(This was originally posted in Times Of India by Rajat Pandit)
Afghan Soldiers Undergoing Training In India Stare At Uncertain Future, with the Taliban swiftly seizing control of the landlocked country after a virtual walkover against the Afghan army. The Indian government “will have to decide the future” of the Afghan military personnel being trained in the country, bulk of them in the Indian Military Academy (IMA) at Dehradun, Officers’ Training Academy (OTA) at Chennai and National Defence Academy (NDA) at Khadakwasla (Pune), said defence sources on Monday.
“Apart from the cadets at IMA, OTA and NDA, some Afghan officers and other ranks are also attending specifically-tailored capsule courses for them at different military training establishments in India,” said a source. The Afghan personnel are anxious about their families and the situation in their country, especially given the Taliban’s “hatred” for the Afghan National Defence & Security Forces (ANDSF). “Their training is continuing but they are obviously worried. The Indian government will have to take a call on their future,” said the source.
Apart from supplying military hardware, including four Mi-25 armed helicopters and three light Cheetal choppers, to ANDSF, India has also trained thousands of Afghan military personnel over the years in counter-terrorism operations, military field-craft, signals, intelligence-gathering and information technology, among other fields. Scores have also undergone the “Young Officers’ course” at the Infantry School in Mhow as well as training at the specialised counter-insurgency and jungle warfare school at Vairengte in Mizoram.
On average, around 700 to 800 Afghan soldiers per year were attending the short-duration “tailor-made” courses for them at the different Indian military establishments for well over a decade now. “Moreover, 80-100 cadets were coming for pre-commissioning training at IMA, OTA and NDA every year. Though we train cadets of many other countries ranging from Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Vietnam, Myanmar and Tajikistan at our military academies, the Afghans constitute the bulk of the foreign cadets,” said an official. Afghan Army chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai, in fact, was slated to visit India late last month to seek a further boost in military assistance and training to his war-ravaged country. But the visit was cancelled due to the rapid advances being made by the Taliban in Afghanistan with the withdrawal of the US-led forces from the country at that time. Barely a few days later, Afghanistan has been overrun by the Taliban.