Indian delegation meets Taliban in Kabul, a first in the new Afghan regime
In a major development, an Indian delegation for the first time on Thursday met the senior Taliban leadership in Kabul since it took control of Afghanistan in August last year. The Indian team headed by a senior diplomat also discussed humanitarian assistance to the people of the strife-torn nation. The Indian delegation led by J P Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, met senior members of the Taliban. Singh is in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran (PAI) affairs.
But many feel, there is no point in engaging in talks with the Taliban which never honor their words and does reverse and practice so much barbaric humanitarian violations. More than that Taliban always took anti-Indian stands.
The ongoing meeting comes in the backdrop of reports indicating that India may re-open its embassy in Kabul, shut shortly after it was shut down two days after the Taliban took over the country on August 15 last year. More than 15 countries have already reopened their embassies there. The question here is why Indian leadership at this stage of uncertainty in Afghanistan thinking of re-opening the embassy in Kabul.
Giving details of the Indian delegation’s schedule, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said here earlier on Thursday a team led by J P Singh will meet senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India’s humanitarian assistance. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said here a multi-member team headed by Joint Secretary Singh is in Kabul. The team will meet senior members of the Taliban. They will also meet representatives of international organizations who are involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. “We are focused on the security of our officials,” he added.
Bagchi said local staff continues to be there for maintenance and upkeep of the Indian Embassy premises. “In August 2021, we had pulled out India-based officials due to the deteriorating situation,” he said on the re-opening of the Indian Embassy in Kabul. The MEA in a statement said the team is currently on a visit to Kabul to oversee the delivery operations of our humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.
During the visit, the team will meet representatives of the international organizations involved in the distribution of humanitarian assistance. In addition, the team is expected to visit various places where Indian programmes and projects are being implemented. With India playing a major role in providing aid, the Ministry said the team will meet the senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India’s humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.
“It may be recalled that in response to the humanitarian needs of the Afghan people, India decided to extend humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. In this endeavor, we have already dispatched several shipments of humanitarian assistance consisting of 20,000 MTs of wheat, 13 tons of medicines, 500,000 doses of Covid vaccine, and winter clothing,” said MEA. Here the question is millions of dollars worth of India’s aid reaching to whom in Taliban controlled Afghanistan.
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