India sending 35 ITBP commandos to guard Afghanistan missions

New Delhi: India has decided to enhance the security of its mission and consulates in Afghanistan by deploying about three dozen more ITBP commandos at these facilities which have been hit by terror strikes several times in the past.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police force chief Krishna Chaudhary said a squad of 35 commandos will soon be flown in to Kabul to bolster the existing manpower of the force at the Indian Embassy in Kabul and its four consulates in Jalalabad, Mazar- e-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat.

“There is threat perception (to Indian facilities in Kabul) and that is why we are there. We are sending in 35 more commandos for security duties there,” Chaudhary said on the eve of the 54th Raising Day of the force.

The DG said a joint review in this regard was undertaken by the Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry after it which it was decided to increase the strength of the force.

The force has about 300 commandos stationed at these five locations as of now keeping in mind the threat emanating from terror groups like al Qaeda to Indian assets and its diplomatic staff there.

While the DG refused to go into the specifics of threat faced by these Indian facilities in Afghanistan, he said “various reasons” were taken into account for increasing the strength of the ITBP squad at these locations.

“It was not that there was any lack of manpower but it was felt necessary to augment the strength and hence these men are being sent,” he said.

These men are given special training in VIP protection, combat tactics and weapon firing before they are sent for this special task in Afghanistan.

The ITBP is credited with having an excellent crop of mountain-trained agile commandos among all the central paramilitary forces.

Two major attacks in the past have been the terror strike at the Indian Embassy in capital Kabul in 2008 in which killed over 50 people and diplomatic staff, last year the Consulate in Herat was attacked.