War on Terrorism

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Training Brings Counterinsurgency Strategy to Afghans

By Ian Graham
Emerging Media, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2010 – Afghan military leaders will have to borrow from the American anti-insurgency handbook to maintain security within their country’s borders after NATO’s International Security Assistance Force turns security responsibility over to them.

Army Col. Chadwick W. Clark is the man in charge of making sure that happens.

During an Oct. 26 “DOD Live” bloggers roundtable, Clark -- director of counterinsurgency training for NATO Training Mission Afghanistan and Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan -- discussed the training center he runs and how it enhances the capability of coalition and Afghan forces and Afghan government agencies.

“Our task is to work with the [Afghan forces] to increase capability and capacity through training, doctrine, working through, by and with the Afghan national security forces,” he said. “That's our primary mission.”

The training center, based at Camp Julien in the Afghan capital of Kabul, runs a few courses for NATO and Afghan forces alike. In addition to the basic counterinsurgency course, the center offers a “train-the-trainer” course for trainers from NATO nations and for Afghan instructors. Mobile training teams deploy across Afghanistan as well, educating troops in the field.

But the training isn’t just a basic course learned over a few weeks of classroom work, Clark said. It’s become an integral part of the requisite knowledge for military leaders in Afghanistan. Between specific training given by the counterinsurgency training center and the training given at basic training, noncommissioned officer academies, officer schools and the Afghan Defense University, a lot of people are learning how to battle an insurgency, he explained.

“Think of [counterinsurgency] training as part of every level of education for both officers and enlisted, from the time that they come in, both the army and police,” Clark said. Afghan police have 1,200 to 1,300 training seats in the police, and another 20,000 go to Afghan soldiers.

Of those, only a small portion – between 200 and 240 – are trained at the counterinsurgency training center each month, although an upcoming expansion should double that number, Clark said.

In the last 10 months, Clark said, the center and its mobile training teams have trained more than 20,000 coalition personnel, about 14,000 of whom were from the Afghan forces and 500 of whom were civilians. As their training expands, Clark said, the effort will be able to focus increasingly on training Afghans.

“Some of the coalition forces had doctrine and predeployment training; some didn't,” Clark said. “So in order to get everybody on a level playing field, they had folks come through the training center here at Julien. Now, we're beginning to export a lot of that training back to home station in a course that meets the [International Security Assistance Force] commander's intent for pr-deployment training, and we're going to change our focus to [Afghan security forces] while training the army, the police, and then other agencies that participate or are on the battlefield for counterinsurgency operations.”

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