Mar. 29, 2012 By ANDREW CHUTER DefenseNews
LONDON — Britain will take the lead in setting up an officer training academy for the Afghan army, according to a statement of intent signed by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and his Afghan counterpart, Gen Abdul Rahim Wardak, during a visit by the British minister to Kabul on March 29.
The Officer Academy for the Afghan National Army is planned to open next year in the Qargha district in Kabul. About 75 percent of the non-Afghan mentoring staff will be provided by the British.
A statement by the U.K. Ministry of Defence said the college would be modeled on the British Army’s Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst in southern England.
The project has already been dubbed “Sandhurst in the sand.”
The British intention to lead coalition support for the training scheme was announced by Prime Minister David Cameron last summer.
Along with other NATO forces, the British are committed to withdrawing all combat troops by the end of 2014. The provision of mentors, along with financial support for the facilitym will continue beyond that date.
“As we look forward to 2014, our support to the Afghan forces will change to see the U.K. assisting in the delivery of high-quality training that meets their requirements to produce professional officers and leaders of their own,” Hammond said.