We're just trying to learn from each other," the Chatham , N.J. , native said. "A lot of these guys have been fighting their whole lives."
Organizers weighted the ANA contingent with squad and team leaders to maximize the benefit of the training. Afghan and Coalition participants conducted squad-level movements, with Afghans and Americans taking turns in the lead. They also practiced search procedures.
ANA leaders seemed happy with the training and their relationships with their Coalition partners.
"Everything is valuable for me that I can learn from the Americans," ANA 1st Sgt. Abdull Qare said. "I'd like my whole company to train with them so they can be the best soldiers possible. I want to be side-by-side with these Americans."
(Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro is assigned to Task Force Spartan Public Affairs.)