“Training Kicks In” during Ambush:

The Provincial Reconstruction Team covering Qalat, Afghanistan (see above), had some problems getting the Tarnak River Bridge built because the Taliban stalled its progress, stealing construction materials and threatening contractors and more. Capt. Rockie Wilson told reporters last week that the Taliban ambushed the PRT as team members were en route to the mountainous Kahki Afghan District. They were going to check on the progress of police barracks under construction and to choose sites for a police center and the district’s communication center. The PRT group, escorted by coalition and Afghan National Army troops, was able to fight off the attack with help from USAF A-10 aircraft. “We called in close air support, and we engaged with small arms,” Wilson said. He added: “It was pretty eye-opening … it made you realize all the things you take for granted in life. Then your training kicks in, and you do what you have to do.” The Taliban forces retreated, but Wilson said they continued to harass the team and its contractors. Wilson noted that he urged the contract workers to talk to the Afghan police. “We didn’t want to be the focal point for all their problems,” said Wilson, adding, “We were trying to facilitate the hand-off of that role, and so we would always defer them first to the provincial government and the staff.”