10 Mar 2017

Largest number of female Afghan officer graduates welcomed

British military Chief hails the importance of roles Afghan women by introducing largest number of female Afghan officer graduates.

The UK’s second most senior military officer, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger, spoke at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA)  in Jabul, praising the important role Afghan women play in defending their country.

Welcoming the increasing female participation in the Afghan security forces, the ceremony highlighted this year’s class having the largest number of female graduates to date, with 23 officer cadets graduating today. The 23 graduates from the class of 2017 join the 57 female officers who have previously passed the intensive and sought after training.

The Academy’s total number of apprentices reached over 2000.

The ceremony took place the day after General Messenger, the MOD’s Gender Champion, participated in International Women’s Day events in Kabul, including meeting with British Council and Embassy staff who work closely with the Afghan Government and Civil Society, to improve the future for women and girls. This includes increasing awareness of gender issues in Afghanistan’s security institutions.

The work includes improving accommodation arrangements for female ANAOA cadets, supporting efforts to make the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) a more attractive career choice for women.

As part of the Academy’s programme, training is provided for the prevention of sexual violence in armed conflict.

Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Gordon Messenger said: “Today’s largest ever female graduate class demonstrates the progress the Afghan security forces are making in allowing women to help defend their country.

“Britain’s enduring commitment to Afghanistan means we’re helping them in this task, as well as offering broader support to Afghanistan’s security institutions.”

Britain is helping to ‘mentor the mentors’ at the ANAOA, where over 30 British personnel provide advice and assistance to Afghan trainers. UK assistance at ANAOA is an important part of NATO’s non-combat Resolute Support Mission.

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