Afghan boy who saw Taliban behead kin graduates from IMA
Dehradun: At 16, Romal Wahlizada from Jalalabad in Afghanistan was like any other boy of his age — spirited and cheerful — and hardly cared about the simmering tension between the govern- ment forces and the Taliban. Till one day it shook his world. It was a pleasant summer morning when the Taliban insur- gents attacked their town and beheaded over a dozen people, including his close relatives.
“The attack was a show of strength by the militants,” recalls Wahlizada, who still gets goosebumps while narrating the incident. “I was shaken and didn’t talk to anyone for a long time. On seeing the blood of innocents being shed, I pledged to join defence forces.”
Being the only son of his parents and hailing from a lower middle-class family in the conflict-ridden part of the country, Wahlizada’s decision was not welcomed by his family members. However, he stood firm. “The cries of women and children still ring in my ears. That is what gives me courage to fight the battle against the Taliban. I wish more people like me would come forward to join the Afghan army so that we can wipe out militants,” he said.
After working as an interpreter for the Australian army for over a year, he joined the National Defence Academy and then Indian Military Academy in Dehradun. At 21, his dream has come true. He is now set to be commissioned into the Afghan National Army.
Along with Wahlizada, 48 other Afghan cadets also graduated from IMA during the passing out parade on Saturday. Similarly, 15 cadets from Bhutan, five from Maldives and Tajikistan, and two each from Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Nepal graduated at the 143rd Passing-out Parade.