Afghan Trainee Soldiers Graduate in Kabul
A total of 1,600 soldiers graduated from Kabul Military Training Center on Thursday (May 23) and were commissioned to the Afghan National Army.
The Afghan national army are preparing to take hold of the country's security after most foreign troops pull out by 2014.
[Rahmatullah Khan, Soldier]
"We promised today, here, to defend our soil, sovereignty and independence of our counter, and we will not allow the enemies of our country to invade our soil and we have the capability to defend our country,".
The United States and its NATO allies are helping increase the size of the Afghan security forces to a targeted 352,000, a number they are fast approaching. Afghan and Nato officials said, adding that the army is already providing security for about 87 percent of the population.
[Abdul Qayeem, Commander of the Armed Forces in Kabul]
"These soldiers who received their graduation certificates today are very strong and have skills in different areas -- skill in being foot soldiers, medical assistants and other skills. These soldiers are creating the destiny and future of Afghanistan they have come together to defend their homeland,".
Questions remain over how well Afghan security forces being built up by NATO will be able to tackle Islamist Taliban insurgents in the face of intensifying violence and how Western states can justify financial support for a force that has been saddled with accusations of torture by the United Nations.
When Soviet forces left Afghanistan in 1989 after a decade-long war, financial aid dried up and the Afghan government collapsed, leading to fighting between warlords and a civil war paving the way to the 1996 rise to power of the radical Taliban.