Nearing its 100th day of its deployment in Afghanistan, the highly trained and specialized 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade for the NATO Resolute Support mission is seeing results, the brigade’s commander said today.
“We confirm that we had the right training to prepare us to train, advise, assist, accompany and enable our Afghan partners,” Army Col. Scott Jackson told Pentagon reporters via videoconference from Kabul, Afghanistan.
“The manner in which the SFAB operates requires a degree of specialized training, providing self-sufficiency in difficult and complex situations,” he said.
In the time the brigade has been in Afghanistan, Jackson explained, the troops have witnessed Afghan forces taking the fight to the enemy and using their own resources. Afghan forces have used air assets, artillery and ground maneuvers with success in the fight.
The Army announced the creation of SFABs in February 2017.
The 1st SFAB was designed and equipped for the specialized mission in training, advising, assisting, accompanying and enabling Afghan forces from the kandak to the corps level, Jackson said. A kandak is roughly the size of a battalion.
Adding ‘Extensive Tactical Depth’
SFAB members are volunteers who were selected based on their high level of technical expertise, physical fitness and potential ability to advise a foreign security partner force, Jackson explained.
"Since our arrival we have deployed advisory teams to every Resolute Support regional command and partnered them with Afghan army, police and border force elements ranging from kandak to Afghan brigades and police districts and all the way up to Afghan corps, division and police zones," he said.
The commander explained the SFAB has provided ground maneuver-focused teams, and specialty teams focused on engineering, field artillery, military intelligence, logistics and communications.
“Through echelons and functionality, the 1st SFAB has added extensive tactical depth to the overall Resolute Support advising mission," he said.
Goal to Improve Partners in ‘Every Measurable Way’
The U.S. soldiers, Jackson explained, assess the partnered organization, establish a solid relationship with that organization, represent the United States well, and then make the partner better and self-sustainable.
“Simply put, the goal is to make our partners better in every measurable way,” Jackson said.
The SFAB is making "great progress" in supporting the Afghan forces so they can maintain unequal fights, keep up the pressure against the enemy and effectively use their resources.
The brigade will define its success in terms of its partners in the coming months, he said.
“When we leave, our partners will be more technically and tactically capable, more offensive minded, more self-sustaining and deserving of the trust of the Afghan people," Jackson said.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)