Af boy who saw Tal­iban be­head kin now IMA grad

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - POLITICS POLICY -

Dehradun: At 16, Ro­mal Wa-hlizada from Jalal­abad in Afghanistan was like any other boy of his age — spir­ited and cheer­ful — and hardly cared about the sim­mer­ing ten­sion be­tween the gov­ern­ment forces and the Tal­iban. Till one day it shook his en­tire world. It was a pleas­ant sum­mer morn­ing when the Tal­iban in­sur­gents 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 chil- dren 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 fi­nally come true. He is now all 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.

‘I wish more peo­ple like me come for­ward to join the Afghan army so that we can wipe out mil­i­tants,’ says Wahlizada

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