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Afghanistan Inaugurates First Military Academy

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (right) shakes hands with the Afghan soldiers during the ceremony opening the National Army Officer Academy outside Kabul on November 11..
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has inaugurated the country's first military academy.

At the opening ceremony on November 11, Karzai thanked Britain for its "support and financial assistance" in creating the National Army Officer Academy.

Built on the outskirts of Kabul, the academy is part of the Afghanistan National Defense University.

Some 270 students were chosen from more than 10,000 applicants to be the first recruits.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said the academy will provide "world-class training."

Trainers and advisers from Britain, Denmark, Norway, New Zealand, and Australia will work with the future officers.

The Afghan National Army this year took on the role of fighting the Taliban insurgency, as the U.S.-led NATO coalition prepares to withdraw next year.

There are currently some 150,000 soldiers in the army.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters