About 350 Afghan officer cadets graduated yesterday after completing an intensive 11-month training course supported by New Zealand Defence Force mentors, bringing to about 2600 the total number of Afghan cadets the NZDF has helped train in the past four years.
21 July 2017
About 350 Afghan officer cadets graduated yesterday after completing an intensive 11-month training course supported by New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) mentors, bringing to about 2600 the total number of Afghan cadets the NZDF has helped train in the past four years.
Lieutenant Colonel Bevan Elmiger, the NZDF’s Senior National Officer in Afghanistan and mentor to the Commanding Officer of the graduating cadets, said some of the graduates would soon be sent to the front line to support counter-terrorism operations against Islamic extremists.
“We hope that through training we have taught the officer cadets the skills and values that will prepare them to be Afghanistan’s next generation of military leaders,” he said.
“Some of them will be assigned to front-line units to fight a resurgent Taliban insurgency and a rising threat posed by ISIS extremists.”
Following their graduation, the 342 male graduates will undertake an eight-week course to sharpen their combat skills before getting specialised training in fields including infantry, artillery and logistics, Lieutenant Colonel Elmiger said.
Captain Ruth Tautari, the New Zealand female mentor at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA), said 10 of the graduates were female.
“This is another sign of success for the Afghan National Army, as they continue their efforts to increase the number of female members in their ranks,” she said.
In addition to the 352 officer cadets who graduated, about 1000 officer cadets, including 73 women, are currently training at the academy.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said the NZDF’s training mission supported NATO efforts to develop a pool of trained Afghan officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers.
“The development of leaders at all levels of the Afghan National Army is a key enabler in Afghanistan’s ongoing struggle with insurgency. Through our training mission, we have been supporting their efforts to generate and maintain an active force led by well-trained officers whose conduct, leadership and actions have an immediate impact on how the Afghan Army responds to protect and secure Afghanistan,” Major General Gall said.
The mentoring programme, which is led by the United Kingdom, is divided into three terms. The first term focuses on basic soldier skills, such as weapons handling, tactics for squad-level attacks and map reading. In term two, officer cadets learn military doctrine, planning, tactics for platoon-level attacks and advanced navigation. The third term is the warfighting module and focuses on company-level operations.
In addition to the military syllabus, the officer cadets also learn English, religious studies, cultural affairs, the history of warfare, and leadership skills.