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PTI Chennai
Updated: 19-12-2018 17:43 IST

Head scarf-clad Zuhra Nabizada

showed no traces of emotion as she handled the machine gun

with the ease of a professional during a training session at

the shooting range of the Officers Training Academy here.

She is part of a group of 19 women from the Afghanistan

Armed forces honing their skills at the Academy.

Wiping the sweat off her sunburnt face, Afghan Air

Force's Second Lieutenant Nabizada said this is her second

visit to India.

"The first visit was in 2014 to Dehradun to take part

in a Taekwondo match," she said.

India's only academy to impart training to women

cadets and officers, OTA is hosting women officers from the

Afghanistan Armed Forces for the second time, the first being

last year with 20 women.

Afghanistan Army's Liaison Officer Captain Sirajulhaq

Safi told PTI that this time officers from the country's Air

Force have also joined the programme.

"Compared to last year, the team this year comprises

many young officers," Safi said, adding that his country sees

the exercise as a knowledge-sharing experience.

The month-long training that began November 26,

includes weapons training and drill besides others.

Indian Army's Major Ritu Jaswal said the officers were

focused and showed keen interest in what was being taught.

"Each country has a different weapon system... Most of

the time they use MI-16 assault rifles, here they get the

opportunity to learn to use the Indian Small Arms System -

light machine guns," she said.

"However, weather is the major hurdle they face here,

as the present temperature in their country is below 5 degree


December is the time when Chennai experiences cooler

climes, Jaswal, who acted as an interpreter for a majority of

the women officers who knew only Pashto and Dari, added.

Nabizada, a trainee pilot, said it was not just about

weapons, but the session also fostered her leadership skills

and boosted her self-confidence.

She is the only one of her nine other siblings to have

chosen a career in the armed forces.

The squad has mostly women below 30 years, while a

50-year-old officer is the seniormost.

About changes made to the training curriculum since

last year, an officer said the duration has been extended to

four weeks from three weeks last year.

"This has given us more time to teach the officers

about everything that is happening in OTA. They also consider

it as a lifetime experience," the officer said.

According to OTA officials, the officers also visited

various places in the city during the training period which

will end on December 26.

Media personnel were allowed to witness a

training session in which the women officers showcased their

skills in handling light machine guns at the OTA shooting

range, abutting Chennai Airport.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)