Brig.-Gen. Aminullah Patyani, the Commander
of the Kabul Military Training Centre speaks
to students of the KMTC.
The Kabul Military Training Centre (KMTC) is the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) flagship training institution. Located on the eastern outskirts of Afghanistan’s capital city, the KMTC can house and train up to 12,000 trainees at a time. Over 60,000 soldiers graduate from courses at the KMTC annually.
Two hundred and thirty-five Canadian Forces advisors serve at the KMTC as part of the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. Thirty-five members have been with the KMTC since mid-June and the remaining 200 recently arrived in October.
Under the leadership of ANA Brig.-Gen. Aminullah Patyani, Commander, KMTC, 3,000 Afghan staff and instructors run courses in four groupings – an Officer Training Brigade, a Soldier Training Brigade, a Non-Commissioned Officer Training Brigade and a Specialty Skills Battalion.
Schools that specialize in artillery, signals, logistics, military law and religious and cultural affairs are also located at the KMTC.
Afghan leaders run the KMTC with coalition personnel from 17 other nations working alongside Afghan leaders, staff and instructors, providing guidance and advice to ANA staff when needed.
Col. Mike Minor, a Canadian Forces officer, is the Commander of the KMTC Advisory Group and advisor to Brig.-Gen. Patyani. Canadian staff are the core of the coalition headquarters and manage up to 650 international advisors and support staff.
“The coalition mission at KMTC is to train, advise and monitor KMTC leadership, staff and trainers,” said Col. Minor. “Our goal is to help establish a self-reliant, professional, effective and sustainable military training centre. This will contribute to the successful transition to an Afghan lead for security across Afghanistan by 2014.”
To achieve this mission, advisors maintain an inclusive command climate so all coalition members, regardless of nationality, know they are making a valuable contribution to the NATO training mission. They work shoulder to shoulder with ANA counterparts to build relationships based on trust and mutual respect.
ANA commanders and staff at the KMTC lead, plan and conduct training. The role of the advisors is sometimes to show what “right” looks like – whether that’s a more effective way to run a small arms range or how to bring staff together to plan a long-term project. But for the vast majority of the time, advisors are behind the scenes, assessing progress and offering ideas where appropriate.
The work ahead is significant. Only 15 per cent of recruits arrive at KMTC literate to a grade one level. This is a huge obstacle to training. To overcome it, recruits take 64 hours of literacy training on the Basic Warrior Course. The vast majority of recruits graduate with at least a grade one level of literacy.
Literacy training continues throughout other ANA courses. This is essential for soldiers who fill some of the more technical trades, such as artillery and communications. Literacy training also has a larger effect on Afghan society – it provides hope for a brighter future.
Very soon, 50 per cent of the ANA will be literate, which is significantly more than the general Afghan population’s literacy rate of 14 per cent. Training for female NCOs is also in the works and will complement the female officer training already being conducted.
With a Canadian commander, an American deputy commander, a British regimental sergeant-major and officers and soldiers from 14 other nations, the coalition contribution to KMTC is a multi-national effort. With the command philosophy to “work ourselves out of a job,” coalition members work tirelessly, shoulder to shoulder with their ANA counterparts as they prepare for a future that is stable, secure and most importantly, Afghan-led.