Building Afghan Logistics Relationships By CPT Stephen Kildow
As the US led coalition in Afghanistan seeks to draw down troop levels in Afghanistan over the next few years, Afghan Army Logisticians will need to increasingly rely on each other to solve complex logistical problems inherent in this austere environment as they continue the fight against groups that pose a threat to their security. In any organization, sharing best practices, experiences, and building relationships is essential to ensure growth and future success. Afghan National Army (ANA) leaders understand this but are often unable to share their experiences and build relationships due to limited communication infrastructure and extreme terrain separating many of the units. Mentors from the 101st Special Troops Battalion â€œSustainersâ€? and Forward Supply Depot (FSD) mentors assigned to National Training MissionAfghanistan (NTM-A) recently provided an opportunity for two Afghan Logistics units to sit together and discuss past challenges, how they overcame those challenges, and future initiatives that will help the Afghan Logistics System operate independently. The 201st Corps Logistics Kandak (CLK) headquartered at Gamberi Garrison has been established for over two years and has independently executed over 40 Combat Logistical Patrols over the last 11 months. Conversely, the 203rd CLK at Gardez was just fielded less than two months ago and is currently executing an intensive training regimen in order to prepare for future combat missions. Similarly, the 1st FSD at Gardez has been operational for over two years while the 6th FSD at Gamberi has only been operational for only six months. The aforementioned dynamic created a perfect opportunity for mentors and Afghan Leaders to learn from each other at FOB Lighting, home of the 203rd CLK and 1st FSD. The visit began with a tour of the 203rd CLK facilities by the Kandak Commander, COL Dor Mohammad. While walking through the newly formed motorpool, COL Mohammad explained that his unit had plenty of equipment but would not be able to conduct missions until his Soldiers completed training required to operate the equipment. The 201st CLK XO, MAJ Nazamadine, took this opportunity to provide some advice on how mentors trained large groups of Soldiers within the 201st CLK and then identified competent NCOs from those groups to serve as Master Trainers for future classes with mentors only observing. This technique has led to 90% of training in the 201st CLK being completely planned, resourced, and conducted by ANA NCOs. As the group toured the newly acquired maintenance bay, COL Mohammed proudly displayed the tool room and parts rooms that he hoped would be filled with parts in the near future allowing his mechanics to complete repairs on non-mission capable vehicles. MAJ Nazamadine took this opportunity to describe the excellent relationship his maintenance company has with A-TEMP, a civilian contracted company that conducts depot level
maintenance at several sites across Afghanistan. Nazamadine explained how his ANA mechanics and A-TEMP mechanics, many being Afghan Nationals, work side by side learning from and helping each other. Next was a visit to the FSD where COL Abdul Basir Baloch, Commander of the 6th FSD, and LTC Jen Mohammad, Executive Officer of the 6th FSD, discussed challenges they faced when standing up their depot. Areas of discussion ranged from seemingly trivial things like getting office furniture and automation equipment to more complex issues involving the organization of the depot, property accountability, and receiving trained officers and NCOs to run operations in the depot. When asked about the importance of the visit, LTC Jen Mohammed replied, “I think it is so good for our units to share information and learn from each other. I would like to do these visits more often in the future.” After lunch, the 203rd CLK staff sat down with the 201st CLK Logistics Officer, CPT Khan Zaman, to review report formats that the 201st brought with them to provide to their 203rd counterparts. For a unit just standing up, these report formats were invaluable and as one 203rd CLK officer stated, the amount of information provided “was unexpected but greatly appreciated.” Over the next few months, both units will transition to a Regional Logistics Support Command, a change that will require them to support not only their respective Corps units but also the Afghan Air Force, Afghan Police, and Afghan Commando units. More meetings like these in the future, which focus on making both units more productive and effective, will reap tremendous benefits as the Afghan Logistics community continues to mature in an effort to provide continuous support to their Afghan brethren.
203rd CLK Commander, COL Mohammad, 201st CLK XO, MAJ Nazamadine, and 101st TMT Senior Advisor, CPT Stephen Kildow, discuss drivers training as they tour the 203rd CLK motorpool at FOB Lightning Afghanistan.
203rd CLK Commander, COL Mohammad, answers a question from MAJ Hussein Shah, 201st CLK SPO, regarding the ability of 203rd CLK to request and receive parts and supplies.
COL Abdul Basir Baloch, Commander of the 1st FSD at FOB Thunder, explains to the 201st CLK and 6th FSD leadership how his depot operates to support the ANA, ANP, and ABP in his region.