Hundreds of new Afghan National Army (ANA) recruits, or 'warriors', have sworn loyalty and allegiance at their new training centre in Helmand province.
The event marks the half-way point of the new basic warrior training course at the Regional Military Training Centre (South West) [RMTC(SW)] located at Camp Shorabak, part of the Camp Bastion complex. The course is being hailed as an outstanding success, turning raw civilian recruits into soldiers quickly and efficiently.
According to Major Jeremy Crossley, from 1st Battalion The Rifles and commander of the British contingent at RMTC(SW), the success is due in large part to the attitude of the Afghan recruits. Watching the new recruits on parade, he commented:
We’ve been pleasantly surprised. We were prepared for a difficult time, but right from the start the recruits were really eager, and that allowed us to concentrate on the quality of the instruction.
The training is delivered by experienced ANA officers and non-commissioned officers, who worked alongside their British counterparts to design the eight-week training course.
Regimental Sergeant Major Abdul Salam was delighted with the excellent parade ground performance of his men - who had only been in uniform for a month - but was keen to point out that the new recruits will benefit greatly from joining the ANA, receiving literacy training and developing skills such as driving and leadership:
The training here is very good for the recruits as we educate them,” he said. “Now we hope our army can be strong and defeat our enemies.
The new warriors will progress to more advanced training, including extensive live firing with their M16 rifles and M240 and M249 machine guns. At the end of the course the best 200 soldiers will be kept at the training centre to form the team leaders’ course, a cadre of junior leaders who will be the backbone of the future ANA.
The remainder will join kandaks (regiments) on operations in Helmand province. The next basic warrior training course will commence soon after the present one is complete, this time with a full-scale complement of 1,800 new recruits.