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Afghan Men Test for Military Academy Class

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 5, 2006 – Nearly 1,400 candidates gathered at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan recently to apply for admittance the academy’s third class since its reopening in 2001, officials at Combined Forces Command Afghanistan announced.

Only 350 of the 18- to 22-year-old applicants who applied between Oct. 29 and Nov. 1 will be selected to be part of the class of 2011, officials said.

Candidates were tested on their aptitude and physical fitness abilities. The physical evaluation consisted of a one-minute push-up test, a one-minute sit-up test and a 300-meter run, which most of the applicants did in bare feet.

“The running was the hardest part of today,” said Sheer Ahman, a 22-year-old student in the Kabul University literature department. “I think these tests are worth it, though, to get into the military academy.”

The National Military Academy is based the U.S. Army’s Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. It is a four-year, college level academy. Cadets take academic tests, which count for 80 percent of the entrance assessment, and physical performance.

“I have my education still fresh in my memory, which is helpful,” said Sharifullah Nabil, a 19-year-old candidate. “As a Dari speaker, the hardest questions for me were the ones on the Pashtu language.”

The last day of admission testing was held as a make-up day for candidates who could not show for their physical fitness test.

“Sometimes these candidates have to hitch-hike or walk from far-away provinces,” said Army Maj. David Hills, mentor at the NMAA. “We want to make sure each candidate gets the chance to apply, regardless of where they live or how they got here.”

Candidates will be notified in December if they were selected for admission and will begin field training in January.

(From a Combined Forces Command Afghanistan news release.)

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