By By Lt. Col. David Simons, NTM-AJanuary 24, 2011
The Kabul Military Training Center (KMTC) is figuratively the Fort Benning of Afghanistan, serving as the Afghan National Army's training headquarters. The sprawling 22,000 acres of ranges, barracks and headquarters are set under the beautiful snow-capped Hindu Kush mountain range.
As a former Soviet-built base, ANA at KMTC have a close working relationship with NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan (NTM-A). It is NTM-A's role to provide trainers to help train ANA cadre exemplifying the relationship that has blossomed in the motto of "train-the-trainer." The coalition advisors suggest improvements for ANA training and mentor trainers in their techniques.
On an average day, there are nearly 11,000 soldiers training here. Most of the training is basic warrior training provided by Afghan instructors with minimal assistance from coalition advisors. Every six weeks, a basic training kandak, or battalion, graduates 1,400 new ANA soldiers who move on to specialty training. KMTC trainers train 65 percent of the ANA's new officers through a 20-week officer candidate school. Part of this development is a woman's program, training female officers in such fields as logistics and finance. Additionally, KMTC is the host installation for artillery, logistics, signal, legal and religious and cultural affairs branch schools.
Coalition advisors and Afghan trainers are placing emphasis on literacy training, incorporating sixty-four hours into every basic warrior training class. The training serves as a foundation for developing a professional, modern Afghan military while bringing all basic trainees to a first-grade level of reading and writing.
NTM-A's goal is to train Afghanistan's security forces, both army and police, to stand on their own, by training their own, and sustaining their own. The motto of NTM-A is "Shohna-ba-Shohna" or "Shoulder-to-Shoulder." It is a motto of working together for the betterment of Afghanistan.