President Karzai Congratulates Future Leaders
Source: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (ntm-a.com)
March 18, 2010
By Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier, USAF
Photo by Senior Airman Matt Davis
KABUL– More than 1,500 people, including Afghan
government and coalition officials, joined Afghan
President Hamid Karzai in congratulating the National
Military Academy graduating class of 2010 today.
Two hundred and twelve cadets joined the ranks of
Afghan National Army and Afghan National Army Air
Corps officers during a ceremony at the school, which
was only the second since the academy first opened
five years ago.
“You are the youth of the nation,” Karzai said in
his speech. “You have the responsibility to be
committed to your service, your people and your
nation. You are from different ethnic groups and
different areas of Afghanistan, but you have a unified
wish to defend and serve this nation.”
The president also reflected on Afghanistan's rich
“Afghanistan wasn’t always a country with nothing,”
he said. “We had everything and we are working step by
step to regain that power, to defend this nation. It’s
in your hands.”
Other distinguished visitors included Minister
Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan minister of defense, and
Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, NATO Training Mission
Afghanistan commanding general, all of which spoke at
“Today you join the most honored and ancient
profession, that of a professional military officer,”
Caldwell said. “Today your country and your families
place their security in your hands. You are indeed a
unique group of Afghan citizens; you represent all
ethnic groups of Afghanistan, all 34 provinces.
Together, you represent the nation of Afghanistan. “
The new officers will now move on to work in the
career fields of infantry, aviation, armor, engineers,
logistics, finance, communications and artillery,
which the cadets chose after their third year at NMAA.
“I am feeling great today,” said Cadet Ghulam
Farooq, a NMAA Class of 2010 graduate. “Today I
graduate from this academy and I’m going to serve my
He added that joining the Army was his childhood
dream and that he is proud that today his dream turned
his into reality.
“It was always my hope to become an honest officer
and serve my country to help bring peace and stability
to Afghanistan,” Farooq said. “My family is very
excited that I am going to serve. My father was an
officer in the army, and he encouraged me to become an
honest officer, so he is very proud of me.”
He also said that the school was very challenging,
but no problem for him.
The National Military Academy of Afghanistan which
is an extensive four-year university-level institution
is by many regarded as the crown jewel of the Afghan
National Army. It is designed to educate, train and
inspire the cadets; transforming them into competent,
courageous and honorable officers.
The entire curriculum is taught by Afghan
instructors who are mentored by United States Military
Academy West Point and the United States Air Force
Academy staff members and military officers from
Turkey and India.
The mood at the ceremony was evident by the proud
and joyous expression on the cadet s’ faces.
Caldwell closed his speech praising the cadets’
patriotism and determination to work towards a better
and peaceful country.
“All of you represent the nation of Afghanistan,
the best of this nation,” the general said. “The hope
and the future of your country are in your hands.
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. It is
an honor to serve with you, shoulder to shoulder,
shohna ba shohna, as partners. May God preserve you
and guide you as you defend Afghanistan.”