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Walled In From Different Sides

Many Afghan Army officers had received training from the Officers Training Academy (OTA), situated in the southern Indian city of Chennai. OTA is a training establishment of the Indian Army that trains officers for the Short Service Commission. The 49-week course at the OTA prepares graduates for all branches of the Army, except for the Army Medical Corps. However, the Afghan National Army (ANA), for which they got trained at the Indian Military Academy (IMA), no longer exists. The situation has prompted some officers of the Afghan Army to send a message to one of their Indian batchmates of OTA, asking for assistance.

In recent times, Indian Army, Navy and Air Force officers have received many such messages from their former Afghan batchmates. Even instructors and high-ranking officials of the IMA have received such requests. While some of them are still hiding in Afghanistan, others have managed to leave the country. Now, each and every one of them wants rehabilitation in India.

Afghan Army Officers

An Indian Army Officer, who wished to remain anonymous, has said that one of his former batchmates at the IMA in Dehradun contacted him several times, seeking asylum in India. He told the media: “In fact, it is a very sensitive issue. International relations are also involved in it. Even if I wanted to do something for him, I could not do anything personally. I feel very bad thinking about him.

The Indian Army, Navy and Air Force have training facilities for the officers of the friendly nations. Eighty-four foreign cadets passed out from the IMA at the end of 18-month training in June 2021, and 43 among them were from Afghanistan. According to sources close to the Indian Defence Ministry, over 2,000 Afghan Army officers have been trained at various Indian Defence Academies over the past two decades. While most of them are still in Afghanistan, some have taken shelter in India (after the Taliban came to Power in Kabul).

The Afghan Army officers are upset over the way the Taliban took control of areas, like Kabul, Herat, Ghazni and Jalalabad, without any resistance from the US-backed Afghan Forces. They are of the opinion that the indecision and weakness of the Ashraf Ghani Administration allowed the Taliban to take over Afghanistan quite easily.

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