NEWS | Aug. 2, 2011

ANSF celebrates 100,000th graduate of literacy training program

By U.S. Navy Petty Officer Michael James , NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (July 28, 2011) — The Afghan National Army graduated 1,287 soldiers from Basic Warrior Training at Kabul Military Training Center, July 28, including a special commemoration marking the graduation of the 100,000 Afghan National Security Force literacy program trainee.

ANA soldier Mohammed Khalil, graduating with BWT Kandak 162, was chosen to represent the 100,000th literacy graduate. He was awarded a commemorative certificate and writing pen.

“Education is vitally important. When we become educated, it gives us the ability to recognize our friends from our enemies,” said Khalil. “Education will take us from the darkness to the light.”

The recognition of the 100,000th graduate of literacy training represents a milestone in the professional development of the Afghan National Security Force, which consists of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and Afghan Air Force.

Literacy training was integrated into the ANSF required curriculum in November 2009 and has been expanding rapidly since. There are currently more than 86,000 soldiers and policemen enrolled in some level of literacy training.

“I am the eldest of six brothers; I do all I can to provide for them,” said Khalil. “I am now able to take the lessons I learned in Basic Warrior Training and share them with my brothers.”

The goal set by Afghan and coalition leadership is for all literacy program students to read at a first grade level by the end of basic training. The literacy education received by such large numbers of young Afghans is expected to have far-reaching effects throughout Afghan culture.

“Literacy is the basic tenant for building partnering capacity and professionalizing an already very capable ANSF,” said U.S. Army Col. Ken Lenig, Force Integration Director, NATO Training Mission Afghanistan.

Today’s graduates of the Basic Warrior Training course will go on to attend branch schools and leadership courses offering specialization in military proficiencies as well as continued literacy training.