The Taliban leader who trained with the Indian Army
New Delhi, Sep 01: Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai is one of the seven persons who calls the shots in the Taliban which recently took over Afghanistan. It was Stanikzai who met with Ambassador Deepak Mittal, India's envoy in Qatar on Tuesday.
Stanikzai had trained under the Indian Army at its institutions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The meeting between Stanikzai and Mittal was the first diplomatic contact with the Taliban.
Stanikzai is the head of the Taliban's political office in Qatar, a release from the Ministry of External Affairs said. The meeting took place in the Indian Embassy at Doha, the statement also read.
Stanikzai trained in the Indian Army in the Army Cadres College, Nowgaon as a Jawan between 1979 and 1982. He then trained as an officer at the Indian Military Academy in Dehradun.
When the Taliban last controlled the country, he was the Deputy Foreign Minister. He is well travelled and a rare leader in the Taliban who is fluent in English. Stanikzai was Abdul Hakim Haqqani's deputy negotiator in the talks that were held with officials of the earlier Afghanistan government. He had also visited Washington DC in 1996 to convince the Bill Clinton administration to acknowledge the Taliban government. He also led a delegation to China, a report in Bloomberg read.