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WORLD NEWS 15
Army July 8, 2010
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
A SMALL, dedicated unit is working
tirelessly to keep International Security
Assistance Force commanders informed
about weapons and IEDs used by insur-
gents in Afghanistan's Uruzgan prov-
Based in Tarin Kowt, the fourth rotation
of the Weapons Intelligence Team (WIT)
comprises experts in forensic science,
intelligence and ammunition and explo-
sives, according to OIC Capt Garth Adam.
"The team leader is an arms corps
officer who provides tactical advice and
oversight to the team," Capt Adam said.
"We have a scenes of crime officer, an
MP, who has a forensic and evidence col-
lection and management background.
"We have an explosive ordnance tech-
nician who provides technical advice on
devices, explosive management and safety
and we also have an intelligence analyst."
The WIT team will always deploy to
the sites of casualties, vehicle strikes and
any other incident that requires immediate
"When we go on site we exploit it
forensically, collect evidence, conduct
interviews and take photographs to com-
pile a detailed report on the facts for the
commander," Capt Adam said.
"The WIT is one way we gain an
understanding of the enemy's tactics, tech-
niques and procedures, and device threats.
By feeding the reports back to unit com-
manders, it gives us knowledge to negate
these threats to us and local civilians."
The unit gathers information on IEDs
and weapons found by Australian force
elements, Afghan National Security Forces
"We get information from weapons
cache finds, IED incidents or from cordon
and search operations," Capt Adam said.
He said soldiers were taught how to
forensically handle weapons equipment
and components, and how to forensically
preserve a site.
"Photos are taken of the scene and the
evidence is compiled, including any com-
ponentry, and sent to the WIT," he said.
"We take this evidence and analyse it
and prepare it to be sent on for further
analysis and provide the supported com-
manders and force elements with the most
up-to-date information on the threat they
WO1 Les Friend, the scenes of crime
officer, said he and the team could have as
little as 15 minutes or up to 24 hours to do
"I'm looking for what's occurred, what
device was used, how it's been emplaced
and any traces of evidence remaining at the
site," WO1 Friend said.
The most rewarding aspect for him
is knowing the team is helping to ensure
troops are fully aware of the IED environ-
ment and that force protection measures
"There is no silver bullet solution to
IEDs. To be able to determine what hap-
pened at an incident and with very little
evidence present is rewarding," he said.
The WIT shares its information with
coalition partners to help with the success
of their activities.
"We frequently have UK and US repre-
sentatives visit us to see how we do busi-
ness," Capt Adam said. "We must be on
the right track if we have nations who have
been doing this type of work for years
coming to us for information."
Tackling terror with WIT
From February to June 15, the
Weapons Intelligence Team has:
Processed more than 2000
pieces of evidence;
Released more than 188
Spent 66 days outside
Multinational Base Tarin Kowt,
investigating 38 incidents.
Caution: Weapons Intelligence Team member WO1 Les Friend
inspects an IED battery pack in his lab in Tarin Kowt.
Photo by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
ON THE JOB
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