DUBAI // Some 2,000 Afghan army officers and 70 air force pilots are being trained in the UAE, a senior US commander said today during a visit from Afghanistan.
A flight school here is teaching the pilots English and flying skills, while the French are training the officers, said Lt Gen William Caldwell IV, the commander of the Nato training mission in Afghanistan.
Three sets of about 350 Afghans have already completed a four-month course to become non-commissioned officers. A fourth group is due to arrive on Saturday, and two more are set to follow. After that, it is hoped that all such training can take place in Afghanistan. Most of the training is being held there now.
The pilots are in the first year of their 24-month programme in the UAE, and will finish the second half in their home nation.
Forty of the 250 UAE troops currently serving in Afghanistan are also assigned to train Afghan forces. They are based mainly in Kabul.
Nato, which plans to withdraw its combat troops by the end of 2014, is working to build a 352,000-strong Afghan army and police force that can take over responsibility for security in their country.
The training effort currently costs more than $11bn (around Dh40b) a year.