Kabul: The Head of Political Office of Taliban, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, was once at the Indian Military Academy (IMA) in Dehradun where he was referred to as ‘Sheru’ by his batch mates who don’t remember him as a hardliner.
Sher Mohammad Stanikzai, studied political science and joined the IMA where he was trained for 1.5 years after the Indian military institute opened its gates for the Afghans. He is now one of the top Taliban political leaders who is touted to become a major part of the Taliban regime.
‘Sheru’ or Sher Mohammad Stanikzai was 20 when he joined the IMA in Dehradun in its 1982 batch.
Colonel (retd) Kesar Singh Shekhawat, also a batchmate of Stanikzai, remembered their weekend hiking expeditions and short trips to the riverside. “There is a photograph of him in his swimming trunks from a day we had gone to the river in Rishikesh and bathed in the Ganga,” recalled Col Shekhawat.
After his complete training at the IMA, he went to join the Afghan National Army as a lieutenant. He fought the Soviet-Afghan war and the Islamic Liberation of Afghanistan. During the previous Taliban regime, Stanikzai served as a deputy minister of foreign affairs and had also travelled to the US during the Bill Clinton regime for diplomatic talks on behalf of the Taliban.
Stanikzai was appointed the head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar, in 2015.