KABUL, Afghanistan (Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan, Dec. 29, 2006) - U.S. and Afghan noncommissioned officers toured the Pakistan Army's Junior Leader Academy in Shinkiari, Pakistan, Dec. 28 during the second day of an exchange program tour.

Pakistan officers and NCOs briefed the team on training procedures and processes in an effort to strengthen the ties between the Afghan National Army and the Pakistan military.

"We came to learn," said Sgt. Maj. Mahmodi Shamsudine, the command sergeant major of the ANA's 201st Corps, after asking several questions about the training curriculum and format.

He was one of three Afghan Senior NCOs who traveled to Pakistan hoping to take back information that will help them develop their 4-year-old army.

"This was very good for (the Afghans) because they discussed training strategies, schools, doctrines, techniques and procedures that can be shared between the two armies," said Sgt. Maj. Daniel Wood, command sergeant major for Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan.

Staff members from the JLA took the team to a field training area and watched students conduct mission planning. They were also shown classrooms and sat in on a class discussing tactics.

"This visit was very good for our countries," said Sgt. Usman, JLA instructor. "Our door is open and we want to help the Afghan army because we want peace in Afghanistan."

Wood called the meeting a "very successful engagement with the military of Pakistan." He contributed the success to the "non-threatening and non-political environment" between the NCOs.

"The (Afghans) are very excited about the information they heard," Wood added. "They are excited to hear about the focus on counter-terrorism and the amount of effort and attention that they are putting on training. They want to go back and try to put more of a counter-terrorism focus in their own training."

The visit also gave the U.S. and Afghan NCOs an opportunity to share information about the progress and accomplishments of the ANA.

"People from the Pakistan military and Frontier Corps did not realize how far ahead the ANA were - they were very surprised and it made them feel more secure," Wood said.

During a meeting with Col. Rehman, the JLA deputy commandant, he explained that Pakistani Soldiers were "giving (their) life to help Afghanistan.

"The world is a global village, and the sooner we have peace, the better it is for the world," he said.

Sgt. Major Ahmad Fazel, the command sergeant major for the ANA's 203rd Corps, agreed, saying, "If we work together we will be successful because we have the same goal and the same enemy."

Plans are underway for the next program to take place at Fort Benning, Ga., in the U.S.