From the event

28 May 2008

ISAF and ANA discuss partnership and mentorship

KABUL, Afghanistan - Sergeant Majors (or non-commissioned officers) belonging to the Afghan National Army (ANA), Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), Coalition forces and ISAF gathered to discuss partnership, mentorship and fellowship between military forces on 19-21 May.

They met in the framework of the third-annual Sergeant Major of the Army Seminar, hosted by Roshan Safi, Sergeant Major of the ANA, and sponsored by CSTC-A, at Kabul Military Training Compound.

“This seminar is introducing different issues that some sergeant majors aren’t aware of or familiar with, such as new training plans, new types of weapons systems and the new humvees they are about to receive,” said Sgt. Maj. Richard N. Williams, ISAF Regional Command East (RC-East).

ANA training, accommodation, remuneration were also discussed. ISAF RC-East Command Sgt Maj. Vincent Camacho said: “There are new incentive programmes in the ANA, which include retirement benefits for the officers”. A similar program for non-commissioned officers (NCOs) is something he hopes will come about to help retain enrolled sergeant majors.

On the second day of the seminar, NCOs attended classes with their mentors who displayed their knowledge of their new weaponry, such as M-16 rifles and M-240 machine guns. Though the ANA is quite young, several mentors noted how far NCOs have come. “They were on-point and very knowledgeable of everything, from the weight of the weapon to exactly how it works” said Command Sgt. Maj. Donald J. Cooper, of ISAF Regional Command Capital.

Training also focused on improving the rate of literacy among the ANA. “Their literacy programme is ongoing and increasing” German Command Sgt. Maj Andreas Dault said.

“Being a mentor is a really interesting job,” said Sgt. Maj. Dault.  “My Afghan counterpart has a lot of experience and does what he can to help in the development of the unit.”

Contact Information ISAF Public Information Office
Tel: +93 (0)79 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/