NEW DELHI — The government of India has established its first contact with the Taliban after the U.S. forces wrapped up their military mission as the Taliban took over power in Kabul on Aug.15.
The talks between the envoy of India and the Taliban leaders occurred at the Indian embassy in Doha — the capital of Qatar.
The proposal of the talks came from the end of the Taliban.
India has made it very clear to Taliban leadership that Afghanistan soil should not be used against anti-India activities or terrorism.
“Today, Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha. The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, at the request of the Taliban side,” said the Ministry of External Affairs in India in a statement.
“Discussions focused on safety, security, and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan. The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit India, also came up.”
Mittal also raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner. The Taliban Representative assured the Ambassador that these issues would be positively addressed.
India believes that Haqqani Network, a Sunni Islamist militant organization, has deep linkages with Pakistan spy agency ISI and India-centric terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed may use its proximity and participation in the Taliban government against India.
India has maintained that it will wait and watch the evolving situation in Afghanistan; however, this can be seen as the first official contact between India and Taliban leadership.
India is yet to share its official position on recognition of the Taliban.
Meanwhile, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked with the president of the European Council regarding Afghanistan.
“Spoke with @eucopresident Charles Michel, President of the European Council, about the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Also reiterated our commitment to further strengthening India-EU relations,” said Modi in a tweet.
Earlier, the Taliban have halted India’s import and export duties in Afghanistan after taking over the country on Aug. 15.
The Islamic fundamentalist group ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. Since then, it has waged an insurgency against the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.
The Taliban swept into Afghanistan’s capital after the government collapsed. The embattled president joined an exodus of his fellow citizens and foreigners, signaling the end of a costly two-decade U.S. campaign to remake the country.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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