Australia has delivered of a new amenities centre to the Afghan National Army’s Officer Academy (ANAOA) in Kabul.

The centre’s construction that began in February 2019 was underwritten by Norway through the NATO ANA Trust Fund Organisation.

Commanding Officer of the Australian Mentoring Team at ANAOA, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Smith said the centre was designed by an Australian Project Management Team (PMT) in collaboration with ANAOA staff, Australian advisers and the Afghan Garrison Support Unit.

“The amenities centre provides an area for cadets to relax during low-tempo periods in training – enjoy a movie, play table tennis, get a haircut or buy a coffee/chai from the centre’s cafe,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.

“The PMT provided oversight of the construction team and conducted final assurance testing prior to the handover of the building to the Afghan Garrison Support Unit.

"The ANA has now assumed full responsibility for the ongoing maintenance and operation of the centre.” 

Lieutenant Dawson Courneya, a project engineer from Joint Task Force 633’s PMT-B that manages a number of projects within the Qargha and wider Marshal Fahim National Defence University (MNFDU) precinct, oversaw the final stages of the centre’s construction in December 2019.

"As engineers we are incredibly fortunate to be able to deliver a project like this and leave behind a physical asset for future use,” Lieutenant Courneya said.

The official opening on January 29 was attended by senior ANA representatives from the MNFDU alongside representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The centre will be used by the 900 officer cadets in training at ANAOA. 

ANAOA has been supported by ADF advisers since 2014 and currently a coalition team of 21 advisers from Australia, New Zealand, Denmark and the United Kingdom provide mentoring to their Afghan partners.

As the academy has developed, advisers now focus their efforts at institutional level sustainment by providing mentoring on curriculum design, sequencing, logistics and headquarters functions, as opposed to mentoring cadets and instructors during training.  

In total, 4936 cadets have graduated from ANAOA – the majority of which are posted to operational units within the ANA after branch/regimental training.