The Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) is located in Qargha district – just outside of Kabul – the capital city of Afghanistan. The ANAOA is one of three main Afghan institutions providing officers for the Afghan National Army (ANA).
There are five nations supporting the Afghan National Army Officer Academy with funding, equipment, trainers, and assistance. These five nations are the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Denmark. The academy is modeled after the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Many of the courses taught at the ANAOA are mirrored after Sandhurst. The ANAOA is sometimes referred to as Sandhurst in the Sand.
The school is growing in size and capability. Prior to 2015 the academy was an austere location within a rough training environment. Poor facilities and tents for housing affected the quality of the training as well as the capacity of students. In 2015 the school had 21 newly-completed facilities and an obstacle training course. The ANAOA is part of a larger military training complex that houses the National Military Academy, the NCO Academy, and Afghan National Security University.
The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) have a significant leadership problem. Many of the senior and mid-level officers of the police and army are corrupt, inept, untrained, and ineffective. Many of the problems found in the ANDSF – retention of soldiers, combat effectiveness, logistics capability, and ability to defeat the insurgents can be attributed to poor leadership.
Currently (according to July 2016 DoD 1225 report) the Afghan National Army Special Operations Command (ANASOC) and its ten Special Operations Kandaks (SOKs) are conducting 70% of the offensive operations in Afghanistan. This, of course, is due largely in part to the excellent training the Afghan commandos receive, the good leadership of ANASOC and SOCs, and the benefits of the ‘train, advise, and assist’ mission of the SOF operators of NSOCC-A and SOJTF-A working at the tactical level. It is hoped that with proper institutional training and education the overall leadership of the ANDSF will improve over time. This makes the efforts of the foreign instructors at the academy an important part of the Resolute Support ‘Train, Advise, and Assist’ mission in Afghanistan.
“Afghan National Army Officer Academy to produce more leaders as it expands infrastructure”, DVIDS, December 5, 2016.
“Ribbon cutting marks major milestone in preparing next generation of Afghan National Army leaders”, DVIDS, September 17, 2015.
Afghan National Army Officer Academy, video by Resolute Support, posted on YouTube.com by The U.S. Army, November 28, 2016. General John Nicholson, COMRS, comments on the ANAOA during a visit to the schools location in this 30-second long clip.