France and the USA set up joint commando school in AFG

Afghan special forces train at former Taliban camp

by Herve Asquin Fri April 6, 1:07 AM ET

A "commando school" on a former Taliban training ground will open next month to turn selected Afghan soldiers into an elite special forces unit for Afghanistan's army in construction.

About 3,900 men will be tutored by about 40 French and US instructors at Camp Morehead, about 10 kilometres (six miles) south of Kabul, forming the seed of the new Afghan special forces, a French officer said this week.

The training has already started for about 100 soldiers who were sent to Jordan in mid-December, the officer told reporters on condition of anonymity.

"The aim is for six battalions, one for each of the five military regions in Afghanistan and a sixth more specialised one, the national commando, which will be dedicated to the Afghan defence ministry," he said.

Barracks are being thrown up; the finishing touches are being put to shooting ranges and training tracks.

The choice of site for Morehead is symbolic. It was a base for the Soviet army that invaded in 1979 and was forced to retreat in 1989 by a resistance movement that later collapsed into civil war.

It later became a training camp for the extremist Taliban that seized power in 1996, effectively ending the civil war, and was driven out by a US-led coalition five years later.

The 300 first Afghan trainees expected at Morehead in May will include former mujahedin -- fighters in the Soviet resistance -- and others who fought with the Soviets. They are selected by the Afghan army.

They will have 12 weeks of specialised training from 20 French instructors and 24 Americans under the umbrella of Operation Enduring Freedom, the US-led offensive that booted out the Taliban and is still hunting down its leaders and allies.

The objective, explained the French commander, is to get them to the level of the American light infantry and modelled on the US Army Rangers -- a highly trained and specialised and rapidly deployable force.

They will also receive new US equipment which is much better than that which they already have, which is usually Russian issue, he said.

Another French officer said he was already impressed by the skill of some men already trained in Jordan. "They are commandos, special forces in the making," he said.

The formation of Afghanistan's own special forces is part of a wider internationally supported drive to rebuild the security forces, including an air force, that was in tatters by the time the Taliban fled the capital.

The Taliban insurgency has become increasingly violent, relying heavily on suicide and roadside bombings that kill more civilians than military men.

NATO has 37,000 soldiers from 37 nations deployed under the banner of the International Security Assistance Force to help local security forces fight the Taliban and wrest back control of the rugged nation.

The separate US-led coalition, focused on counterterrorism, has about 14,000 troops and there are several hundred more foreign special forces soldiers whose activities are highly secret.

The foreign forces, regarded with suspicion by many Afghans after years of outside intervention, are keen for local forces to assume control for operations against militants.

The Afghan security forces have a long way to go: the Afghan National Army is targeted to reach 64,000 by 2008 and is currently about half that number.

Only about 25,000 of these soldiers can be considered "present for duty", according to a UN Security Council report in March.;_ylt=AvdVsFOKYOxi63AW.tNuiVzuOrgF
So the Septics will teach them how to shoot us, and the Frogs have remit over the running away after [shooting us] part.

Great! :p

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