Fighting for Afghanistan’s future

Five years after the invasion of Afghanistan, the US military is still training a new army.

Afghan recruits are being trained at a centre based on
West Point military academy

Five years after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the Afghan army is said to be nowhere near ready for the challenge of bringing security and stability to a war-torn nation.

The US military is putting Afghan recruits through 15 weeks of gruelling basic training in an attempt to prepare them to take over security in the country.

The young Afghans are being trained on how to use weapons and how to conduct counter-insurgency operations.

They also hold war games to get them ready for real situations where decisions often mean the difference between life and death.

Building a unified army was always going to be a daunting task and many of the recruits are from different ethnic backgrounds where they commonly show their allegiance not to the army, but to their local warlord.

One recruit told Al Jazeera: “We are interested in our country, we want to defend our country that is why I joined the national army, and God willing we will serve our country.”

Serving their country

Most are not joining up so much to serve the country, but to get a decent salary to help their poor families.

“We are interested in our country, we want to defend our country that is why I joined the national army, and God willing we will serve our country.”

One said: “I’m glad to join the army, but I have to assist my parents and my family. They pay me $70 a month, that is not enough at all. I cannot solve all my problems with that wage, but we were promised a salary raise soon.”

The pride of the Afghan military establishment is modelled on the US’s prestigious West Point military academy, but it is still a long way from building an efficient army.

Major Steven Fairbourn, part of the US army team training the fledgling Afghan force, said: “The challenge we face is that the Afghanistan army is not funded and does not have the same architecture as we do.”

“We must find a compromise between our doctrine and how they currently operate to find out what the ideal solution is for them, so they can make their army better in a realistic fashion.”

The backbone of the Afghan army are young and enthusiastic, but they are marching towards an uncertain future in a country that seems constantly besieged by chaos and conflict.

Source: Al Jazeera

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