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Building an Army

Afghan Military Enlistment

Updated: March 13, 2017

During the 2011 Milblog conference, I had the privilege of asking Lt. Gen Caldwell, the Commander of NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan, a few questions about the recruitment of members into the Afghan National Army (ANA). In response, the General described the contributions of the United States Army recruiting personnel who were brought over to Afghanistan to assist in the formation and implementation of Afghan National Army Recruiting Command (ANAREC). During the round table, he also offered up the services of his speechwriter, Major Good. I took advantage by asking a few follow up questions that specifically addressed the requirements one must meet in order to join the ANA.

Not surprisingly, the requirements for joining the Afghan military are really not all that different from that of the United States military. The Afghan National Army has a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) where a basic literacy test is administered (we utilize the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)). The MEPS also has doctors and a medical staff that perform physicals, provided required immunizations and even make a determination whether the recruit is actually the age his or her documents indicate. There is an oath of enlistment, but it is taken during the second week of training with their kandak (battalion).

The Afghan National Army Oath (Female Officer Example):

ANA Military Oath
In the name of God
I’m a loyal daughter to the people of Afghanistan with my admission to the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA).

I take this oath in the name of God. I will be a well disciplined officer of this country; I win be loyal and honest and follow all roles and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA). I will obey orders and instructions of my superiors and commander under any circumstance and condition.

My priorities will be defending territorial integrity. national freedom. and values of Islamic revolution: I will even spill my blood in serving my country.

My violation to this oath should be strictly punished based on the legislations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA). May God help us to succeed.

So what are the basic enlistment requirements?

The applicant must be an Afghan citizen, 18-35 years of age, with a valid Taskira (identity document that shows birth date) and be loyal to Afghan territorial integrity, national independence, and the instructions of Islam. Additionally, the applicant must be physically and mentally healthy, with no infectious diseases or disabilities/handicaps which would prevent them from carrying out their duties. One must have a clean criminal background, and cannot already be serving in, or assigned to, any other armed force. The religious requirement aside, the Afghan and United States military enlistment requirements are fundamentally similar.

Afghan women are recruited into the army, but are limited to service in non-combat vocations such as logistical, medical and administrative.

According to ANAREC surveys, the primary reason people enlist into the Afghan National Army is for service to Allah, as indicated by every respondent. Most respondents also cite pay and or service to country with a strong desire to improve their life and the life of their family.

How is a member of the Afghan National Army compensated?

Here is the current ANA Base Pay and Incentive chart; for comparison, here is the 2011 US Military Basic Pay chart. When the pay scales are contrasted, one must take into account that, just as the countries of the United States and Afghanistan seem a world apart, the same can be said of their economies.

Due in part to the assistance of the NATO Training Mission and the United States Army recruiting personnel, the Afghan Armed Forces are developing upon a foundation which harbors an organizational structure similar to that of the United Sates Armed Forces, a military paradigm that has proven successful for generations.

4 Responses to “Afghan Military Enlistment”

  1. Major Gary Good says:

    It was great speaking with you at the conference. Thank you for getting the word out. Of note, and with regard to your point about US and Afghan salary comparison. The salary of the Aghan National Army is a “living wage” that allows them to sufficiently provide for themselves.
    Look forward to meeting at next year’s Milblogcon Conference!

  2. NCCM(ret) says:

    I assumed it was a living wage when I wrote it, but I guess I should have clarified that better (my economies comparison is ambiguous).

    I really enjoy the Milblogs and the Round Tables – both are informative and, of course, you get to meet some great people.

  3. Kirk Kobak SFC (Ret) says:

    After reading the story, I now know that being on the first team of recruiters to go over and develop, write and instruct the ANAREC academy was the best thing I had ever done in my 25 year career in the Army!!!!!

  4. NCCM(ret) says:

    SFC(ret) Kobak,

    Thank you for your service, and great job!

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A Navy recruiting blog that delves into the military enlistment process and benefits of service. This is NOT an official United States Navy or government web site. The opinions expressed are my own, and may not be in-line with any branches of the government or military.

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Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

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