CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan – It was a small and simple, if impromptu, ceremony. A Danish Army warrant officer handed an Afghan National Army colonel a set of keys.
The hand off signified a transfer of three facilities – two training and one living support site – from Regional Support Command Southwest control to the ANA on the Regional Military Training Center Southwest in Helmand province, Afghanistan, April16.
The handoff marks a smaller step in the bigger process of the Afghan National Security Forces running their own facilities, training and security by 2014, U.S. Army Col. Matt Redding, the RSC-SW commander, said before the walk through and hand over.
The ceremony was held in the doorway of a training qalat, or compound, at the RMTC-SW after walking through a training qalat. Danish Army W.O. 2 Jesper, with RSC-SW’s engineering section, handed the set of keys to ANA Col. Shah Wali, the RMTC-SW commander.
“That’s very good. I’m very happy,” ANA Col. Shah Wali said through an interpreter, the ring of keys in hand.
The first site looked like a real Afghan qalat, or compound: high, thick mud walls, short buildings with small windows and narrow doors. It would replicate something the ANA soldiers would search during operations in the field.
“Looks more like a work of art than a training compound,” Redding said.
U.S. Army Lt. Col. Rodney Abrams said the qalat, cost $85,000 to build and was built with local techniques to replicate an actual village the ANA soldiers would search during operations, “right down to the well.” The well was dry and the bucket was made from a recycled tire.
The hand off of the set of serial numbered keys happened outside the qalat. Someone asked Jesper to hand the keys to Shah Wali and pose for a quick photo. They shook hands, the photo was made and the keys were in Shah Wali’s hands. The training qalat was now in Afghan hands.
They small group walked over to a simulated ANA checkpoint with towers and a barracks room. It was an actual checkpoint just used for training, Abrams said. After the walk through they moved to the Living Support Site across RMTC’s main road.
The LSS is a latrines and showers building and cost $249,834, said Abrams.
“We’ll have to work on the remaining buildings. Over the next six months they’ll be working really well,” said Redding.
Abrams said the handover is an important step forward.
“It’s moving the peanut forward,” Rodgers noted.
Now that the ANA control the training sites, they can schedule who uses them, Abrams said.
“(Shah Wali) can train his guys and outsource and open up to the 215th Maiwand Corps if they want to train there,” Abrams explained.
The handover means the ANA running RMTC-SW can take some of the temporary facilities – like the festival tents used for billeting and trailer showers – off line, he explained.
The operations and maintenance contracts for the sites will be administered by RSC-SW but will be transitioned to the ANA next year, Abrams said.
A rolling handover of training sites and barracks facilities at RMTC-SW and Camp Shorabak will continue through 2013.
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan is a coalition of 38 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country’s security by 2014. For more information about NTM-A, visit www.ntm-a.com.
Like this? Join the conversation on Twitter #NTM-A
There are no comments yet. Why not be the first to speak your mind.