15 Nov. 2008
PR# 2008-616

Dutch OMLT trains ANA

KAMP HOLLAND, Afghanistan -- Afghan National Army soldiers ‘lock and load’ before a patrol with the Dutch Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team here, Nov. 9. The Dutch are helping ISAF in assisting the Afghan government in extending and exercising its authority and influence across the country, creating the conditions for stabilization and reconstruction. (ISAF photo)

KABUL, Afghanistan - The International Security Assistance Force Dutch Operational Mentor and Liaison Team has been revitalizing the training of ANA personnel in Uruzgan Province since July 22.

The Dutch soldiers have been training the 2nd Kandak, 4th brigade, 205th Corps, Afghan National Army, in light infantry procedures, said the OMLT 2nd in command Dutch Royal Marine Capt. Tim.

“As a Marine it brings me right back to basic infantry skills,” said Tim. “We do basic patrolling, we teach basic patrolling we teach people, and we see the results of what we teach.”

“We try not to teach them too much theory, but in my experience if you keep the lessons practical, they will learn a lot,” added Tim. “Working with the ANA is rewarding, you almost instantly get back what you put in.”

The Dutch are helping ISAF assist the Afghan government in extending and exercising its authority and influence across the country, creating the conditions for stabilization and reconstruction.

“We train with the ANA and try to improve the ANA,” said Tim. “We are trying to build an army that is effective and capable to operate by itself. We are providing security and stability in this region so the people can build up their own country.”

The ISAF OMLT Program is aimed toward developing the ANA. OMLT’s are comprised of 12-19 people who embed with ANA battalions, brigades, garrisons and corps headquarters. The teams deploy for at least six months in order to build enduring relationships with the ANA and maximize mentoring effect.

“It’s a very good program because we need to be trained,” said Brigadier General Abdul Hamid, ANA 4th Brigade commander. “We want to train our soldiers and refurbish our army, we need that very much. They are doing very well and are really happy with our Dutch friends. Our people are very willing to learn more.” 

Hamid said the Dutch are doing a good job and that there is a good relationship between the two countries.

“They are very kind and very nice people,” said Hamid. “I ask all of our friends in all of the countries to help Afghanistan, we are in a very bad situation.”

“We need more ANA soldiers to solve our problem ourselves,” added Hamid. “Our people and our soldiers have knowledge about the territory, about the culture, about the language of our people. The Dutch people have good technology and good technique. If we mix these, it will make us strong.”

Besides training, the Dutch have been living with the ANA and accompanying them on combat missions. Working together while conducting aggressive patrols and defensive work trying to root out the insurgents has led to a close and fruitful partnership.

“Its been a very rewarding period for everyone in the Dutch OMLT,” said Tim. “We have been doing this for two years now and we started with the ANA being nothing more then a bunch of soldiers being in a big pile with one or two officers. The past two years we have evolved them into a grown up battalion, I think we have accomplished that.”

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/