With the Afghan National Army successfully reaching its recruitment goals for 2010, the Afghan Ministry of Defense has turned its focus to professionalizing its military force.

Specialized branch schools are set up around the country, designed to give the ANA the necessary skills to move from an infantry-centric force to a self-sufficient, balanced army. In total, 10 branch schools, including combat support services, signal and artillery have been established; two additional schools for armor and military police are scheduled for early 2011.

The latest school to open, the Combat Support Services School in Kabul, has several divisions: logistics, finance, advanced individual logistics training and human resources, its newest division. Under AILT, soldiers learn the maintenance and transportation fields, attend drivers training, weapons maintenance or food preparation courses.

The CSS also recently graduated 59 students from its new HR division, adding one more piece to the professionalization puzzle.

"I'm proud to be in the first graduating class and am ready to implement the things we learned in the field," said Sargand, one of HR graduating students.

Currently, there are 500 students attending courses at the CSS compound, which is built for 300; plans to expand at nearby Pol e Charki, are underway. The building is currently in the design phase, with construction to begin in the spring and the school to be fully operational by late 2012-2013. Pol e Charki is where the CSS currently teaches transportation, platoon sergeants' driving course and cooking courses. Once the expansion is complete, it will be home to the Advanced Individual Logistics Training and Drivers Instruction Training.

"We feel proud and this is good to have our own teachers and mentors that teach in our own language. The teachers get trained by the mentors of the coalition forces, after that they come here to teach our students," said ANA Col. Ahmad Parwiz Baryaly, commandant of the CSS School. "We learn lots of important things from our mentors which is necessary for the army."