4 Dec. 2008
PR# 2008-680

ANA training improves soldiers’ lives

Afghan National Army recruit Hamidullah Kjugyanai of Nengarhar studies a lesson from literacy class during basic training at Camp Zafar Dec. 2. Literacy is an important part of the 10-week Basic Warrior Training course at the 207th Kandak because only 30 percent of new recruits can read and write.

KABUL, Afghanistan - With a normal training class size in the 600s, the Afghan National Army Training Command at Camp Zafar, Herat, is two weeks into its 10-week training cycle Dec. 2 with nearly 800 Afghan men participating, its largest group of recruits yet.

The 10-week cycle consists of five weeks of basic infantry training followed by three weeks of advanced individual training and a final two weeks for a combat training exercise.

“I joined the Army because I saw there were different people coming from foreign countries to help my country here, and I want to defend my country,” said ANA Private Ataullulha Qambari of Takhar province. “I want Afghanistan to be peaceful.”

The training is led by Afghan National Army drill sergeants who have a vested interest in seeing their country and soldiers succeed.

An Afghan National Army drill sergeant commands a formation of recruits during training Dec. 2. The recruits are in the Basic Warrior Training class at the 207th Kandak where in 10-weeks they will learn to be soldiers in the Afghan National Army.

ANA Sergeant Gholan Faroq of Herat was a taxi driver before he joined the ANA a year and a half ago. He’s now helped train Afghan soldiers for eight months. It is very important to him that his soldiers are the best. One difficulty he faces is the inability of many recruits to read and write Dari.

“It is a little problem for the soldiers; they are uneducated,” Faroq said. “But now we have literacy classes every afternoon except for Thursdays.”

The literacy classes are just one example of ways the ANA is helping Afghans help themselves and their country. Religion classes are also held, and the current group of soldiers in training registered to vote last week.

“One of the ideas we came up with recently dealt with bringing a bank here,” said Military Personnel Resources Incorporated mentor John James of Wasilla, Alaska, who aids the ANA battalion commander. “We made the observation that often, after payday, certain people would leave the training kandak and go home to give the money they earned at training camp to their family. An idea we came up with was to bring the bank to the training kandak and let them draw their pay from the pay officer and then go right over to the bank and open up a joint account so their families back home could access the joint account. It makes it a whole lot easier. We are hoping that the absent without leave (AWOL) rate will be lower because of this.”

Currently, the absent without leave rate for the four Remote Basic Warrior Training centers around the country, which includes Camp Zafar, totals one person.

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