• Distinguished visitors receive a brief overview of the weapon systems used by Afghan National Army commandos immediately following the activation ceremony for the 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade at Forward Operating Base Thunder, Aug. 20, 2013. The formation of the brigade is a large step forward in turning over full security of Afghanistan to the Afghan National Security Forces before the Coalition Forces drawdown scheduled for late next year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Ryan Scott, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

    ANA stands up new Special Operations Brigade in Paktya

    Distinguished visitors receive a brief overview of the weapon systems used by Afghan National Army commandos immediately following the activation ceremony for the 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade at Forward Operating Base Thunder, Aug. 20, 2013. The...

  • Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim, commando commander, 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade, speaks to his soldiers during the brigade's activation ceremony at Forward Operating Base Thunder,  Aug. 20, 2013. The formation of the brigade is a large step forward in turning over full security of Afghanistan to the Afghan National Security Forces before the Coalition Forces drawdown scheduled for late next year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Ryan Scott, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

    ANA stands up new Special Operations Brigade in Paktya

    Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim, commando commander, 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade, speaks to his soldiers during the brigade's activation ceremony at Forward Operating Base Thunder, Aug. 20, 2013. The formation of the brigade is a...

  • Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim (left), commando commander, 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade, and ANA Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq, deputy chief of the army, salute a formation of ANA commandos during the activation ceremony for the 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade at Forward Operating Base Thunder,  Aug. 20, 2013. The formation of the brigade is a large step forward in turning over full security of Afghanistan to the Afghan National Security Forces before the Coalition Forces drawdown scheduled for late next year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Ryan Scott, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

    ANA stands up new Special Operations Brigade in Paktya

    Afghan National Army Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim (left), commando commander, 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade, and ANA Maj. Gen. Abdul Khaliq, deputy chief of the army, salute a formation of ANA commandos during the activation ceremony for the 1st ANA...

  • Afghan National Army commandos with the 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade Color Guard display the flags of Afghanistan, the ANA 203rd Corps, and 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade during the brigade's formation ceremony at Forward Operating Base Thunder, Aug. 20, 2013. The formation of the brigade is a large step forward in turning over full security of Afghanistan to the Afghan National Security Forces before the Coalition Forces drawdown scheduled for late next year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Ryan Scott, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/Released)

    ANA stands up new Special Operations Brigade in Paktya

    Afghan National Army commandos with the 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade Color Guard display the flags of Afghanistan, the ANA 203rd Corps, and 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade during the brigade's formation ceremony at Forward Operating Base...

PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Hundreds of Afghan National Army commandos, distinguished visitors from across the region and reporters from a number of Afghan media outlets gathered on the parade field of a brand new military compound at Forward Operating Base Thunder to celebrate the opening of the newly- formed 1st ANA Special Operations Brigade, Aug. 20, 2013.

The new brigade is the first of its kind, bringing together hundreds of Afghan special forces commandos under a streamlined command at the ANA 203rd Corps headquarters outside of the provincial capital, Gardez.

"Today we open this brigade in Gardez and today I promise my leadership that we commandos will, at all times, stand ready to put our life in jeopardy to protect the Afghan people and to eliminate the evil elements that are intimidating our people," said Brig. Gen. Amanullah Mubin, commander, 1st ANA SOB.

The new brigade compound was built by ANA engineers to house the special operations soldiers and their specialized equipment.

"Our commandos have the facilities, the capabilities, the modern equipment, the heavy weapons," said Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim, commando commander, 1st ANA SOB.

The commandos have become celebrities of sorts in Afghanistan. Villagers wear commando T-shirts as if they were supporting their favorite sports team and children crowd around the soldiers when they arrive in villages.

"The commandos are the hopes of the Afghan people to bring security to this great country," said Brig. Gen. Abdul Khaliq, deputy chief of the ANA.

The highly-trained soldiers perform the most dangerous missions throughout the region. Taking the reigns from Coalition Forces, the commandos are focusing on ensuring peace during the upcoming national elections.

"We are taking the responsibility from the Coalition. We will stop the enemy and provide the best security for our countrymen to give their vote in this election," said Mubin.

The soldiers are trained, equipped and taking the fight to the enemies of Afghanistan.

"Our commando force will fight and eliminate our external and internal enemies," said Karim. "We will succeed because we live by our creed: Allah, Country, Duty."

Page last updated Mon August 26th, 2013 at 00:00