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Afghan National Army Graduates First Elite Special Forces Unit

An ANA commando instructor speaks to an elite group of ANA commandos who graduated to become the first Afghan Special Forces during a ceremony at Camp Moorehead May 13, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Sarah Brown)

NATO Training Mission -

Story by MC3 Kirk Putnam,

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan National Army Commandos chosen to be a part of Afghanistan’s first Special Forces team graduated during a ceremony at Camp Moorehead May 12, 2010. The students were hand-selected from the ranks of the Commandos, soldiers trained to handle any combat situation and represent the ANA’s most highly skilled and versatile fighters.

“This begins a new chapter in the history of the ANA as they are the first and will serve as the model for the future of the ANA Special Forces,” said Afghan Brig. Gen. Dadon Lawang, brigade commander for the new team.

As Commandos, the soldiers learn techniques which unit commanders can use to great benefit on the battlefield. Those trained in reconnaissance are taught the necessary skills to observe and report back information without detection. The training of mortarmen, for artillery support, is another course with major benefit to units.

Yet in the Special Forces course the Commandos primary focus moves away from the battlefield and toward helping villages build and maintain stability. While most ANA missions are designed around a short-term goal, such as clearing of insurgents from an area, the mission of these Special Forces Commandos is long-term support, acting as a go-between for village elders and district leadership and maintaining a positive presence in the community.

“We have to show the international community and the people of Afghanistan that we are here and we are working for the benefit of Afghanistan,” said Lawang.

After the initial ten-week course, the Commandos are allowed to wear the Special Forces patch, but must then join a six-month imbedded partnership with U.S. Army Green Berets for on-the-job training. Once they have completed this portion of the training they become full-fledged Special Forces and are permitted to wear their distinguished red beret. During the six-month imbedded partnership students must prove they have mastered the necessary techniques to find resources for a community in need and guide Shuras with local tribal elders.

“They are selected from the best, and what is expected from them is the nothing less than the best for Afghanistan,” said Lawang. “We hope they can provide a positive influence to the people.”

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