19 women commandos of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have completed a six-week commando course and of them, some will be posted at the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan. They trained with their male counterparts in “anti-terrorist and VIP commando protection course” at the Basic Training Centre (BTC) of the ITBP in Haryana.
In June 2022, India reopened its Embassy in Kabul after shutting down the mission following the violent takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban in August 2021 and the collapse of the former democratic government. The reopened Embassy is expected to increase its operations in the country.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force (ITBP) also trained the women personnel in heli-borne slithering operations under the commando training. Slithering is a tactic used for the rapid induction and deployment of troops during any operation in remote areas or in difficult terrain by sliding down a rope fixed to a helicopter hovering several metres above the ground.
The women commandos have been trained in unarmed combat, rock climbing, shooting, firing by pistols, carbine and rifles, field engineering demolition, explosive training, communication, first aid, battle inoculation, physical toughening, VIP security, counter-insurgency operations, intelligence, slithering, navigation, jungle operations against militants and specialisation in endurance and obstacle course.
Those selected for the course were less than 34 years old and will have to clear the Battle Physical Efficiency Test by an ITBP panel before their deployment in Afghanistan. Speaking to India Today TV, one of them said: “I’m a Pinky Rani. I am married with a three-year-old child. There is despair at times, but I do not want to quit. I come from a family of five sisters and two brothers and only I have a government job. My family is proud of me. If I get this chance, I will go to Kabul to serve my country.”
30-year-old Ramandeep Kaur from Uttar Pradesh said: “When we first came for the commando training, we were scared of height, water, and other physical obstacles. Training for a commando is very difficult and challenging. We have to run 20 km and clear obstacles. We had to survive in the jungles for 24 hours.”
Babita from Jharkhand said: “We are ready for deployment. We were zero when we came here. Now we know we can go there and do our job.” The inspector general of the Basic Training Centre of the ITBP at Bhanu, Ishwar Singh Duhan, said that the women are trained tough.
“They are trained to be deployed for commando duties, embassies and for posts at high altitude. Some of them needed mental motivation. We have now increased our commando course from four weeks to six weeks for women. They are trained in anti-terrorism course so they can deal with any situation.”
The Union home ministry authorised the ITBP panel (operation directorate) to select a handful of these women for the Embassy in Kabul. They will be a force multiplier to the existing strength of commandos deployed there.