Unable to return, Afghan cadets in India offered additional course

IN WHAT is being seen as a gesture to protect “at-risk” Afghan nationals, the Indian government has decided to offer an additional year-long training programme to about 80 cadets from the Afghan National Security Forces who have just completed their training in Indian military academies.

With the fall of Kabul in mid-August and the Taliban taking over the government in Afghanistan, these cadets are considered to be “at-risk” if they choose to return home.

“Eighty young Afghan cadets who recently graduated from various military academies in India have been offered a 12-month training programme in Effective English Communication for Business and Office,” the Afghan Embassy said in a statement. It said the programme begins on February 7 and the cadets will be placed in three different institutes, where they will be provided accommodation and a monthly allowance. The training is being provided under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) of the Ministry of External Affairs.

“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 Embassy said.

India has regularly provided military training to young Afghan cadets, in sync with its close ties with Afghanistan.

Delhi has been pushing for the formation of an inclusive government in Kabul, besides insisting that Afghan soil must not be used for any terrorist activities.

In the last couple of months, India has sent large quantities of life-saving medicines and other supplies as part of its humanitarian aid to the war-torn country.

It is also planning to send the first consignment of wheat, via Pakistan, this month. Officials say the modalities are still being worked out, and could take place as early as February 10.

Responding to questions, the Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said on Thursday: “The government is committed to extending humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. We have been sharing information about shipment of medicines and vaccines. The process to procure wheat and to arrange its transportation is still underway.”

The United Nations said this week that it has received “credible allegations” that more than 100 former members of the Afghan government, its security forces and those who worked with international troops have been killed since the Taliban took over last August.

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, despite Taliban assurances, there are also credible allegations “of enforced disappearances and other violations impacting the right to life and physical integrity” of former government and coalition members.

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