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Army April 26, 2012
Learning within the lanes
Search training lanes provide practical IED and cache detection training for Afghan troops
Capt Keith Carmack, US Army
ENGINEERS from MTF 4's
Mentoring Team 2 have been putting
their Afghan counterparts through
search training lanes to develop their
skills finding IEDs and caches.
Detachment commander Lt Reece
Owen said the training lanes were
made to mimic real-world scenarios as
closely as possible while maintaining
"The primary focus of the engineer
detachment is Afghan improvement in
search processes," he said.
Undertaking searches, the Afghans
must use a range of tools, includ-
ing metal detectors, to find IEDs and
weapons caches, which they then must
extract or destroy in place.
There are some challenges to the
training process, according to engi-
neer detachment commander LCpl
Matthew O'Reilly, particularly in the
interpretation of information.
Some words or descriptions don't
necessarily translate the same,"
he said. "This sometimes gives the
Afghan soldiers the wrong picture."
By using hands-on activities such
as the search lanes, "they pick up
on the details much quicker", LCpl
Another challenge for the trainers
is adapting their own procedures to fit
the equipment available to the Afghan
"Where Australian engineers will
use paint or bright coloured markers
to mark possible IED locations, the
Afghan soldier will use rocks. They
will stack the rocks up in formations
as markers," LCpl O'Reilly said.
Beyond training new recruits, the
mentors are also building a solid corps
of NCOs who will train their own
forces in the future.
Afghan engineer SSgt Azziz Mahad,
of the 2nd Kandak in Mirwais, has been
a soldier for six years and has previ-
ously worked in Helmand province.
"The younger soldiers work very
hard and learn quickly," he said.
"They have a good knowledge of the
situation and security in the area."
Working under SSgt Mahad is
Sgt Mahammad, who has been in the
Afghan National Army for only six
months but has learnt and risen up the
"I have worked with weapons in the
past but I really like the detection work
much better," he said.
In the hunt: Spr
Mitch Hearn monitors
SSgt Azziz Mahad's
search training at
Base Mirwais in the
Chora Valley. Inset,
Spr Hearn gives a
soldier's five after a
Photos by Cpl Raymond Vance
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