Afghan army engineers take part in practical outdoor training exercises using heavy machinery, including bulldozers and loaders, at Camp Shorabak in Helmand.
Whilst the current training is overseen by ISAF there are now efforts in place to train Afghan trainers to provide a sustainable model for future training. The use of heavy machinery by the Afghan Army will prove vital in their future operations as they will take the lead in their own construction projects.
Afghan army engineers get to grips with the heaviest machinery available as they take the lead in building their own bases, roads, barriers and firing platforms.
Young engineering students of the Afghan National Army get to grips with their heaviest machinery at Camp Shorabak in Helmand.
Joe Chanot, Team leader, Raytheon Warrior Training Alliance said, “Right now we’re training the Afghan Army on horizontal construction and heavy-wheeled vehicles, tractor trailers, dump-trucks, bulldozers.”
vlcsnap-2014-05-20-21h13m17s37aAs the international forces withdraw from Afghanistan, vehicles like the ones you see behind me are going to be vital to the Afghan National Army, who are now going to have to build their own roads, bases and firing platforms without foreign help.
“They don’t have any more HESCO barriers to build bases, they’re going to have to use the bulldozers and the loaders to berm up future bases to go after the Taliban, they’re going to have to have their own heavy equipment to build their own fighting positions for security purposes. They need the heavy equipment, the recovery, the semis, obviously, to transport the heavy equipment. So it’s an important skill to have,” Chanot said.
Hamisha Gul Sardaz, Engineering trainee, Afghan National Army said, “We are building a stronghold to defend ourselves in case the enemy attacks.”
“The equipment that the Afghans are using right now is top notch, the D7 Bulldozer, Volvo loaders is the best equipment out there,” said Chanot.
vlcsnap-2014-05-20-21h13m30s168bWhilst the skills attained by the young engineering recruits here at Camp Shorabak will be vital for supporting the Afghan Army in their future missions, recruits are also able to take their newfound abilities back into civilian life.
“My best moment from working with the Afghans and the students is I had a student that lived up in Bamiyan Province in the mountains, had never much seen a car much less driven a truck and I was teaching him on a tractor/trailer, the PMCS checks and how to drive and he got a call that his father was ill and he had to fly home on an emergency,” Chanot said.
He also added, “Their village had an old broken down Toyota, that he was actually able to put air in the tyres, check the oil, get running and he was able to drive his father to hospital to save his life and he came back almost in tears, thanking me for what I was able to teach him. That was one of the more touching moments that I’ve ever had.”
While the majority of training is currently provided by the international community through a foreign company, there are plans in place to transfer the training programme to the Afghan army.
“The long term plan is to instruct them to be the future teachers and leaders of Afghanistan, to keep the sustainability of the country and the Afghan people, to keep this going,” Chanot said.