A British soldier serving in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province is teaching the next generation of Afghan military bomb disposal experts.
Twenty-five year old, Fijian, Corporal Antonio “Tony” Sivo is the only British instructor teaching on the four-week Explosive Hazard Reduction Course in the Nad ‘Ali region of Helmand, with Staff Sergeant Safiq Hakimi of the Afghan National Army assisting him.
Corporal Antonio Sivo, of the Counter Improvised Explosive Device and Search Task Force, said:
“We teach how to search for explosives, ground sign awareness and the safe handling of explosives for when they are dealing with devices.
“It’ll be down to them when they qualify, and if they carry out their drills and procedures the way they’ve been taught they’ll be saving not only their own lives but also the lives of others.”
"real time experiences"
While Tony is teaching from his own experiences, his Afghan colleague draws on his own varied experiences to great effect as well.
“It’s important to have the experience of an Afghan instructor,” explained Tony.
“He’s done the job many times before and when he comes into a lesson, he’ll relate it to real time experiences he’s gone through.”
Working with the Afghans over a period of months during his tour so far, Tony has seen the Afghans’ skills in dealing with explosive devices improving and such a step is very rewarding for the young instructor:
“With the Explosive Hazard Reduction Team members that have already been trained, we’ve seen the improvements from previous operations that have been carried out. They’re able to deliver the capability safely and very professionally.
“We’re getting the Afghans to lead the way with more soldiers who are capable of dealing with these tasks. The most rewarding thing is knowing that once they qualify as Explosive Hazard Reduction Team searchers or operators, they will be out there leading the way in providing peace and stability to their own country.”