ANASF Class Prepares for Real-world Missions

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CAMP MOREHEAD, Afghanistan – Recently in July, a four-day Afghan National Army Special Forces Qualification Course occupational specialty culmination exercise kicked off at Camp Morehead located near Afghanistan’s largest city and capital, Kabul.

Initially armed with pen and paper, the ANASF/QC Class 2 students wrote down their exercise training scenario:

“To conduct operations to protect the population, defeat insurgent groups and strengthen the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s legitimacy. According to intelligence reports, there have been multiple improvised explosive devices and direct fire attacks, and the frequency of those types of attacks has increased. Additional intelligence indicates IED cell-leaders specializing in homemade explosives as well as their labs are suspected to be scattered throughout the threat area. You have 96 hours to complete your operation. Proceed with caution.”

Upon receipt of their objective, the team came up with a plan of action; coordinated and obtained any assistance needed, and then implemented their plan. Afghan class instructors, known as cadre, and U.S. Special Forces class instructors observed what steps the students would take because a large part of being ANASF is being able to think and plan on your own.

“The students come up with a plan, and then run with it,” said one of the USSF team instructors. “We are mainly mentors in the culmination exercise and provide further guidance if needed.”

The Afghan cadre, who were students themselves in the last class, understand what the trainees are going through and understand the desired outcome—a trained, self-sufficient ANASF team; ready for real-world missions and prepared to help bring peace and stability to their country.

In order to be self-sufficient, not every ANASF team member has the same skills. There are various job specialties within a team, and each one is integral to the team’s success.

“I spent three weeks learning my specific job and I’m excited to do my part,” said one of the ANASF engineer trainees. “Part of what I do is handle IED's and HME (homemade explosives), so there’s no room for errors. This exercise is an opportunity to do what I’ve been training for, and I’m ready for this next step.”

During the exercise the team discovered exercise role players placing an IED on a road. The team engaged with the mock enemy, prevented the IED from exploding, and then the various job specialties sprang into action. Some team members gathered forensic clues from the site to determine who made the IED, some attended to the wounded, and others ensured the flow of information remained fluid.

“It has been great to see the various specialties come together and operate as a functional team,” said an ANASF cadre. “The culmination exercise helps trainees understand how everyone fits into the big picture. It also gives the students the opportunity to experience firsthand the consequences, good or bad, of the decisions they make. The lessons learned during the exercise will enable them to save lives once they transition to real-world missions.”
 
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