Vermont Guard members to train Afghan army officers

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(Host) The Vermont National Guard says fifty soldiers are being deployed this month to Afghanistan, to help train the country’s army. The Vermont troops will join coalition forces in helping to train the Afghan officer corps in how to lead their units. They’ll also help develop army protocols based on a western-style chain of command.

Lieutenant Colonel William Roy is the battalion commander for the mission. He says a key element of the mission is to build an army that sees its role as serving the civilian government:

(Roy) “The citizen is the ultimate authority of a democratic society. As long as we use that as the mindset in all of our training – both the military forces and the State Department working with their different agencies – as long as we use that as a premise, then I think that eventually we’ll have success.”

(Host) Lieutenant Colonel Roy says the Vermont troops are scheduled to be in Afghanistan until next August. But he says the length of the mission is based on more than military progress:

(Roy) “Actually, it depends on how fast the international community can work with Afghanistan to develop a solid economy. If a man who has been a mujahadeen and carries an AK-47 and currently works for a warlord and makes $20 a month – if he can set his weapon aside and go and work in factory and make $100 a month and support his family that way, he’s going to do that.”

(Host) The soldiers leave Vermont on September 24. They’ll spend six weeks training in Colorado, before leaving for Afghanistan.

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