The next generation of Afghan army officers is being forged in a rigorous training camp near Kabul, which aims to produce men and women of the highest calibre to lead their country in the fight against the insurgency.
This story focuses on profile of two young officer cadets currently in training at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul. The academy selects only the best candidates from thousands of applicants. We speak to two promising cadets, hearing how the training is progressing and their thoughts on the future of their country now the Afghan Army have taken full control of security.
Abdul Saboor, a young high school graduate and Wahidullah Zazai, a hardened veteran of the Afghan special forces, two very different men from different corners of Afghanistan, training together with a very similar goal, to become leaders in the Afghan National Army.
“When I was in high school I always used to watch the news in the evenings, and I would see there were attacks happening in different provinces of Afghanistan, bomb blasts and genocide of civilians. These things were taking place all the time. So because of this, I took the decision to join the Army in order to defend the people who have been targeted in this way. I wanted to try and save innocent people’s lives,” Trainee Cadet Abdul Saboor, Afghan National Army, said.
Thousands apply to join the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, located just outside Kabul, but only the best make the grade.
“It was always my dream to become a soldier and maybe one day become a talented general in the Afghan Army. Why? Because our country has been in constant turmoil. I have seen many problems and also many people die in front of me.
If I start telling you the stories of my life, I might start crying. So I was really interested to serve my country. This soil holds so much value for us and it needs to be protected. This country is my motherland. If I can’t protect my motherland, how can I defend my real mother?” another Trainee Cadet Wahidullah Zazai, Afghan National Army, said.
The training cycle for the cadets lasts for a year, and means extended periods of separation from the comforts of home and family.
Trainee Cadet Wahidullah Zazai, said “Right now my family is not important for me. The important thing for me right now is to work hard with my brothers. I am a strong and educated student here, but I have to help train my brothers as well. If I train hard today, I am sure I will have a bright future. I know that I have family and children but while I am here, I have left them in the hands of God.”
The aim of the academy is to provide Afghanistan with an officer training facility that mirrors the standards set by western militaries.
Trainee Cadet Wahidullah Zazai, said “Right now in 2015 we are training with the methods of 2015. The training provided is up to date, which is a very good thing. This sets us up well for the future.”
“I have learned many things here, from basic tactics to leadership, how to lead a whole battalion and how to control troops during an operation. Before I arrived I had little idea how to handle a weapon, but after time on the range, I am confident in a variety of weapons, such as assault rifles, machine guns. I can now shoot well. Today I can say that I am proficient in many areas, and am fast becoming a confident Afghan soldier,” Trainee Cadet Abdul Saboor, Afghan National Army, said.
The first graduation from the academy took place last year, and those who successfully passed out are already serving across the country.
Trainee Cadet Wahidullah Zazai, said “We need to stop the insurgents from brainwashing our children, and I will do my best to get rid of those people who would prevent peace from coming to my country.
The faster we bring peace, the faster we can bring education and the stronger our unity will grow, to the point where we will no longer need foreigners to support our country. Only if these things happen will Afghanistan be able to stand up for itself.”
This is the script of a NATOChannel story by Laurence Cameron