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Afghan National Army Designates First Commando Battalion

By Staff Sgt. Marelise Wood, USAF
Special to American Forces Press Service

POL-E-CHARKI, Afghanistan, Nov. 29, 2006 – A 600-man battalion from the Afghan National Army’s 201st Corps has been selected as the country’s first unit to undergo commando training.

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Afghan soldiers do push-ups trying to make the cut and be in the top 100 in their unit. Those soldiers will go on to specialized training in Jordan and return as instructors. Courtesy photo

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

The battalion, led by Afghan National Army Lt. Col. Muhammad Farid Ahmadi, was selected over others because of its high morale and unparalleled esprit de corps, U.S. officials said.

An important part of developing commando capability is training noncommissioned officers who can go back and train others. Each of the five corps in the Afghan army will eventually have a commando unit assigned, and the 201st Corps soldiers train those units, officials said.

The unit’s soldiers were evaluated on marksmanship, a timed three-mile run, push-ups, sit-ups, and a rucksack foot march in full battle gear. When the dust cleared, 100 soldiers were selected to receive specialized training.

“I think this is a good recognition, … that they have recognized me and my battalion,” Ahmadi said. “I am very proud.”

His soldiers are equally proud and happy to be a part of the battalion. “He’s a very good commander; he’s professional,” Capt. Sayed Naser said. “Since he’s been assigned here, there have been positive changes, from physical training to education to professionalism. There is a great positive change. In all the battalion, from privates to NCOs to officers, they are happy with him and his leadership.”

The soldiers selected are scheduled to receive specialized training in Jordan for six months, and expectations are high. “With this new training, good equipment, and designation as commando battalion, we will play a greater role in the future and the stability and security of the region,” Ahmadi said.

“When there is security there will be reconstruction,” he said. “This will lead to good diplomatic relations with the international community as a sound and healthy member. Reconstruction, economy, education, road building, all these things depend on security, and this battalion will play its role in that.”

(Air Force Staff Sgt. Marelise Wood is assigned to Combined Security Transition Command Afghanistan.)

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