Construction of a new Afghan military academy has begun, with Afghan and foreign officials hailing it as a step towards better education of the armed forces and greater professionalism.
The new academy is backed by the UK as part of the Afghanistan-Britain strategic agreement signed earlier this year between President Hamid Karzai and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“The benefit of this academy is that it will help increase educational competence among the Afghan National Army soldiers and it will also help us have a more professional leadership within the army,” ANA Chief of Staff Shir Mohammad Karimi said Wednesday at the ground-breaking ceremony.
He adding that the country will have a strong army in the next decade if such training continues.
The standard, modern, and fully-equipped military academy will be built at a site west of Kabul near Lake Qargha.
Isaf Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Adrian Bradshaw said that Nato member and partner nations will mentor the Afghan army officers to take over as instructors in the future.
“Nato and British instructors will act as mentors and advisors to those staff and instructors to assist where required. And beyond the period of mentoring, the academy will be run by and for the Afghans,” Bradshaw said Wednesday.
The construction of the academy shows the commitment of the international community towards strengthening Afghan forces.
“The project is therefore entirely in keeping with many other initiatives which highlights the determination by the Isaf nations to help move forward towards a new prosperous time for the Afghan nation through the strengthening of Afghan National Security Forces,” he added.
The academy will train 1,500 ANA officers annually and the construction cost is estimated to be $42 million. Construction is expected to be complete in one year.