Building Bak one shura at a time

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Navy Lt. Mark Fetterman, Khowst Provincial Reconstruction Team engineer from Plymouth, Mass., stands on a hilly outcropping in Bak district during a foot (click for more)

ANA enforces weapon registration law

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers from 1st Coy, 3rd Kandak play with village children during a patrol through Sar Mast Kheyl, Zormat District Jan. 16. (click for more)

Afghan forces, ISAF help improve security in Bak

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An MRAP remains idle as construction efforts surround Combat Outpost Bak and the nearby district center. ISAF, ANP and ANA members work together daily (click for more)

Task Force Leader Soldiers patrol Zambar

KHOWST PROVINCE – U.S. Army Spc. Kyle Oszczakiewicz, an infantryman with 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, from Trenton, N.J., scans for insurgents as 2nd Plt. receives (click for more)

US, Polish forces build relationships in Ghazni

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Polish Battle Group A and Texas Army National Guard Ghazni ADT-IV conduct a village assessment of Pir Shabaz, a small village near Ghazni City, (click for more)

New recruits join Afghan army

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (click for more)

ANA, Red Bulls find IED

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Spc. Michael Scarsbrook, an infantryman with Task Force Ironman, from Iowa Falls, Iowa, looks down on a spot in Tupac Jan. 21, (click for more)

ANSF, TF Thunder aim to increase GIRoA influence in Pul-e Alam

LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Tyrik L. Holmes, assigned to 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Thunder, (click for more)

Sayed Karam market walk, step in right direction

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class David Davis, from Moore, Okla., the platoon sergeant of the 2-45th ADT’s security force, leads the rear security element (click for more)

Iowa Soldiers discuss ‘average’ days in Afghanistan

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Pfc. Corey Vanotegham, an infantry radio telephone operator from Victor, Iowa, with TF Ironman, smiles as he stands beside a Holstein cow (click for more)

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad trains with new Afghan Army recruits at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Kenneth A. Stewart, 17th Public Affairs Detachment) PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The newest members of the Afghan National Army traveled to Forward Operating Base Thunder, home of the ANA 203rd Thunder Corps, to attend the Afghan version of basic training Jan. 15.


The initial batch consisted of 600 recruits to attend Basic Warrior Training; by March the numbers are expected to double.

Soldiers from the 4th Platoon of the 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, stationed at Forward Operating Base Lightning advise Afghan instructors and train new recruits.

“Nothing prepares you to train like this,” said senior adviser, U.S. Army Capt. Phil Durkin of Sparta, N.J. “This is not the American Army, they have their own standards.”

The adjustment for the Afghans is difficult as well. Afghan recruits must adjust to both life in the military and working with the American servicemembers who partner with Afghan instructors.

“It’s the first time many of these guys have worn western clothes, been around Americans or visited an army base,” said U.S. Army Sgt. Scott Hannah of Fort Worth, Texas, an instructor who trains with the ANA 203rd Thunder Corps’ 3rd Basic Warrior Training Company.

Afghan soldiers learn the same basic skills taught to U.S. recruits. They are locked down in sparkling barracks. Each cot is meticulously made; shoes, towels and sandals are lined up evenly.

“It’s pretty much the same as American basic training, but the Afghan instructors are a lot more, ‘hands-on’,” said advisor U.S. Army Cpl. Brandon Metzer of Colorado Springs, Colo. Afghan instructors do not do a lot of yelling, but they are quick to grab hold of new recruits and get them moving in the right direction.

ANA Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad personally trains many of the recruits.

“I feel good about these guys. They are the best I have worked with,” said Muhammad, who has trained more than 58 Afghan companies in the last six months.

ANA Pvt. Gul Nazim of Kapisa Province is excited about the training he is receiving and expressed pride in his decision to the join the Afghan army.

“I decided that I must help my country,” he said.

Nazim is the first person in his family to join the army. He claims that he is ready to serve anywhere the army sends him, but hopes to serve with the Afghan infantry. He, like Muhammad, is optimistic.

“We will have a great future and the Afghan army will be strong if we continue to train like this,” said Nazim.

The ANA continues to grow each day. American and Afghan Soldiers serving with the 203rd Thunder Corps appear determined to make the Army a large and capable fighting force as well.
PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army Operations Sgt. Maj. Akhtar Muhammad takes questions from new recruits during Basic Warrior Training at Forward Operating Base Thunder Jan. 22. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Maritza Freeland, 17th Public Affairs Detachment)


Last Updated on Monday, 24 January 2011 07:48


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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – A weapons cache consisting of more than 100 anti-personnel mines was found by coalition forces on patrol near the village of Jugi, Mehtar Lam District, Laghman Province Jan. 27. An explosive ordnance disposal team was deployed to the scene and destroyed the cache in place.

The security and safety of Afghan civilians is an important part of every coalition operation. All weapons caches found during these operations are destroyed to ensure they do not harm civilians or military personnel.

“Mines are indiscriminate killers. They don’t distinguish between Soldiers or civilians, between men, women or children. We must all work together to eliminate the threat posed by these deadly weapons,” said U.S. Army Col. Ben Corell, commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, Task Force Red Bulls.

If you see any suspicious activity or know of a weapons cache in your area, please report it. Call the Operations Coordination Center Provincial Tip Line at 079-662-0193 or at 079-397-0975.

ANSF, TF Bastogne counters insurgency in Kunar

KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Coalition troops and their Afghan National Security Forces partners joined together to conduct operations in the Khas Kunar District of Kunar Province Jan. 21-22.