Members of the female Tolay (Company) of the Afghan National Army parade during their graduation at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul in October. Photo: Australian Defence Force
23 November 2016
New Zealand Defence Force soldiers are helping mentor a new batch of about 330 Afghan officer cadets in key leadership and tactical warfighting skills.
The officer cadets, about 30 of whom are women, recently started a 12-month training programme at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in Kabul.
“Our training support for the Afghan National Army contributes to Afghanistan’s efforts to build a capable and professional force. It also demonstrates our commitment to a stable future for Afghanistan,” Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said.
“Since the ANAOA was founded four years ago, New Zealand has joined the United Kingdom and other defence partners in helping develop Afghanistan’s future military leaders.”
Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Julian Sewell, the NZDF Senior National Officer in Afghanistan, said NZDF members have helped mentor about 2000 officer cadets, including 55 women, in the past three years. This includes the 342 officer cadets who completed the rigorous training programme in October.
“About 70 per cent of the latest ANAOA graduates will undergo infantry training before they deploy to frontline units,” LTCOL Sewell said.
Since 2003, the NZDF has deployed a number of contingents to Afghanistan as part of the international community’s contribution to the country’s security and development.
After New Zealand’s main security contribution to Afghanistan – the Bamyan Provincial Reconstruction Team – ended in April 2013, the NZDF has continued to deploy five mentors to the ANAOA and three support personnel to the Qargha Force Protection Company. In June, the New Zealand Government approved the deployment of two additional mentors and extended the mission’s mandate to 30 June 2018.
The ANAOA programme trains the cadets on counter-insurgency tactics, English language, war studies, signals, and leadership and communication skills.
The ANAOA, which is situated at Qargha just outside Kabul, forms part of the NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan to train, advise and assist Afghan security forces and institutions.