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NEWS | May 10, 2010

Colorado Guard joins Slovenia to train Afghan army

By Courtesy Story

CENTENNIAL, Colo., - Twelve Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers will leave their jobs and communities today to join about 30 Slovene soldiers and together as part of an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team they will train and mentor members of the Afghan National Army, during a six-month deployment.

"It always gives me a sense of accomplishment when I see Soldiers from Colorado making a difference in our own communities," said Col. Dana M. Capozzella, commander Colorado Army National Guard. "But to see them deploy today for a multi-national mission that will help bring security to communities in Afghanistan brings an incredible amount of pride to our organization."

The Colorado and Slovene Soldiers will instruct and mentor soldiers from the Afghan National Army in subjects such as operational planning and mission execution, in an effort to increase the overall capabilities of the Afghan Security Forces.

The Colorado Soldiers are expected to arrive in Afghanistan in early fall 2010 after a train-up period in Fort Polk, La., and Germany. Like most deploying units they will learn specific theater requirements, learn language and culture and will learn how to teach and mentor the ANA.

The Colorado National Guard and the Republic of Slovenia have developed a strong relationship of trust and cooperation over more than 17 years through the National Guard State Partnership Program.

The OMLT program is an important part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - International Security and Assistance Force's (NATO-ASAF) contribution towards the development of the Afghan National Army. They greatly contribute to the ISAF mission of assisting the government of Afghanistan in establishing and maintaining a safe and secure environment.

The ISAF's key military tasks include: assisting the Afghan government in extending its authority across the country, conducting stability and security operations in coordination with the Afghan national security forces, mentoring and supporting the ANA and supporting Afghan government programs to disarm illegally armed groups.