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Talk "Afghan Adventure"

  • 29 Mar 2012
  • 18:45
  • The Royal Thames Yacht Club, London


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RNVR Yacht Club member, Commander Richard "Darby" Allen was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan at very short notice on 22 March 2011. 

The job he was taking over was an appointment in the NATO Training Mission working as the Executive Officer for the UK Brigadier in Command of the Combined Training Advisory Group-Afghanistan (CTAG-A). 

This organisation was responsible for the training of the Afghan National Army and could have up to 29,000 soldiers in training at any one time. 

In June 2011, he was transferred internally within CTAG-A to fill a gapped job at the main Afghan National Army Training Command HQ in Darulaman, located on the edge of the mountains, 10 miles to the South of Kabul. In this new role he was the Director of G7 Training with responsibility for scheduling 137 Army courses at 7 Regional Military Training Centres and 11 specialist Branch Schools. He also acted as the mentor to an Afghan Colonel and accompanied him to weekly meetings at the Afghan Ministry of Defence.

Only 14% of the adult population of Afghanistan are literate so part of his team worked on improving literacy training in the army and introduced 64 hours of literacy training for every soldier.  This was a significant undertaking since initial entry Soldier Courses join from the recruiting centre in "Kandaks" which consist of 1400 soldiers.

The scale of the Afghan National Army (ANA) training mission is very impressive generating up to 4000 new soldiers each month. At the same time as growing the ANA there are other courses at the Branch Schools which are designed to professionalise the ANA.   

During his time at Darulaman he managed to travel extensively across Kabul, a city with a population in excess of 4 million residents. Driving in Kabul is a very different experience from driving in the UK mainly because there aren't any rules and it is not unusual to see traffic driving the wrong way down the roads and dual carriageways. On one occasion the convoy he was travelling in was involved in a car accident at a busy interchange and he ended up helping the Afghan Traffic Police to direct traffic around the incident. Thankfully no one was injured and after swapping details the convoy was able to pull away from the scene. 

Darulaman is also home of the Kings Palace and the Queens Palace which were built in 1927 by King Amanullah. Nestled between these impressive stately homes is the new Afghan Parliament which was steadily being built during 2011.
The Royal Thames Yacht Club has kindly agreed to make available to RNVR Yacht Club members a number of places for the talk, for which there will be no charge. The talk will commence at 18.45, but a cash bar will be available for those arriving earlier. There will be an opportunity to dine in the Coffee Room after the talk.

Dress for the evening will be Club Rig

The talk is free of charge.  Members wishing to dine after the talk in the Coffee Room may register now, but will pay on the night on an individual basis.

The Royal Thames Yacht Club
60 Knightsbridge

Next Steps 
Bookings should be made using the Register button, as soon as possible and by 22nd March 2012 at the latest.
  • Register yourself and any other members or guests in your party
  • Indicate whether you wish to dine afterwards at The Royal Thames Yacht Club.
Further Information 
For further information, please contact the event organiser, Tim Ware.

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