A female cadet has been named the best in her course during a graduation ceremony at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA).
Cadet Shekila’s final scores were higher than the rest of her classmates in both field and classroom activities.
In a packed auditorium, Shekila received the Duntroon Sword from the Australian Army’s Task Group Afghanistan commander, Brigadier Tim O’Brien, at the graduation ceremony in April.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) contributes to the development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, along with Britain, New Zealand and Demark.
"ANAOA is working hard and has displayed huge steps in moving forward.”
The ADF provides mentors, force protection personnel and support staff to develop the next generation of Afghan National Army leaders since Afghanistan took the lead for its own security in 2015.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, the Afghan leadership said they were proud to work with other nations to fight terrorism.
Officers from the graduating class of the Afghan National Army Officer Academy during the graduation ceremony. Photo: Corporal Christopher Beerens
Course mentor Warrant Officer Class One Peter Morritt said it was exhilarating to see how far the cadets had come with their leadership and combat skills.
“This course faced some difficult challenges with the winter season delivering heavy snow and minus 15 degree temperatures. Even with the weather heavily impacting on the field training time, morale was high among the staff and cadets,” Warrant Officer Morritt said.
“It was the first time I had been involved with training soldiers in the snow.
“The cadets study lessons in the classroom, then transfer that gained knowledge into the field, where they practise defensive and offensive operations in a mock village and open terrain.”
The course graduated 330 male and 28 female cadets. More than 4200 students have trained at ANAOA since its formation in 2013.
“There is still some room for growth in the integration of female cadets,” Warrant Officer Morritt said.
“However, ANAOA is working hard and has displayed huge steps in moving forward.”
Australia contributes around 300 personnel to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces as part of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission.