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Afghan Cadet is First at West Point in More Than 15 Years


A twenty-year-old man from Afghanistan has become the first person from his country to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York since the end of the Taleban regime. Like other new cadets, he is bracing for the shock of a military education.

The United States Military Academy at West Point welcomed its first Afghan cadet since 1989. Twenty-year-old Shoaib Yosoufzai was accepted under the academy's long-running international cadet program, which allows candidates from around the world to attend the prestigious institution.

Yosoufzai is no stranger to the military, however. His father is a dean at an Afghan military academy. He decided not to attend that academy and chose instead to apply to West Point -- a move he believes will enable him to help his country's military become more professional.

Yosoufzai says, "It is an honor for my people and for my country, and I will try my best in order to save the reputation of my country, and in order to try my best to be a good ambassador for my country."

Nearly 1300 students were accepted this year, including 21 international cadets and 189 women.

New cadets will complete six and a half weeks of basic training. They will participate in rigorous physical training, long marches and tactical maneuvers. Upon completion of the training, cadets will be formally accepted into the Corps of Cadets.

Though Yosoufzai realizes it will be a long, hard journey, he has found adjusting to America hasn't been as difficult as he thought. "I have a totally different perspective of America because, before coming to United States, I just heard about America through the media, through radio and television, but now I have a different perspective because now I meet the American people and I know that they are really helpful and friendly with Afghans."

Yosoufzai's class includes cadets from every state in the U.S. and 21 countries.

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