India allows 80 Afghan defence cadets to join 12-month training programme
The Afghan embassy, which is still manned by a small group of officials and diplomats from the erstwhile government, said in a statement that 80 young Afghan cadets who recently graduated from various Indian military academies had been offered a 12-month training course under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
The Indian government will allow 80 cadets of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF), who were stranded in the country after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, to join a 12-month training programme so that they can remain in India.
Prior to the fall of the Ashraf Ghani government in mid-August last year, Afghanistan was one of the largest beneficiaries of India’s military training programmes for foreign countries. Up to 1,000 slots in elite facilities such as Indian Military Academy in Dehradun and Officers Training Academy in Chennai, were on offer to the ANDSF every year and some 700 Afghan personnel, including officers, are currently in India.
The Afghan embassy, which is still manned by a small group of officials and diplomats from the erstwhile government, said in a statement that 80 young Afghan cadets who recently graduated from various Indian military academies had been offered a 12-month training course in “effective English communication for business and office purpose” under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
“The programme starts on 7th February, the young cadets will be placed in three different institutes in India and will be provided with accommodation and a monthly allowance,” the statement said.
“Given the challenges and uncertainty facing these freshly graduated young cadets due to the prevailing situation back home, the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India welcomes and applauds this generous move by the Indian government,” the statement added.
ITEC is the flagship training programme of the external affairs ministry and a key part of India’s external development assistance programmes. Since ITEC was started in 1964, it has provided training in India to civilian and defence personnel from scores of partner countries.
Dozens of Afghan cadets and offers who recently graduated from different academies in India had staged a protest close to the defence ministry in New Delhi earlier this month to highlight the uncertainty surrounding their future. They subsequently staged another protest outside the Afghan embassy that was joined by close to 200 Afghan military personnel.
None of the Afghan personnel are willing to return to Afghanistan in view of reports of the detention and execution of numerous ANDSF personnel by the Taliban.
A report released by Human Rights Watch (HRW) last November had said the Taliban had summarily executed or forcibly disappeared more than 100 former police and intelligence officers in just four provinces of Afghanistan since taking over the country on August 15.
A new report issued by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) continues to receive credible allegations of killings, enforced disappearances and other violations regarding members of the former Afghan government, security forces and those who worked with international military forces despite the announcement of general amnesties by the Taliban.
“Since 15 August, UNAMA has received allegations of more than 100 such killings that it determined to be credible, of which more than two thirds were alleged to have been extrajudicial killings committed by the de facto authorities or their affiliates,” the report said.
Some of the Afghan personnel who joined the recent protests said they had been living hand to mouth since the graduated from various academies or completed their courses. They also contended they had been promised that the Indian side would provide them assistance.
The Indian Army has taken some steps to help the Afghan personnel, including help with extending their visas and scholarships for further studies, psychological counselling, and facilitating their immigration to other countries.
India has a long history of training Afghan cadets and officers. Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the deputy foreign minister in the Taliban setup and a former military officer, trained for several years at the Indian Military Academy in the early 1980s.
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