Hundreds of Afghan National Army (ANA) recruits have sworn loyalty and allegiance in a solemn ceremony at their new training centre in Helmand Province.Â Over 800 recruits became ANA soldiers, or â€˜warriorsâ€™, each making an oath on the Holy Koran.Â
800 ANA Warriors on parade at Camp Shorabak. Picture: Major Dale Clarke. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011
The event marks the half-way point of the new Regional 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 MC, 1st Battalion the Rifles, commander of the British contingent at RMTC (SW), the success is due in large part to the attitude of the Afghan recruits. Watching the parade, Major Crossley commented: â€œWeâ€™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.â€
ANA Warriors swearing an oath on the Holy Koran. Picture: Major Dale Clarke. Crown Copyright/MOD 2011
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 â€“ who had only been in uniform for a month â€“ 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: â€œThe training here is very good for the recruits as we educate them. Now we hope our army can be strong and defeat our enemies.â€
The new warriors will progress to more advanced training, including extensive live firing with their M16 rifles, and M249 and M240 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.