HERAT -- New recruits have bolstered the ranks of the Afghan National Army (ANA) in recent months, helping to boost morale among security forces, military officials and analysts say.
More than 1,000 recruits began training at the training centre of the 207th Zafar Corps of the ANA in Herat Province on May 11. They were joined by 400 recruits for the Local Army, which differs from the ANA in that the troops are permanently stationed in their areas and do not move from one province to another.
More than 3,000 recruits have joined the army in Herat Province alone in less than a year.
"New forces help us greatly," Gen. Nurullah Qaderi, commander of the 207th Zafar Corps, told Salaam Times.
"These fresh forces of the National and Local armies won't be sent to the battlefield until they complete their training," he said. "We want to make sure that these [new] soldiers first learn how to proficiently operate weapons and other pieces of military equipment."
The growing interest of young Afghans in joining the national forces has helped elevate the morale of the security forces on the battlefield, say military analysts in Herat.
"The more the army's physical capabilities increase, the more the spirit of the forces rises," Ghulam Hassan Majroh, a military affairs specialist in Herat, told Salaam Times. That also means "they are encouraged to defend their country on the battlefield."
"The Afghan National Defence and Security Forces have transformed into experienced and trained forces, and they have the necessary capabilities," he added. "If the government improves the training and equipment of the security forces -- especially those of the army -- our security forces will become even more professional and capable."
"With more trained forces, Afghanistan will achieve many successes on the battlefield," he added.
Fresh soldiers who have joined the ranks of the ANA in Herat Province are warning the Taliban of annihilation if they do not renounce violence.
"I am very pleased that I have joined the ANA and serve my country," Sebghatullah, a fresh ANA recruit in Herat Province, told Salaam Times. "Everyone in this country must defend his land as a soldier."
"We will defend this country and our people to the last drop of our blood, and we won't allow the terrorists to oppress our people," he said.
"I have come here voluntarily as I want to defend my country and preserve our national interest so that we expel all the miseries from our country and ensure peace," said Kefayatullah, another soldier in Herat Province.
"I call on other young Afghans to join the ANA and serve their country," he told Salaam Times. "We no longer want bloodshed and killing, and we call on the Taliban as well to join the peace process so that peace can come to our country."
"After I saw how ruined our country was and that there were so many terrorists, I decided to join the ANA," ANA soldier Nooruddin told Salaam Times.
"My slogan is, 'Country or Shroud,'" he said, referring to the defence of Afghanistan or death. "Our country is like our mother, and I will sacrifice my life for Afghanistan."