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U.S., Afghan Soldiers Partner in Eastern Afghanistan

By Army Pfc. Zackary Root
Regional Command East

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10, 2011 – American and Afghan soldiers met here recently at this eastern Afghanistan outpost to discuss battlefield support operations and training needs.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Command Sgt. Major Terry Burton, 172nd Support Battalion, gives Afghan National Army 1st Sgt. Amrodin a warm greeting Nov. 3, 2011, at Forward Operating Base Lightning in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktika province. U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Zackary Root
  

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

“Having key leader engagements is vital in facilitating our relationship with the ANA (Afghan National Army),” said Army Maj. Ebony Lambert, the executive officer for the 172nd Support Battalion.

The Americans discussed their desire to have Afghan soldiers work with them in the operations cell, officials said. This, officials said, would enable Afghan troops to see how their U.S. counterparts obtain and employ real-time operational information from the battlefield.

“It is going to give them a better understanding of our military decision-making process and what each company does to execute the commander’s intent,” said Army Command Sgt. Major Terry Burton, of Roanoke, Va.

The Afghans and Americans also discussed improvements to enhance training in order to support the needs of the Afghan soldiers as they become more proficient.

The week before the meeting, Afghan soldiers participated in joint medical training and a joint soldier of the month board. These events provide the Afghan troops with skills necessary to improve as a fighting force, Lambert said.

“I think we were successful in articulating what the goals are for training,” Lambert said.

Meeting and sharing knowledge with their Afghan counterparts helps the Americans strengthen the relationships that they have established, allowing for closer ties and making it easier to communicate and work together.

“These meetings improve our partnerships and increase our ability to do training with them,” Lambert said.

With a rapidly improving Afghan army poised to take over Regional Command East’s battle space, officials said, face-to-face discussions are vital in the process of transition to the Afghan National Army taking over command of security for Afghanistan.

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