• Friday, Mar 31, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

India begins direct communication with Taliban

  • Published at 01:44 pm August 31st, 2021

Discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan, according to MEA statement

India on Tuesday began direct communication with the Taliban, following the terrorist group's lightning takeover of Afghanistan two weeks ago.

Indian envoy in Qatar Deepak Mittal held talks with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban's Political Office in the Gulf state, at the country's Embassy in Doha, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

At the meeting, Ambassador Mittal raised India's concern that Afghanistan's soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner, to which Stanekzai assured him that these issues would be positively addressed, according to the statement.

Also Read- India arrests 14 for social media posts supporting Taliban

"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," it added.

The meeting comes days after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up a high-level committee to keep a tab on the developments in Afghanistan. 

"A wait-and-watch approach has been adopted by the government," a top diplomat told the Indian media.

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan on August 15, with American troops ending their 20-year military presence in the South Asian country.

Also Read- Over 100 Indians held by Taliban evacuated from Kabul

Last week, India's top military man -- Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat -- reportedly issued a warning to the Taliban, saying the country "is ready to deal with any terrorism spilling out of Afghanistan".

Though Afghanistan has closed its airspace for all civilian flights, India has been evacuating its nationals. In the past few weeks, the Indian Air Force has airlifted more than 600 of its nationals, including its ambassador, from Kabul.

Earlier, India had evacuated all its diplomatic staff and their family members from its three consulates in Afghanistan: Kandahar, Jalalabad and Herat.

India is particularly worried about the implications of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, given it has already infused over $3 billion in development aid into the country and the horrific memories of the Taliban's role in the hijacking of an Indian airliner in 1999.

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