Afghanistan to set up Sandhurst-style academy
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Afghan defence minister Bismillah Mohammadi, visiting the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
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Afghanistan's Defence Minister, Bismillah Mohammadi, has visited the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
Mr Mohammadi was at the Berkshire academy to discuss developing plans for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, which will be modelled on the British institution.
The Afghan Officer Academy, which is under construction at Qargha near Kabul, will involve a significant number of British military advisors.
It will form a major commitment to Afghanistan and once fully operational will have the capacity to train up to 1,350 male students and 150 female students every year.
On the first day of his UK visit, Minister Mohammadi also visited 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards at Victoria Barracks, Windsor, where he witnessed medical training, another capability which is being developed amongst the Afghan forces.
Mr Mohammadi said: "I hope to focus on the continued professional development of the Afghan National Army, in particular through the UK's leadership of the ANA Officer Academy project.
"I welcomed the opportunity to visit the prestigious Sandhurst, where the design of the ANA Officer Academy is being matured, and meet those involved as well as the ANA cadets under training at the college."
The minister also paid tribute to the sacrifices of the UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan and on behalf of the government thanked the UK for support.
He said: "I thank the UK government and people for the blood and treasure spent on our behalf - it will not be in vain. The work of your forces in Helmand Province will endure as the Afghan Forces continue to take the lead in operations and maintain the peace and security of the nation, allowing the country to develop and grow in prosperity."
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Our combat mission is drawing to a close, but our commitment to Afghanistan will last for many years. The Afghan National Army Officer Academy will be a key pillar of that and will ensure that Officers and those training them will be of the highest quality."
This article appeared in Bracknell News 27 Feb 13