Afghan Special Mission Wing hosts two-day ISR conference

Afghan Special Mission Wing Mi-17 helicopters sit on the flight line in Kabul. The SMW hosted a conference with senior intelligence officials from the defense and interior ministries, as well as National Directorate of Security (NDS) organizations.
9 Mar 2018

KABUL – Afghanistan’s only dedicated special operations aviation unit hosted a conference here with senior intelligence officials from the defense and interior ministries, as well as National Directorate of Security (NDS) organizations attending March 6-7.

The Afghan-led joint service and inter-agency event was held at the Special Mission Wing’s headquarters to further coordinate a "whole of government” approach for the intelligence community, with a focus on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) processes and procedures.

"The Special Mission Wing is the tip of the spear for tactical and operational intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance,” said Col. Ziyarmal, deputy commander of the SMW. "Our mission is to provide essential operational reach … for the Afghan Special Security Forces, delivering these ground forces during day or under the cover of darkness to remote and difficult locations.

"The SMW also provides real-time targeting data to the Afghan Air Force A-29 pilots for their close air attack missions, improving first pass lethality,” he said.

Achievements made  by the SMW’s Intelligence Information Center (IIC), which is comprised of 16 intelligence officers and noncommissioned officers, laid the foundation for the conference.

"The mission of the IIC is three-fold,” said an Afghan colonel whose identity must be protected for security purposes. "Firstly, we have to provide over watch for helicopter and ground assaults through maximizing the capabilities and processes of our resources, such as our PC-12 fixed wing aircraft. Secondly, we efficiently provide intelligence preparation of the battlespace, which gives strike forces updated situational awareness for their mission briefings. Finally, the IIC offers the Afghan Air Force ISR support to mitigate civilian casualties while positively identifying the target.”

Conference speakers stressed the importance of synchronization among directorate intelligence functions and discussed future efforts across a variety of topics, ranging from air support request procedures to positive target identification. Attendees also had the opportunity to openly communicate and clarify priorities and expectations for further development of relationships within their community.

Ziyarmal said the community’s "shared vision” is to identify, locate and destroy those who threaten Afghanistan’s sovereignty, and to provide security and prosperity for the people.

This is the first ISR conference hosted by SMW, but officials plan to hold the conference semi-annually and adjust the focus to address the most important topics within the intelligence community.

The two-day event culminated in a ceremony celebrating the one-year anniversary of the IIC.

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