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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 146-02
March 25, 2002

SECRETARY RUMSFELD APPROVES START OF AFGHAN ARMY TRAINING

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved the start of training for the new Afghan National Army (ANA). The approved training is scheduled to commence in four to six weeks.

The plan calls for training cycles of approximately 10 weeks in duration and will be led by 125 to 150 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers. The training will emphasize basic soldier skills at the beginning of each training cycle and then progress to more complex tasks as skills are mastered. Collective training at the squad, platoon, company and battalion level will follow individual training.

A "Train the Trainer" program will also be implemented. The intent of the "Train the Trainer" program is to train a cadre of Afghan officers and non-commissioned officers who will eventually assume training responsibilities from the U.S.-led Training Task Force.

In February, Gen. Tommy Franks, commander in chief of U.S. Central Command, sent an assessment team into Afghanistan to meet with key Afghan Interim Authority (AIA) leaders in an effort to assess requirements associated with establishing, training and sustaining an Afghan National Army. This team, led by U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Charles Campbell, consisted of 15 people from Central Command and its components, the State Department, and experts from agencies within DoD.

The assessment was a collaborative effort with the Afghan military and consisted of high level discussions with interim Chairman Hamid Karzai, Minister of Defense Fahim Khan and other key AIA members, aimed at building a consensus on a concept for organizing, training and equipping the Afghan Army.

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