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Ready to provide secure environment for Indian mission: Taliban

Source : The Times of India

Ready to provide secure environment for Indian mission: Taliban
A Taliban fighter walks on a street, in Kabul (AP)

With international recognition on mind, and following efforts by the government to strike the right chord in the post-US withdrawal Afghanistan – not least with the ongoing supply of 50,000MT of wheat to the country, the Taliban continue to reach out to India for establishing diplomatic ties.

Taliban’s UN ambassador-designate Suhail Shaheen told ToI Thursday that the government in Kabul was ready to provide a “secure environment” for the Indian embassy in Kabul and that diplomatic presence was essential for boosting bilateral relations. India had recalled all embassy officials after the return of Taliban to Kabul on August 15 but government authorities remain in touch with Taliban to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

“We want all those countries including India who had their embassies in Kabul to reopen their embassies and start functioning as normal. We are committed to providing them a secure environment for their functioning. Diplomatic presence is important for boosting bilateral relations,” said Shaheen.

India has so far sent 8,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan in 4 separate shipments via the Attari-Wagah border with Pakistan. The Taliban had last year taken up with Pakistan the need to quickly approve India’s proposal to transport 50,000 MT of the grain through the land route. This is the first time since 2007 that Pakistan has allowed India to use the land route to send aid to Afghanistan. In 2007, India had supplied wheat biscuits to Afghanistan via the land route with Pakistan.

Significantly, a private Indian trader was Thursday reported to have transported Indian sugar to Uzbekistan via Pakistan and Afghanistan in a “historic trade activity.” According to a PTI report, the Taliban commerce and industry ministry organised a special ceremony to facilitate the transit of Indian goods, which was despatched to the Karachi port from Mumbai earlier this month, and hailed it as a major step towards turning Afghanistan into a key trade link between Central and South Asia.

India remains concerned though about the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in Afghanistan and the lack of a truly inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan. At the UN Human Rights Council recently, the government said its approach to Afghanistan was guided by its traditionally friendly ties with the Afghan people and also that it shared concerns of the international community on issues related to humanitarian assistance, terrorism, drug trafficking and the need to preserve the rights of women, children and minorities.

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