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KUWAIT CITY, May 7: Commander of Area Support Group and head of base operations in camps Buehring and Arifjan Colonel Martin Wolgemut confirmed that the American forces will stay in Kuwait for a long time. Wolgemut made the statement during the Kuwaiti-American military drill held Thursday at Camp Arifjan, during which five joint exercises in dealing with major emergency situations were conducted with the participation of 400 to 500 American soldiers and 50 to 60 Kuwaitis.
All the exercises were successful and the American side praised the speedy action of the participating Kuwaiti forces. After the exercises, Wolgemut met the journalists in his office. He explained that the five joint exercises are the result of planning that continued for three to four months in cooperation with the ministries of Defense and Interior and Kuwait Firefighting Force; including the disposal of ammunition and explosives, and patrol meetings every few weeks to plan the drill together. He added: “It was a good opportunity to see the ability and readiness of the Kuwaiti side to respond quickly in terms of dealing with loss of life, the injured and explosives; as well as their capability to refer the injured to other hospitals in the areas. This is a very important ability, because we do not have much of that here.”
He said: “The first exercise was an attack by a drone that was dealt with using a Patriot missile on the northern side of the base, which led to a large number of casualties. The second was a car explosion at the front gate and discovery of a damaged car outside the gate. The Kuwaiti Explosives Unit responded quickly, as it made a large security cordon outside the base and dealt with the two incidents with great efficiency. We are very happy with the unit’s performance.” He praised the efficiency of the Kuwaiti forces, affirming that they are fully prepared to face any security emergency or terrorist act. He described these forces as “wonderful”, and that they have already requested for more joint exercises. He went on to confirm that “Air Defense Commander Brigadier General Khaled Ali Al-Hafiz attended the drill along with his team. They watched the drill at the Patriot site. I think they got some very good ideas about training and joint cooperation.
According to the defense agreement with Kuwait, there will be bilateral American-Kuwaiti response to any emergency outside the base. Therefore, we have to work together in dealing with emergencies that occur on the edge of the base. I am very happy with the Kuwaiti response, which was ideal. We trained together for a very long time.” Asked about the differences between the trainings held in the United States of America and in Kuwait, Wolgemut stressed there is no big difference. “They have a common language, they understand how to work together and train together. There are a few differences, but I think the joint exercises are going very well – better than I expected,” he added. He affirmed that they will send reports on the exercises to the ministries of Interior and Defense, in which they will provide a detailed description of the areas of strength. He said the performance was outstanding and the reports will shed light on the aspects that require both sides to work on their development. He described the response of the participating Kuwaiti forces as “excellent in general, as they were fully prepared as soon as we contacted them.
They came with many vehicles and individuals to help us provide security for the base, especially since the training was for an attack targeting the front gate, which is supposed to be wide open. They came with security forces who helped us deal with the casualties. Their presence was very helpful.” He also revealed that as per the agreement with the ministries of Interior and Defense, a minor joint training will be held between the two sides every three months; which could be a drone attack, bombing or shooting in the building, while there will be large and expanded trainings between the two sides once a year. He clarified that “the diversity of exercises is an indication of a well-defined plan to develop the capabilities of the Kuwaiti side.
When we sat down with officials of the Ministry of Interior, we asked them about their most important training goals and they told us that they would like to train in specific styles, so we developed a plan in line with their required training. Car bombings are among the most common terrorist acts in the world, so the American and Kuwaiti firefighting, ordnance and explosives disposal teams worked together. They evaluated each other’s performance. The performance of the Kuwaiti side was excellent in several aspects, the most important of which is the allocation of telephone numbers for better communication and quick response. They reached the site within 10 minutes in a very professional manner.” On the ability of the Kuwaiti Army and Police to confront and deal with such terrorist attacks in general, he asserted: “The Kuwaiti Army and Police play a crucial role in ensuring security and stability of the country. The defense cooperation agreement between the two countries states that we must provide security for each other. We provide security for the State of Kuwait and we can ask for help from the Kuwaiti side if we have an emergency.” He confirmed the continuous development of facilities at the base and huge infrastructure projects, which mean the American forces will stay in Kuwait for a long time. He added that training is one of the most important elements of cooperation between the two countries, indicating that many Kuwaiti soldiers underwent training in the United States. By Shawky Mahmoud Al-Seyassah Staff