British Troops To Train Afghan Army For 'As Long As It Takes'

British troops will commit to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in Kabul for as long as it takes.

The future leaders of the Afghan military have passed out with pride from the place they affectionately call their Sandhurst.

352 new officers have recently graduated from ANAOA – the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.

The news follows an a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital, Kabul, which killed at least 30 people and injured 42 others.

The Taliban have said they carried out the attack, which took place in a mainly Shia district in the west of the city and struck a bus carrying government employees from the ministry of mines.

Speaking to Forces News just days before this attack Armed Forces Minister, Mark Lancaster, said:

"We will continue to support the Afghan National Army Officer and the Academy for as long as required".

The institution has now turned out over 2 thousand 6 hundred commanders, 90 of whom are women.

But by 2023 they want women to make up 10% of the 190,000 strong force.

As one female recruit said:

“It was one of my biggest ambitions from childhood to join the Army, to serve Afghanistan. I've always wanted to serve with my brothers and protect my people”

When the project began in October 2013, the first parades were held in an old car park, and the first cadets had their lessons in tents.

 But now, three and a half years on, this ‘Sandhurst in the sand’ has been transformed.

A huge amount of infrastructure has been built at ANAOA, and the site is seen as the jewel in the Afghan National Army's Crown.

After a year of intense training, Afghan officers will be heading out to the frontline to fight the Taliban and so called Islamic State.

Sadly, 13 ANAOA graduates have been killed in the last 3 years.

But staff say the academy is starting to make its mark against the country's enemies.

Later this year this Academy will hold its 10th graduation of officer cadets, also passing out its 100th female.