Afghan Information Dissemination Operations

 
  American Forces Press Service
   
 
 
 

 

‘New Breed’ of Soldiers Graduate in Afghan Army Ceremony

By Spc. Micah E. Clare, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

  CAMP CLARK, Afghanistan, March 7, 2008 – A graduation ceremony for a new breed of Afghan National Army soldiers was held here Feb. 27 as a sign of a renewed shift of focus to the part of the fight against insurgents in Afghanistan that doesn’t involve combat. 

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Newly graduated Afghan National Army Information Dissemination Operations soldiers hold their certifications after the graduation ceremony at Camp Clark, Afghanistan, Feb. 27, 2008. Photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare, USA
  

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  More than 30 Afghan army 203rd Corps soldiers graduated from a 14-day course called Afghan Information Dissemination Operations course, or AIDO, where they learned skills useful for dealing with media, taking population surveys, engaging face to face with local leaders, providing humanitarian aid and conducting loudspeaker operations.

“The information age has changed the face of war,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Kramer, a mobile tactical trainer from 324th Psychological Operations Company. “Now these AIDO soldiers are trained and able to go out and tell the Afghans the truth that the (Afghan government) and security forces are for the civilians and their safety.”

Most of the soldiers who volunteered for service in Information Dissemination Operations already had experienced protecting the people they serve as Afghan army infantrymen, Kramer explained. “We expected them to be mature soldiers,” he said.

They also had to be able to read and write fluently in either Dari or Pashto, the two major languages of Afghanistan, to be able to interact with their country’s ethnically diverse population.

Interacting face to face with this population is an important part of winning them over, Afghan Col. Sayed Waqifshah, the religious and cultural advisor to 203rd Corps, said.

“The soldier’s job is to fight the enemy,” he explained. “This doesn’t always mean shooting them. While all AIDO soldiers are good fighters, fighting is what tears us as a people apart. It is much better for us to go to our people and talk with them first.”

The soldiers’ final training task was to handle a humanitarian-aid drop to area residents, where they proved their proficiency and dedication to their new job.

“These classes were a necessity,” Shaw said. “AIDO will be a great asset to the ANA and the future of Afghanistan.”

(Army Spc. Micah E. Clare serves with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)
 

 
  Related Sites:
Combined Joint Task Force 82
NATO International Security Assistance Force

   

 

Click photo for screen-resolution image Afghan National Army soldiers clap and cheer for comrades graduating from the new Afghan Information Dissemination Operations course on Camp Clark, Afghanistan, Feb. 27, 2008. Photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution image An Afghan National Army captain passes out pro-Afghanistan pamphlets to children in the Andar district of Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, June 25, 2007. Such operations are becoming a growing part of the Afghan national security forces’ role. Photo by Spc. Micah E. Clare, USA  
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3 Comments

Filed under IW, PSYOP, The Forgotten War

3 responses to “Afghan Information Dissemination Operations

  1. Grimmy

    This is a good sign. Time, effort and resources aren’t devoted to programs such as this described above until there’s a fair certainty that the kinetic parts of the fight are mostly under control.

    Going earlier on such things might seem productive according to the pristine COIN concepts, but in reality, all that ends up getting accomplished is feeding good men to the sharks.

    The enemy has to get enough of the starch beat out of it to be willing to talk, before there’s any value at all to spending time or effort in talking with them.

  2. These types of training programs really give our side the edge in logistics. Manpower, after all, is just as much a resource as beans and bullets.

    The enemy has to get enough of the starch beat out of it to be willing to talk, before there’s any value at all to spending time or effort in talking with them.

    The take I get from the short description of the program is that they are focusing more on diplomacy and a cannon in both hands approach, instead of the purely kinetic approach someone like the US Army favored in 2003.

    Because Afghanistan is not as militarily powerful as the US is, such folks have a natural inclination to use subterfuge and indirect methods due to the fact that you can’t call for a bigger hammer if it doesn’t exist.

  3. Grimmy

    ymar:

    I think you’re reading too much into it. This looks more like standard issue G5 (civil affairs) stuff. It’s always part of every war, always has been, always will be.

    It is most often a good indicator that the area is moving toward the clean up phase.

    This particular program will definitely be adjusted for the local conditions. There’ll be more flexible logistics delivery within the national military of Afghanistan than any other segment for some time to come.

    So, it will only make sense to use the infrastructure already existing within their military to fulfill immediate needs.

    My first comment was a bit of snark aimed at those moronites that tend to through around the term COIN as if it’s some freekin magic talisman that banishes away all aspects of harshness or actual warfighting from any operations area designated as “counter insurgent”.