CAMP PHOENIX, KABUL, Afghanistan --- February 27 marked the graduation of the 20,000th soldier to train at the Kabul Military Training Center. The Afghanistan National Army’s first kandak, or battalion, graduated July 23, 2002, and less then three years later the ANA has grown into a force of more than 20,000 ANA soldiers.
This 31st kandak also marks the end of the former training system which consisted of 10 weeks of basic combat training. The Basic Combat Training course has been restructured and will be five weeks at KMTC followed by five weeks of Advanced Individual Training at Pol-e-charki.
The BCT course will continue to teach basic soldier skills including marksmanship and infantry tactics. AIT will consist of specialized training in field artillery, reconnaissance, armor, transportation, quartermaster functions, military intelligence, maintenance and combat engineering.
U.S. Training Assistance Group, in its third version in at KMTC, has increased the training tempo and production by threefold. Formerly, basic training operated three continuous training battalions. That has doubled, with six BCT kandaks on the ground at any given time. British and French Coalition forces in charge of the noncommissioned officer and officer courses prospectively have also doubled the number of classes given at one time. Almost half of all soldiers in the ANA have graduated from KMTC within the last eight months.
The BCT mentors work with the battalion staff to develop training procedures. From insuring that the battalion S1 has accurate personnel accountability to the S4 programming for logistical needs to help the KMTC executive office develop training plans the BCT mentors have a busy day.
The day-to-day operations and training of the battalion is also their responsibility. The TAG NCOs work with the ANA NCOs to build a sense of ownership in the education of their soldiers.
American, British, French, Romanian, Bulgarian, Mongolian and Canadian Forces work together to teach the Afghan National Army. Today, 90 percent of all instruction on both doctrine and equipment is done by ANA cadre.
“They are certainly much more self-sufficient and proactive, the quality of cadre has greatly increased and that speaks volumes of the instruction they are receiving.” Major Jeff Nichols, MCT officer in charge.