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Afghans graduate from first explosive hazards reduction course in Uruzgan

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Department of Defence Media Release

MECC 224/11 Friday, 3 June 2011

Afghans graduate from first explosive hazards reduction course in Uruzgan

Thirteen members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) recently graduated as certified Explosive Hazard Reduction Technicians on the completion of a newly established course run by Australian Army Engineers in Urzgan.

Course Senior Instructor, Captain Matt Murphy, said the graduating Afghan soldiers and policemen were the first to be qualified in the 21-day Explosive Hazards Reduction Course conducted by Combined Team - Uruzgan (CT-U).

“The course is the first of its type to be run outside of Kandahar Air Field and continues to enhance the ANSF capability in dealing with explosive hazards such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Unexploded Ordnance (UXO). By providing the ANSF with this capability, we enhance and empower the police and army,” Captain Murphy said.

The intensive training course was delivered at the Counter IED Compound at Multi National Base - Tarin Kot (MNB-TK) and, along with the existing course in Kandahar, is being monitored as a model for similar courses to be delivered across Afghanistan.

Captain Murphy said the Compound replicates the local environment including roads, buildings and vehicles and was currently being upgraded with an aqueduct system and agricultural fields to make the training as realistic for the students as possible.

“The course was designed to teach the ANSF how to reduce different forms of explosive hazards. The training is realistic and by delivering it on at the Counter IED Compound, the students learn how to deal with the threat in the environment where they will face it,” Captain Murphy said.

The trainers at MNB-TK are also the first non-US personnel to be given authority to certify students, and selection for the course is highly competitive.

Captain Murphy said that the Afghan soldiers and policemen selected to participate in the course were recommended on merit. He said that the invitation to join the training was a great source of pride and prestige among the ANSF.

“The students are keen to learn and have undertaken their training with an incredibly positive attitude. At the end of the day, they understand that by having the skills to reduce the explosive hazard threat in their country, they are keeping their fellow security forces and their civilian population safe from this threat,” Captain Murphy said.

Upon graduation, each student was presented with a certificate, a kit-bag containing the specialist equipment they require to undertake the job and a coveted Explosive Hazard Reduction Technician patch to wear on their uniform.

On the presentation of their certificates, each student turned proudly and proclaimed to the audience, “I serve Afghanistan.”

Outstanding students will be given the chance to train for the higher qualification of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technician at the ISAF training facility in Kabul.

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Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664