Friday, March 25, 2005

Nation-Building Marches On

 
On March 23rd, the Afghan National Military Academy re-opened its doors to the first class of 109 cadets.
    Afghanistan’s institutional rebuilding will take another step forward when the country’s first military academy is officially opened in the capital on Tuesday.

The academy, located on the eastern outskirts of Kabul, stems from the country’s first military school set up by King Nadir Shah in the 1920s.

The school fell into disuse after the Moslem mujahideen captured Kabul in April 1992. Troops loyal to the then president Burhanuddin Rabbani and the assassinated commander Ahmed Shah Masoud occupied the facility until the radical Taleban swept them from the capital.

“From now on, all military educational institutions will operate under the supervision of this academy,” {said} General Zahir Azemi, spokesman for the defence ministry.
At the behest of the Afghani military, the school is modeled on the United States Military Academy, and staff from West Point have taken turns deploying to Afghanistan in order to help establish curriculum and recruitment. They worked closely with the Afghanis to create a curriculum that conformed with Afghan's culture.
    "Our environments are different. Planners considered all cultural aspects and did not impose anything on us," Academy Superintendent Maj. Gen. Mohammed Sharif said. "While the academy will be similar to West Point, it will not be the same."
The winnowing process began with more than 350 candidates, eventually identifying 120 for basic training. Now 109 have entered the first class, their goal to graduate with degrees in engineering. The curriculum focuses on engineering, because "our country is war struck and devastated," said Sharif. "We are in the process of rehabilitating it. We need more engineers because we need reconstruction."

Obviously, the competition to enter the new academy is fierce. So is the commitment: cadets have to agree to serve for twenty-five years after graduation. In Afghanistan, for many, this is not a sacrifice.
    "It is my country," said Afghan Sgt. 1st. Class Ghazi Ahmad, a platoon sergeant from Paktia province, as if puzzled by the question about why he would serve at the academy. If he did not serve his country, then who would, he asked.
Sounds like many of the US forces when asked the same question.

(thanks to Winds of Change)

2 comments:

Enigma said...

If he did not serve his country, then who would, he asked.

Amazing what good can come from helping people to take charge of their own destinies. I wonder if the Left will ever get it?

Brian H said...

That service term will really open some eyes, I think. :)