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14 WORLD NEWS
Army March 31, 2011
take the lead
By AB Jo Dilorenzo
IN A demonstration of the success
of Australian mentoring efforts,
ANA soldiers at Patrol Base
Qudus planned and led a recent
patrol to a shura (meeting) with
local village elders.
MTF 2 mentor Sgt Jason Johnson
leads a section of Australian sol-
diers mentoring the ANA contingent
based at the small patrol base at the
southern end of Uruzgan province's
"We get the ANA to lead the
patrols. We give them the location
and observe them constructing a
plan from the mentoring they have
received from us," Sgt Johnson said.
"A small element of Australians
soldiers will come on patrol to assist
the ANA if required."
Sgt Johnson's role includes men-
toring the ANA and liaising with vil-
lage elders in local shuras, where
they discuss International Security
Assistance Force-funded develop-
ments in the area such as roads,
schools, and any aid required.
The meetings are also an oppor-
tunity for the local community mem-
bers to raise any concerns they have.
"It's an Afghan tradition to talk
over chai (tea) and then, when the
locals are ready it is down to busi-
ness and we discuss the develop-
ment of projects in the area and con-
cerns within the community, which
are often largely related to insurgent
activity," Sgt Johnson said.
"This information provides us
with enhanced awareness and may
help provide opportunities to iden-
tity solutions to any emerging prob-
lems down the track.
"While these shuras are being
held, the ANA provides security
around the meeting place.
"Today's patrol was successful.
The ANA provided a direct route to
the shura, set up security, stopping
and searching people when required.
Overall it was a good patrol."
Local knowledge: Sgt Jason Johnson and Afghan soldiers meet with villagers
during a patrol in Uruzgan province. Inset: The patrol sets out from Patrol Base
Qudus in the Baluchi Valley.
Photos by AB Jo Dilorenzo
Gear up: ANA soldiers prepare to set out on patrol.
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