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NEWS | April 6, 2010

Leaders lay cornerstone for Afghan Defense University

By Staff Sgt. Sarah Brown , NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan

Afghan and coalition leaders arrive to lay the cornerstone of the Afghan Defense University and National Military Academy of Afghanistan in Quarga April 6.
Afghan and coalition leaders arrive to lay the cornerstone of the Afghan Defense University and National Military Academy of Afghanistan in Quarga April 6.
QUARGA, Afghanistan (April 6, 2010) — The Afghan Defense University headquarters and the new site of the National Military Academy of Afghanistan were officially established during a cornerstone laying ceremony at Quarga, April 6.

Almost two years in the making, the ADU project site sits on 1,500 acres of land that had to be demined before construction could begin. The site itself has military significance; it was used as a Soviet logistics center, as Shah Massoud’s stronghold during the Soviet occupation, and most recently as an air defense site for Kabul.

“We started in the summer of 2008; the process of [unexploded ordnance] clearing was time consuming,” said Air Force Maj. William Pringle, ADU program manager.  “This site is the hall of honor; it’s Massoud’s land, and, during the occupation, it was his headquarters.”

Presiding over the ceremony were Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan Minister of Defense, Gen.  Besmullah Khan, Afghan National Army chief of staff, and Lt. Gen.  William B. Caldwell IV, NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, who laid the first bricks on what will be the ADU headquarters building.

The first phase of the $200 million construction project, with an estimated completion date of June 2011, will consist of the headquarters,  classrooms, dining facility, library, medical clinic and post exchange;  the second phase, still in the design stage, will be the noncommissioned officer school, Air War College and Command and Staff College.

“We are starting something today which will help our country. It is the wish and ambition of all our people to have peace and stability,” said Wardak. “Today we laid the cornerstone for a new university. This university will teach student lessons on how to defend the country and nothing else. In the past we have had great military leaders. This university will allow us a fresh start to build up strong military leaders again.”

The National Military Academy of Afghanistan,  modeled after the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, is a four year school designed to produce officers for the ANA and Afghan National Army Air Corp. After construction is completed, the ADU will support more than 171,000 ANA personnel.