Armed forces recruiting Canadian troops to Afghanistan are using online training materials that provide a framework for recruiting new soldiers, according to defence officials.
The documents, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, reveal the Army is training soldiers in how to recruit and maintain relationships with local Afghan women, and how to help them navigate the cultural and linguistic challenges of living in a war-torn country.
The Army also teaches them how to integrate social media and social media apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat into their daily lives.
They also learn how to make secure phone calls to each other and communicate through email.
A spokesperson for the Army said the online training is aimed at training troops who are in the region but not deployed, and is not meant to be an in-person introduction to the region.
The training has been running since mid-March, and the army has already trained more than 800 recruits.
“We’re very excited to be able to offer these skills to our Canadian colleagues, and we look forward to continuing to help our friends in the Army grow in the months and years ahead,” said Sgt. Dan Kahan, a spokesman for the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, which is home to one of Afghanistan’s largest Afghan communities.
The Canadian Forces have also offered the services of a counsellor and a language tutor to help recruits integrate into the local culture.
But the training is intended to help new soldiers find jobs and to build relationships with locals, rather than to train them as frontline soldiers.
“These guys need to be ready to go out into the field and meet the challenges of the mission, and they need to understand that if they’re going to go there, they have to go in and deal with it,” said Jason Ristolainen, a defence analyst at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute in Ottawa.
“It’s a really big step for them to be there for two months and then be there the next day.”
While the training material includes video and audio courses, the content is mostly text-based and does not include a video of an officer giving an instruction.
The materials also include information on how to navigate the local Afghan community, including how to use local names, how to pronounce local words, and even how to call a friend if they are missing one.
“They can talk about this stuff and they can share this stuff with their family,” said Ristulainen.
“And they can really get into it and learn how this is done and how it can be done.
That’s a big step in the right direction.”
The training material also includes video of recruits talking to Afghan women.
One video shows a recruit speaking to a woman about the benefits of joining the military.
The video also shows an Afghan woman giving a speech to recruits about the challenges and opportunities in her country.
“I think what we’re seeing in Afghanistan is a growing desire to get into the military, so this is really a stepping stone in that direction,” said Kahan.
The military has been working with the Afghan government to get the military and the local community on the same page about how to handle cultural and ethnic issues in Afghanistan.
But there has been resistance from some Afghan officials, who say the military’s presence in the country is detrimental to the culture.
“There are a lot of people in the Afghan community who are saying that if we were to bring in more foreign troops, the culture would change and the people would be more hostile toward them,” said Mohammad Agha, a member of the Afghan parliament.
The United Nations, which was supposed to help Afghan officials implement a cultural solution to the violence, said it was frustrated with the military presence in Afghanistan and said it did not support efforts to ease tensions between the government and Afghan communities, including those in the southern province of Helmand.
“If the Afghan Government wishes to work in a mutually beneficial manner with the United Nations to resolve the violence in Afghanistan, it must make sure that the Afghan communities are not left with no choice but to accept these new foreign forces,” UN Special Representative on Afghanistan Darryl Frank said in a statement.
But while some Afghan politicians have voiced their opposition, many Afghan government officials have welcomed the Army’s efforts.
“The people in Afghanistan are extremely concerned about the impact that these forces will have on the Afghan people and their security,” said Mohammed Shahin, a spokesperson for Afghan president Ashraf Ghani.
“For a country that has been suffering for decades, the presence of foreign troops is a blow to the morale of the people.”
The Canadian government has not publicly responded to the allegations against the army, but in an email, it said it “has been working closely with the Government of Afghanistan to ensure that the Army remains on track for success in Afghanistan.”
The Army has also been using social media in Afghanistan to share information about the training, said Capt. Greg LeBlanc, a military spokesperson.
“Social media has been integral to our training in the last year, and it is our