МОНГОЛ УЛСЫН ТӨЛӨӨ ЗҮТГЭЕ! : Mongolian Unit Trains ANA at Kabul Military Training Center
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Mongolian Unit Trains ANA at Kabul Military Training Center

Story by Gary A Hengstler
NATO Training Mission Afghanistan

The flames from the D-30 artillery piece briefly warm the chilly morning air as the roar of the cannon echoes across the valley of the Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC). With arms crossed and a stern countenance, COL Damdindorj Tsevegsuren of Mongolia nods as his unit’s Afghan National Army trainees break into applause at their success in hitting the target.

The Mongolian unit works with about 50 selected ANA Soldiers in each Kandak (battalion) to gain competency with three Russian weapons – the D-30, SPG-9 and the 82mm mortar. So far, they have one Kandak (the 122nd) that had completed the six-week course. The 123rd Kandak was four weeks into the training while the 124th had just finished its second week.

MAJ Mirwas Kohistani, chief of the artillery section at KMTC says the weapons were chosen for their effectiveness against Taliban. “We are able to fire up to 15,300 meters. Through effective use of these guns, the Taliban will not be able to come out from their posts.”

Despite obstacles that have slowed the progress, both the Afghan National Army Soldiers and the Mongolian trainers insist the training is succeeding. “It is difficult for us to train Soldiers who are unable to read and write in trying to assist them in learning to calibrate the gun,” Tsevegsuren says through an interpreter, “but through the use of visuals aids, patience and repetition, they are able to master the weapons.”

Kohistani agrees, but notes that language barriers also can slow the progress. Pointing to the calibration instruction book given to him by the Mongolians, one of the team leaders asks his Mongolian trainer how to change the calibration from 2,000 to 1,800 hexometers. The trainer does not understand and brings he question to Kohistani who, in turn, asks the question to an interpreter who translates English so Captain Habai can ask the trainers in Mongolian. And then the process is reversed for the answer.

It takes a long time, and the looks on their faces leave one with the impression neither is certain the question is sufficiently addressed. Still, the unit returns to its D-30, makes the adjustments and breaks into applause then the round hits close to the tank shell at the base of the mountain.

Other obstacles include having only 15 mortar systems for the class of over one hundred. Only one of these mortar systems is fully mission capable and ready to be used on the range. The other 14 are worn out and used for demonstration in the classroom. COL Khairuddin of the Afghan National Army reports that “we have ordered replacement mortars from the Ministry of Defense and expect them to be available soon.” Both the Afghan Soldiers and their Mongolian instructors understand that these problems require patience to solve and are still conducting effective, yet safe training. “Safety always is our first concern,” says Tsevegsuren, “but we also stress the need for maintain the weapon in good order as well as being able to fire them accurately.”

Besides working with the artillery unit within a Kandak, the Mongolians also mentor an officers’ course and have divided their time between KMTC and assisting the 201 Corps in Jalalabad. Both of these crucial tasks stretch the capabilities of this 22-MAN man detachment, but the valiant and dedicated efforts of these men are definitely achieving successes in both of their duties.

The Mongolians are halfway through their six-month tour of duty. If their efforts have been successful, the Afghan National Army trainers will take over when they leave. And, while Kohistani praised the efforts of the Mongolians, he added that the Coalition Soldiers also stationed at Camp Alamo have been particularly effective at securing needed equipment and helping to solving problems as they have developed at times.

Эх сурвалж НАТО-ын вэб хуудаснаас авав.

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