Fifty-nine Afghan soldiers of Route Clearance Company from the 203rd Corps of the Afghan National Army, recently graduated from an anti-Improvised Explosive Device system training in Khost province.
The soldiers were trained and qualified to operate a system called Symphony, a mobile system used to counter the newer types of IEDs.
“The intent is for the Afghan forces to be able to teach themselves how to use the system. All of the training we have been doing with them in the past few months has been geared to do that,” said US Army Capt Luke Plante.
IEDs have been deployed by insurgents against both the coalition and Afghan security forces for years, but their technology has advanced. One of the methods is initiating the IEDs using wireless control devices, such as cell phones. The Symphony system is designed to defeat those devices from a safe distance, while on the move.
The soldiers received approximately an hour and a half of classroom instruction and six hours of hands-on training on the system. To successfully graduate from the course, the students had to physically demonstrate how to power-up the system, set it up and then correctly shut it down, which they were all able to do.
“It’s a capability we can leave with the Afghans that can give them sustainability once we leave as well as give them increased force protection capabilities for operations. Everything we leave behind, we want it to be sustainable for them,” said US Army Maj Ryan Mayfield.
“The system will make a difference,” he added. “Their route clearance efforts, by their own understanding of the terrain and environment, are very successful by their definition. But it is a system which gives them the ability to defeat radio controlled IEDs which brings them confidence.”