Czechs train for Afghanistan in Germany

Autor: Oldřich Holeček

Together with American MUSTANG Task Force, personnel of future Czech 8th unit of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar, Afghanistan, ISAF operation, train close-to-real situations at American training facility in Hohenfels, Germany.

The four-week “Thorny Valley“ exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, is held from 18 March to 11 April 2011 under the participation of more than 150 soldiers predominantly from the 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion based at Prostejov, Czech Republic. They will form the 8th Czech unit of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Logar, Afghanistan, at American forward operation base Shank. They will soon share the base not only with Americans but also Jordanian soldiers.

The goal of the exercise is first of all coordination of PRT staff personnel with manoeuvre units, testing readiness of units and training possible solutions to probable situations, the soldiers can experience in Afghanistan. The exercise scenario brings close-to-real deployment conditions.

“You will make a patrol to Char Hawza village. Your task is to accompany a civilian expert and a CIMIC (Civil-Military Cooperation) member who will check a project in construction of a police station,“ First Lieutenant Jiri Bubela, Chief of Operations Group, says to a commander of the patrol. Tasking the patrol commander is only a one step among a lot of others. It is preceded by a thorough planning to give available information and detailed instructions to all members of the patrol since patrols will be the "daily bread" of mobile observation teams in ISAF operation.

“Salam Alejkum,“ governor of the Paktika province welcomes PRT commander. Within a simulated meeting with representatives of the provincial government, soldiers learn how to negotiate with local authorities and they get acquainted with a practice and customs of Afghans.

“Contact !“ a squad leader cries. The patrol was attacked on its return back to the base; ambushers shoot from small arms. A gunner at the turret shoots back, the vehicle accelerates and the whole patrol hurries to a safter place. These are the situations the soldiers must experience to be able to respond promptly.

Everybody must know engagement rules and principles of counterinsurgency. “These principles must be strictly adhered to in our all activities. Do not forget that the major task is the support to Afghan government, protection and assistance to civilian inhabitants of Afghanistan,“ Lieutenant Colonel Pavel Andrasko, commander of the unit, says to his soldiers.

Posted: April 8, 2011