16 Mar 2007

PR# 2007-188

Praise for Afghan Security Services

LASHKA GAR, Afghanistan - ISAF forces have praised the Afghan security services in preventing more injuries after two suicide attacks in Lashkar Gah.

The strikes caused four casualties, including two civilians. But one ISAF soldier believes the number of casualties could have been significantly higher had the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) not acted so swiftly and competently.

The chief ISAF mentor of the Afghan National Army in Lashkar Gah is Captain George Little. Capt Little said: “Yesterday was a perfect example of the Afghan security forces successfully carrying out the drills we have taught and practiced. Even though it is very sad there were casualties, it could have been much worse, and that is largely due to the competent way in which they carried out their jobs.”

The two attacks occurred within 40 minutes of each other on Tuesday. The first was on an international agency convoy. The response was coordinated by the Joint Provincial Coordination Centre (JPCC), manned by Afghan representatives of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security. Providing ISAF mentoring on the day was Major Guy Balmer from the UK Task Force.

Maj Balmer said: “Within minutes of the first explosion we had confirmation from the ANA, ANP and NDS on the ground of what had happened. From that we were able to pass that information to all the ANSF locations.

“I’ve been here eight weeks.  When I first arrived, I observed they were working quite well together but there certainly wasn’t a totally joined up approach. Yesterday the JPCC team worked extremely well. This is purely due to their experience and willingness to work hard.”

The second explosion was outside the ANA compound in Lashkar Gah. Capt Little was impressed with the actions undertaken at the compound.

“The guards on duty noticed a suspicious individual and alerted their guard commander. The guard commander took charge of the situation and, accompanied by a sergeant, approached the individual. They then followed the correct military drills to warn the man before the suicide bomber detonated himself.”

Once the explosion had taken place, Little was equally impressed with their follow-up actions to help treat the casualties.

“Immediately afterwards, the ANA co-ordinated with the ANP in establishing security cordons to allow the medical services to come in and treat the casualties. In doing so they ensured the casualties did not worsen, and that no further incidents could occur to endanger the casualties.

“It shows real presence of mind by the ANA and ANP to do that and co-ordinate their actions and within two hours the area was cleared.”

ISAF troops under Capt Little’s command have been mentoring and training the ANA in a range of skills for the past few months, including how to deal with such incidents.

“The fact the sentries were alert enough to spot the suspicious looking man and that the alarm was raised is very good. They also recorded what he looked like in some detail. Their follow-up actions were just as competent.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/