Joint Press Release
February 22, 2009
Release Number: 20092202-01
Elite Afghan soldiers elicit a sense of nationalism
KABUL, Afghanistan – A recent Afghan National Army Commando mission in the Balkh province proved that Afghanistan’s military is gaining the support of the country’s communities. Commando’s of the Afghan National Army’s 209th Corps and Coalition Forces met with villagers near Mazar-e-Sharif Monday to provide information about the role the elite Afghan soldiers play in the defense of Afghanistan. The young men of the community showed an outpouring of interest in the Commandos.
After seeing a Commando poster, two young men approached the elite soldiers and took it a step further by stating their intent to join the ranks. The Commandos referred the villagers to an Afghan National Army recruiter, and they began the enlistment process on the spot. The new recruits expressed that their decision was based upon the belief that the Commandos are fighting for the good of the Afghan people.
The young villagers in Mazar-e-Sharif are only two of many Afghan men who have made the decision to step up and fight for the future of this war-torn nation.
“The extremists have ruled this country for far too long,” said Abdul Mohammad, a recent graduate of the Commando training school near Kabul. “I became a Commando because I have had enough. I am tired of living in fear for myself and for the lives of my wife and children.”
Mohammad, a former Kabul shopkeeper, said becoming a soldier has left him with a sense of nationalism he never knew before.
“When I first arrived here, the men beside me were Pashtun and Tajik and Uzbek,” he said. “Today, they are simply my Commando brothers. We all share a common enemy, so only together can we defeat the militants and live in peace.”
More than 3,600 Afghan men have graduated since the elite soldier program’s inception in January 2007.
Ministry of Defense, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Press office telephone: 93 (0) 20 210 2742
US Forces Afghanistan Public Affairs, office telephone: 93 (0) 799 51 2919