Skip to comments.Afghan sergeant major goes where none have gone before
Posted on 06/06/2006 3:59:21 PM PDT by SandRat
FORT BLISS, Texas (Army News Service, June 5, 2006) The first-ever Afghan soldier to attend the Sergeants Major Academy has graduated as a member of SMA Class 56, at Fort Bliss, Texas, May 19.
Sgt. Maj. Roshan Safi was selected to attend the U.S. SMA on recommendations from his commanders and U.S. Army mentors in Afghanistan because of his consistent leadership potential as a career-soldier, which began with the post-Taliban controlled Afghan military.
We have officer and enlisted training in Afghanistan, says Safi. But in the future we want to establish more non commissioned officer enlisted and officer schools. The U.S. is now assisting the Afghans in this process by inviting Afghan soldiers to American military training institutions like West Point, the SMA and others, he said.
More troops, more improvements
Safi added that as more Afghans attend and graduate these schools they will be able to bring home American teaching points and improve their military. As insurgent and Taliban forces have been increasing their attacks on U.S. and Afghan forces in recent weeks, Safis return to Afghanistan enables him to pass along the leadership skills he has learned at the U.S. SMA at a time when it could benefit his troops the most.
The American style of training Afghan soldiers have received in Afghanistan will help Afghan troops in the rebuilding of their nation, he said, but he also credits SMA classmates from other nations he trained with while at the SMA.
During my time at the SMA, I have learned many things not only from the U.S. but from representatives of other countries who also attended this course, he said. These lessons have generated several ideas which I will pass along to Afghan soldiers throughout my career.
The SMA has given me the tools to be a better advisor to my commander as Afghanistan rises to its feet, he said. These tools include education, information and a network of advisors and contacts. My classmates, staff and faculty at the SMA have said they will continue to advise and help me as I and my fellow Afghans continue to improve our army and Afghanistan.
Forest of many tree types
Safi says that the various cultures and ethnic groups must be considered in all future policies, but first and most important is the process and selection of leaders not just NCOs but also the officers in key leadership positions within the army.
Equal opportunity training will help us maximize the strengths of our diverse ethnic backgrounds while not letting that overshadow our shared identity as Afghans and help us work toward a great Afghanistan, he said. He noted in comparison that a forest of one type of tree is easily destroyed.
Afghan Army recruits receive 70 days of basic training initially concentrating on many of the collective tasks and drills learned at U.S. Army basic training camps, but Safi notes in essence that training never ends.
As the new Afghan National Army now 35,000 strong emerges from decades of war and occupation, so does a new type of soldier Afghanistan has never seen in its ranks female troops.
Around 150 women currently serve in the Afghan Army, according to Safi who says there cant be a great Afghan Army without women. Afghan women soldiers are vital in searching women at check points for arms and other weapons, he said, adding that one of these rare additions to the modern Afghan Army is a member of his own family.
Safi says that his soldiers are very disciplined and well-trained, but they can always improve.
There are several key problems that we have addressed and others that still need to be confronted and corrected for the future of the NCOs in Afghanistan to succeed in a professional manner, noted Safi. I hope to bring back things that will help my soldiers be better peace keepers and better soldiers so that they can contribute to the building of our nation. Day-by-day we overcome challenges and prepare for new ones and day-by-day we improve, he said, and we can not afford to fail or take this responsibility lightly.
Building the Backbone for the New Afghani Army; The NCO Corps!
One serious Sgt. Maj. He's probably smiling in this photo. :)