Tag Archives: Military Training

Fighting for Afghanistan’s Future

Out at the Kabul Military Training Center, Colonel Fazl Karim is giving a new batch of recruits his usual pep talk on a hilltop not far from the barracks. It’s two weeks before the graduation of the latest group of soldiers in the Afghan National Army, and the troops sit cross-legged in the dirt, aligned in neat rows. Construction crews build more barracks nearby—another 100,000 recruits are expected to go through the training in the next three years, gearing up for a final tally of 352,000 that will replace foreign soldiers. “You are all going to die one day,” shouts Karim. “You might as well die protecting your country!”

In Afghanistan, fatalism trumps optimism as a rallying cry. But perhaps that just reflects the realities of Afghan soldiering: by the end of 2014 the country’s armed forces will take over security from the international troops that have been stationed here for more than a decade. And yet the insurgency continues. What the Afghan troops lack in equipment, logistics, air support and training they more than make up for in sheer bravery.

But is it enough? Even the U.S. soldiers tasked with overseeing training are skeptical. “As long as training continues when we leave there is no reason to think that Afghanistan can’t continue to grow a professional army,” says Captain Jason Reed. “But it’s going to take generations.”

Adam Ferguson is a frequent contributor to TIME. Represented by VII, Ferguson has covered conflict for several years, primarily in Afghanistan.

Aryn Baker is the Middle East Bureau Chief for TIME.

All-new issue of Lens Culture contemporary photography online now!

The latest issue of Lens Culture (www.lensculture.com) is filled with exciting new discoveries:

Exciting new contemporary photography from Russia (3 articles)
A special high-resolution preview of Paris Photo 2011
Award-winning photography from Japan, The Netherlands, Turkey, and the USA
Photos made and used as inspiration by painters Edvard Munch and Cy Twombly
Photo book reviews, including a book about Patti Smith by REM’s Michael Stipe
A video-essay about female military training camps
Behind the scenes intimate and candid photographs of body-builders
Collodion wet-plate and photogram diptych portraits of hands
Black-and-white photographs of monster storm systems
Exhibition reviews, audio interviews, and much more!
Plus more than 6 years of Archives, featuring hundreds of interesting photographers.

Please check it out, and tell your friends, too. Enjoy!


Special thanks to our hard-working, dedicated editorial and production team for this issue: Christian Andr Strand, Catherine Rierson, Samantha Pribish, and Millie Casper. nell . And thanks to you, our readers, for keeping us going!