By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: The Afghan National Army Officer Academy graduated its 5000th officer. This represents a milestone for the academy as the Government of Afghanistan prepares to assume control from the current UK-led mentoring team, supported by the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission.
About 75% of Afghan National Army and Special Forces officers have graduated from the Academy, which was founded in 2013. About 6% of the graduates are women. Female cadets have been fully integrated into the course, passing the same selection standards to win their place at the academy and working alongside their male counterparts both in the classroom and during battlefield exercises.
Since 2016, the NATO-led efforts to train, advise and assist Afghan forces have focused on building long-term institutional viability for the academy, through a progressive use of a “train-the-trainer” approach, rather than teaching new recruits directly. Afghan personnel now run the school with institutional-level advising from troops from NATO countries and Resolute Support operational partners.
“You stand for stability, rule of law and equality for all Afghans,” said President Ashraf Ghani during an address to graduates. ”Today, all Afghans are proud of their security and defense institutions. You are the guardians of the republic. Our security and defense forces were the first to respond to the recent floods. The army is transforming with full strength and speed to a committed national army– representing great national policy, national unity and professional competence.”
The Afghan government will assume full responsibility for the academy in early 2021. ”The academy has come a long way and has proven more than capable of taking ownership…the mentors over the years have done a most impressive job, and now the Academy is ready to determine its own future,” UK Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Sir Nick Carter said in a written address to graduates. Together with Australia, Denmark and New Zealand, the United Kingdom has played a leading role in setting up and developing the academy, through a 48-week training programme based on the format used at the UK’s prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
The Academy is ”an important part of the wider Resolute Support train, advise, assist mission,” said Lt. Gen. Giles Hill (UK), Resolute Support Deputy Commander. ”It symbolises the strong partnership between Resolute Support and Afghan security forces, and in particular, the UK-Afghanistan relationship. Any Army needs well-trained junior leaders and ones that will—in time—form the senior leadership of the military. All that starts with the fundamentals of leadership taught here.” The UK intends to maintain a long-term institutional relationship with the Academy, offering graduates opportunities to coordinate with Sandhurst and connect with alumni. NATO Allies and partners stand committed to Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability, by continuing to provide support and advice to the Afghan security forces, through training and funding.