In an attempt to further burnish India’s credentials in Kabul, NDTV has reported that the Indian Army will train a select group of 17 Afghan women military personnel at the reputed Officers Training Academy in Chennai. This is the first time the Indian military is training women officers from Afghanistan.
In the past, India has trained over 4000 Afghan military personnel, but all of them were men. The report indicates that these Afghan women were selected by their government keeping in mind the various provinces and ethnicities they represent.
These women also represent various arms of the Afghan military — the Special Forces, intelligence, medical, strategic and public affairs, among others. “The training aims to acquaint the officers with basic military orientation including physical training, tactics, communication skills and leadership,” Manpreet Vohra, the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, told NDTV.
“Achieving higher representation of Afghan women in the military accords with the principles of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which calls for increased participation in security and peace-building,” the Indian envoy added.
Within Afghanistan, there is a real attempt towards increasing the presence of women in their military. Kabul seeks to increase female participation to 10% of the total force.
Under the former Taliban government, Afghan women weren’t allowed to work or continue their education after the age of eight. They were permitted only to study the Qur’an.
Since the disintegration of the Taliban government, India has transferred development aid worth $2 billion. The money was ostensibly sent for reconstruction and infrastructure development purposes. India also played a critical role in constructing the country’s national parliament.
India has also offered arms, ammunition and military training for Afghan soldiers dealing with the Taliban insurgency. In fact, earlier this year, the Indian government agreed to deliver greater security-related assistance to the war-ravaged country during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s recent visit to India.