Afghan National Army Special Forces volunteer thrice, and at each level the values of the uniform they aspire to wear are reinforced more strongly.
On the model of most NATO countries, Afghanistan, with international assistance, stands an all-volunteer army. From there, recruits can decide for themselves whether they want to join the ANA Commandos. Afterwards, once the recruit officially earns the title, the recruit-turned-Commando will volunteer for the next level, to be a Special Forces Operator, a soldier comparable to American green berets. These are the soldiers that will be assigned to the most difficult places in Afghanistan.
“They’ll be working in small teams around the country, in some of the most contested and remote areas,” said US Army Col. Billy Shaw, Commander of Special Operations Advisor Group. “Once they get there, they’ll have little to no support and it’s their job to basically be problem solvers. They’ll connect local governments, they’ll bring in development, and they’ll assist the local people in establishing security.”
“This is as elite as it gets.”
With this level of responsibility and autonomy, their effectiveness needs to be guaranteed. One of the ways in which ANA senior leadership, along with ISAF commanders and advisors, try to do that is through values.
Regular ANA forces and ANA Commandos also have a values system infused in their training, but ANA SF are held to a higher personal standard.
“What makes our operators as resilient and strong as they are is the fact that they have very high values,” said Shaw, “and we reinforce that on a daily basis.”
“The values are what make the solider unique. They do have special equipment, they do have special training, but the truth, just like in the U.S., is that the operator is more important than the equipment. Brig. Gen. [Sayed Abdul] Karim, the commander of ANA Special Operations Command, speaks on values almost daily. Each of his cadre members echo that message. There are very high standards in ANASOC and those standards are representative of the values they hold.”
NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan is a coalition of 37 troop-contributing nations charged with assisting the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in generating a capable and sustainable Afghan National Security Force ready to take lead of their country’s security by 2014. For more information about NTM-A, visit www.ntm-a.com.
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