A Royal Australian Navy Clearance Diver has played his part in the successful training of 38 explosive ordnance disposal technicians for the Afghan National Police late last week.
Petty Officer Clearance Diver Kevin Paul, an explosive ordnance disposal technician from Sydney’s northern beaches, serves as the chief advisor on counter-IED to Central Training Center-Kabul for the Coalition Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
Deployed as part of Operation HIGHROAD, he is responsible for training, advising and assisting Afghan National Police leadership, including Brigadier General Basir, the training centre’s commandant, on disposal and counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED) training.
He said students learned how to counter conventional unexploded ordnance, including rockets, artillery rounds and landmines before celebrating the successful completion of the course with a graduation ceremony at the training centre in Kabul.
“The students who make it through the initial stages of training genuinely want to be there,” he said.
“They get qualified and get out to their posting location so they can do their part in making Afghanistan a safer place.”
The majority of graduates will be staying at the centre for a training course in defeating improvised explosive devices, the weapon of choice for many insurgents.
A United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan report states that IEDs caused the second highest number of civilian casualties in the first half of 2015.
Coupled with a landscape littered with landmines from the Soviet occupation, the ability to counter the threat from both IEDs and unexploded ordnance is essential to the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.
The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan Counter-IED Directorate coordinates, synchronises and advises implementation of counter-IED initiatives with the Ministries of Defense and Interior.
Hayat Ullah, a 3rd Sergeant from Kandahar who has served in the Afghan National Police for the past 10 years is one of the new Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) graduates.
"I appreciate my training and advisers from this course. Explosive ordnance disposal may be dangerous, but with this training I can defeat them [unexploded ordnance]," 3rd Sergeant Ullah said.
He plans on taking the counter-IED class, as well as a course on robot maintenance and repair, to further his ability to counter enemy tactics.
Basir, who oversees the EOD training, congratulated the graduates on completing the course, and recognized them for choosing to enter a dangerous profession that is essential to security in Afghanistan.
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