Top Taliban leader ‘Sheru’ trained at IMA Dehradun

Hyderabad: The Head of the Political Office of Taliban, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, also known as “Sheru” trained at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun in 1982. His old batchmates expressed their surprise at the drastic political change in the man as he was apparently not a hardliner back in the day.

Speaking to The Times of India, retired Major General DA Chaturvedi remarked that Sheru had no radical views at the time he knew the man. “He was a likable, normal guy who sported a striking mustache,” he added.

After studying political science, Sher Mohammad Stanikzai joined the IMA where he trained for 1.5 years after the Indian military institute welcomed Afghans to join their program. He is now one of the top Taliban political leaders who is touted to become a major part of the Taliban regime.

According to The Times of India, ‘Sheru’ or Sher Mohammad Stanikzai was 20 when he joined the IMA in Dehradun in its 1982 batch. Retired Colonel Kesar Singh Shekhawat recollected a few weekend trips and other hiking expeditions with Stanikzai and others. The Colonel also remarked that there was a photograph of the Afghan in swimming trunks in Ganga in Rishikesh.

Stanikzai went on to join the Afghan National Army post his training at the military institute in India and fought in the Soviet-Afghan war and the Islamic Liberation of Afghanistan.

He also served as the deputy minister of foreign affairs and attempted to forge diplomatic talks between the then US President Bill Clinton and the Taliban. He finally ascended to the political office as its head in 2015 in Qatar.