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Afghan Army Sends Liaison Officer to Coalition Organization

By Lt. Col. Frederick Rice, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

KABUL, Afghanistan, April 20, 2005 – For the first time since the Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan assumed its mission to reconstruct Afghanistan's security and defense sectors, an officer from the Afghan National Army has been assigned liaison duties to work with his U.S. and coalition counterparts at OMCA headquarters.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Afghan National Army Lt. Col. Muhammad Ibrahim, right, from the ANA Logistics Command, conducts a map reconnaissance with U.S. Army Capt. Andres Zambrana of the office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan Defense Resource Sector directorate. Ibrahim is the first ANA officer to be assigned liaison officer duties at OMCA headquarters. Photo by Lt. Col. Frederick Rice, USA
  

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Afghan Lt. Col. Mohammad Ibrahim, a logistics officer assigned to the ANA's new Logistics Command, will spend every other day working in OMCA's Defense Resource Sector directorate to assist with ANA equipment, resourcing and logistics issues.

"We recognized that a communications gap existed between the ANA logistics community and our own logistics operations," said Col. John Dolac, Defense Resource Sector director at OMCA. "Establishing the (liaison officer) position will help to fill that void."

According to Army Lt. Col. Michael Wooten, the DRS logistics plans chief, Ibrahim has already made an impact in his short time here. When recently faced with a difficult issue involving ANA vehicle deliveries, "Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim knew immediately how to handle the problem," Wooten said.

"Using his Afghan logistics contacts, he made a few phone calls, contacted the right person and the issue was solved. It also helped that he speaks the local language."

Ibrahim is proficient in English as well as the Afghan dialects of Dari and Pashto. But his language skills are only a small part of what Ibrahim brings with him to OMCA. With over 19 years of service in the military, he has a very thorough understanding of Afghan logistics and maintenance operations.

"He was hand-picked by the ANA (for this assignment) because of his background," said Maj. Scott Stewart, a DRS logistics planner. "We are very lucky to have him working with us."

In late June, Ibrahim and three other senior members of the ANA Logistics Command are set to travel to the United States to get a first-hand look at how the U.S. military conducts logistics operations. While there, they will visit various logistics depots and supply centers and also tour Army Materiel Command headquarters, at Ft. Belvoir, Va.

"Since the ANA is starting their logistics system from scratch, the visit will be an excellent opportunity for them to see how an established logistics command operates," said Wooten, who will accompany the ANA officers to the states.

From a learning perspective, Ibrahim is looking forward to the upcoming visit. "The trip is a great opportunity for me to gain experience that I will bring back to my country," he said.

When the group returns to Afghanistan, they will be well-prepared to apply their experiences to managing the ANA's Logistics Command.

Dolac is certain that Ibrahim's assignment at OMCA will produce positive, long-term results. "Having a logistics liaison officer here at OMCA will certainly pay dividends in the long run," he said. "It definitely improves our ability to manage operations together with the ANA to meet their logistics needs."

(Army Lt. Col. Frederick Rice is assigned to the Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageAfghan Lt. Col. Muhammad Ibrahim, left, the first Afghan National Army officer to be assigned liaison officer duties at the headquarters of the Office of Military Cooperation Afghanistan, works with U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Wooten on a logistics issue. Ibrahim is assigned to the ANAs new Logistics Command. Photo by Lt. Col. Frederick Rice, USA  
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