Is cultural awareness training a relevant part of OPTAG?

Feedback from officials and locals in Afganistan on the British army is that they are well trained and on the whole are respected for doing a good job. But one area where they seem to fall down is their lack of cultural awareness and particularly lack of even a rudimentary grasp of the local language. Particularly for those working with the Afgan army and influencers at all levels. Is Optag providing this but just not enough? or are the soldiers just dismissing it as unnecessary? so put it in the mental rubish bin. Admittedly pre deployment training is usually pretty full on and soldiers heads are crammed with so much info it is hard to get what may seem less essential information accross.
All sugestions or comments welcome please....
No - not a journo - but I wanted to look into this. When I did optag for Iraq there was some Arabic training and a leaflet on words and phrases and I don't think one person returned after seven months able to say more than two words (and that was just "stop" or "slow down" used at VCPs). And hearing the guys back from afganistan talking about the taleban without any sort of understanding made me wonder about the pre herric optag, if there was anymore cultural awareness than the almost nill that we got for telic.
Temple said:
scubasam said:
You say you're not a journo then so be it. But it's your second post and you dive straight into OPTAG cultural awereness?
What is the approved hierarchy of questions on ARRSE then?
Usally about post 14 is Cultural awareness, the previous ones usally about the schematics for working nuclear power plants, oh and whats your time run really. HtH.
No probs, im waiting for my 4000th post, which entitles me to not talk bollox, which the previous 3999 have been.


I actually attended a talk by an Anthropologist engaged by the DSTL for the MoD last month. During discussion we spoke about cultural awareness training at the tactical/operational level, to which she replied that wasn't her bag. That said I suggested if a course could be accredited (CATS) for people prior to deployment (probably in the preceeding months), they might be more interested in taking it up to put toward training/education on leaving...As Uni. of London do distance learning, I see no reason they couldn't accredit 'sit down' training that could be put toward say a Sociology/Psychology/Anthropology degree.
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