IMA-trained Afghan officers fear for safety | India News


NEW DELHI: By mid-August, with the fall of Kabul, the Afghan National Army had collapsed. Its officers and soldiers trained in India, now in the firing range as the Taliban takes over, told TOI that it is the distrust of army personnel and their association with India that has put them at extreme risk. They have petitioned India for help. “It’s our big hope,” one of them said from Kabul on Monday.
“When the Taliban attacked, they had our (army’s) biometric pads. They were forcing people to put their fingers on the pad and all information would come up instantly. It was scary,” said Lieutenant Amir (name changed), 26, who graduated from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun in 2018. “News came in, meanwhile, that four Afghan army personnel had been killed at Karte Naw (in Kabul) … Our address, too, was registered with the government and the army. So, we left. We have been in hiding for over a week.”
Many like Amir are walled in from all sides — the Taliban is wary of army personnel and the Pakistan operatives of those with India links.
“When the Taliban entered Kabul, we got orders that no one should fight them… The Taliban searched military officers’ houses and seized their weapons and vehicles. They killed randomly. I tried to get to the airport one day but they beat me up and kicked me, along with others. I went back to hiding at home,” a second Afghan army officer, who graduated from IMA the same year, told TOI.
Another Afghan officer texted this correspondent saying: “I used to track military convoys before Taliban captured Afghanistan. When I see Pakistani malisha (militia) and fuagi (soldiers), I know they will not spare me if they know I graduated from IMA (sic).” A fourth, also an IMA alumnus, said, “Officers and soldiers who got training in India are at risk because the Pakistan army has issues with us … They know who the army and police are.”
Help is yet to come though. A lieutenant who was in the IMA 2018 batch said his wife worked with the Indian embassy in Kabul for more than five years. He said they sought help from the ministry of external affairs and the Indian Army. “We haven’t got a response. Families of our liaison officers in all Indian academies are stuck in Kabul. So they can’t come to our aid in any way right now. I request the Indian government to help us,” he said. “I keep changing my location every day. India, please help me,” said his batch mate.
Some of these officers said they take hope from what they’ve heard of the evacuation of other soldiers. “I know so many people (soldiers) who were trained in the US, Australia and Germany. The countries helped the officers leave Afghanistan. We have more trust in India than anyone else,” an officer said. Defence expert Maroof Raza said Afghan officers who graduated from India “must have patience”. “The Indian government is yet to clarify its stand on the Taliban. So, the road ahead doesn’t appear smooth.”


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