Friday May 24, 2013
Weapons of Former Enemies Revitalized for Afghanistan`s Army (VIDEO)Tim King, Salem-News.com
DISPATCHES FROM AFGHANISTAN
(KABUL, Afghanistan) - As Oregon troops in Afghanistan continue to train the Afghan National Army and raise their level of preparedness, they are learning that help can come from unexpected places. Former communist countries that have the knowledge and know how to repair aging, abandoned Soviet military equipment are putting their wisdom to use for a better cause.
Tim King shows us that the weapons of our former enemies are good tools for a nation in the throws of rebuilding. The war in Afghanistan involves many Americans, but nearly every assignment, like the refurbishment of aging artillery, is dependent on the service of men and women of other coalition countries.
Preparing the Afghan National Army to eventually take charge of their own nation's future is a primary objective, and in a nation as poor as this one, recycling older military equipment is of paramount importance.
On this day, a group of Mongolian soldiers armed with Russian AK-47 assault rifles and British Royal Marines, joined the U.S. and Afghan Armies in an effort to bring aging eastern block howitzers back to the front lines. Tim King explained, "I was surprised at first to see the Mongolians carrying the AK-47, it's an assault weapon typically used by our enemies.
But that kind of background leads them to being able to work on these artillery pieces, it's something that is a great advantage for the Afghanis."
The mission is to prepare 80 of the 250 field artillery guns left behind by the Russians in the 1980's. Major Geoffrey Liljenwall of the Oregon National Guard says it is a big job, but there are many things in their favor. "The small parts, springs and things like that are very difficult because they wear out. Then the rubber parts, we have to find the equivalent that's available today and buy those." People like Major Abdul Habib of the Afghan National Army say the coalition’s assistance is speeding the recovery of his nation, he says, "Yes, because always they help me, they help us."
Everyone involved in the project praised the skills of the Mongolian Army. Working side by side with Afghanis, they more than proved their worth. But the project is just getting off the ground, and Embedded Training Team members like First Sgt. Miguel Jimenez of the Utah National Guard says there is still plenty to figure out.
"I'm just kind of getting the feel for it now and that's basically what we are trying to see- how we can fit into this and fit it into the big picture for our artillery crew their guns and make parts as we need them,” Jimenez said.
And as the efforts to bring the Afghans up to speed continues, people like Darren James of the U.S. Air Force says showing the positive side of the coalition forces is a necessary ingredient for their continued success.
“It's good that news media comes out and covers the good stuff we are doing for the Afghans, changes hearts and minds."
The U.S. hopes to have the 80 Russian artillery pieces in place on the front lines by August, 2007.
Watch the Video News Report below, direct from Kabul, Afghanistan by Tim King:
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Silver Spoke Award by the National Coalition of Motorcyclists (2011), Excellence in Journalism Award by the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (2010), Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), First-place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Tim was a member of the National Press Photographer's Association for several years and is a current member of the Orange County Press Club.
Serving the community in very real terms, Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 82 Salem-News.com writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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