Australia — Artillery training team hits mark

The Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) Artillery Train­ing School in Kab­ul has reached an impor­tant mile­stone with its first grad­u­ates join­ing Afghan and ISAF com­bat ele­ments in Kan­da­har Province.

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of the Inter­na­tion­al Artillery Train­ing Team – Kab­ul (ATT-K), Lieu­tenant Colonel (LTCOL) Kane Man­gin said that the school’s first intake had been a suc­cess.

“This is an impor­tant month for the school because our first group of grad­u­ates has been formed into the first of the newest bat­ter­ies of the ANA artillery,” LTCOL Man­gin said.

“The grad­u­ates deployed to Kan­da­har in ear­ly April and with a bit of extra train­ing they will be into the fight lat­er this year.”

The school, men­tored by the Aus­tralian led ATT-K, pre­pares Afghan sol­diers to become skilled artillery­men and is an impor­tant step towards Afghan secu­ri­ty forces tak­ing full respon­si­bil­i­ty for secu­ri­ty in the com­ing years.

“The ATT-K com­pris­es six mem­ber nations and our col­lec­tive task is to imple­ment and devel­op the school of artillery for the ANA,” LTCOL Man­gin said.

“Our mis­sion is to spread the capa­bil­i­ty of the ANA Artillery Branch across Afghanistan.”

Aus­tralia cur­rent­ly has 20 artillery train­ers men­tor­ing Afghan instruc­tors at the school, which offi­cial­ly opened in Octo­ber 2010.

Although train­ing includes live fir­ing of the ANA’s D-30 How­itzer guns and rig­or­ous gun drills, an impor­tant aspect of the school cur­ricu­lum is to teach basic lit­er­a­cy and numer­a­cy skills.

The nation­al lit­er­a­cy rate in Afghanistan is around 28% but for recruits it is only 14%. There­fore, these skills are key to pro­fes­sion­al­is­ing the Afghan Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Forces, and are high­ly val­ued by the stu­dents.

The ANA Artillery Train­ing School was the first mil­i­tary school in Afghanistan to devel­op and run a lit­er­a­cy pro­gram for its stu­dents.

“Most of the sol­diers we receive come straight off the street and can­not read or write,” LTCOL Man­gin said.

“Artillery is a tech­ni­cal trade requir­ing lit­er­a­cy and numer­a­cy skills so we imple­ment­ed a lit­er­a­cy pro­gram which gives our trainees basic fun­da­men­tals to do the job.”

At any one time, the school typ­i­cal­ly has 440 stu­dents attend­ing one of nine dif­fer­ent cours­es.

The goal for the school is to pro­vide artillery train­ing to approx­i­mate­ly 2100 offi­cers and sol­diers over the next twelve months, which trans­lates to approx­i­mate­ly 23 artillery bat­ter­ies for the ANA.

The cre­ation of these newest bat­ter­ies indi­cates progress is being made and the future for the ANA Artillery branch is look­ing pos­i­tive.”

Media note: Imagery is avail­able at http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=20112314

Media con­tact: Defence Media Oper­a­tions (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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