he two Afghan National Army (ANA) academies held their annual graduation ceremonies early in March in Kabul. 549 officers graduated from Afghanistan's Marshal Fahim Defence Academy (MFDA) after a four-year
academic and military education and 250 male and female 2nd lieutenants from the Afghan National Army Officers Academy (ANAOA) after completing a one-year program.
President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, the acting Minister of Defence Mr.
Mohammad Masoom Stanikzai and other high-ranking officials attended the graduation ceremony at the MFDA.
"With your highly distinctive achievement, you will play a vital role in the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces' (ANDSF) success in the years to come," the President told the graduates. "You will be honoured by the people of Afghanistan as their brave officers, and we all believe that you can defend our families, homeland and our traditions."
Afghan families, as part of their cultural honour, have encouraged their youth to serve under the flag of the country and bring honour to their families, communities and homeland.
"You stood up for your country's sovereignty and your nation's defence," said the President and thanked the parents and the families for sending their sons and daughters to fight against a coward enemy. "We abide by our Islamic teachings that allowed us to live in peace and defend our peaceful country," he said. "This is our right!"
Afghan traditions, driven by the religious principles, always promote and offer peace, respect and co-existence amongst the communities.
The Afghan President in his speech once again asked the Taliban to choose the right path away from the terrorism and join the peace process for a better future. He further said, "We are committed to peace, but we are also ready to defend our homeland and eliminate those who ignore peace."
Afghan females are increasingly joining the ANDSF, and the rising number of graduates from the ANAOA shows their high interest. Afghanistan's acting Minister of Defence Mr. Stanikzai praised the females’ presence in the ANDSF and said, "We are proud of them."
In maintaining peace and stability, the ANDSF are always in contact with the communities and the families.
"Our sisters standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers, providing security to the people means they are maintaining the integrity of the Afghan families," Mr. Stanikzai added.