Taliban wants positive relationship with India, welcomes New Delhi's contribution in Afghanistan

In a first, Taliban has said that it would like to have a positive relationship with India and welcomed New Delhi's cooperation in Afghanistan.

Speaking exclusively to our senior correspondent, Taliban's Doha political office spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen said, "Based on our national interest and mutual respect, we would like to have positive relations with neighbouring countries including India and welcome their contribution and cooperation in the reconstruction of future Afghanistan."

He further said, "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a national Islamic movement of Afghanistan which has been struggling for the emancipation of the country from occupation. We don’t have any agenda beyond our border."

The comments come even as the US is keen that India speaks to the Taliban. US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was in New Delhi last week, the first such visit after the US Taliban deal on February 29 and had spoken about this with India. 

During the visit, he called on External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and sources on the meet said, "It is clear, New Delhi needs to be part of the process if we need to contribute effectively to the (Afghan) peace process."

Sources said that the talks, which had "level of urgency", had "covered the entire gamut of the situation in Afghanistan. Proposal for the accommodation of different strands of political thoughts was discussed".

Earlier in 2020, terrorists attacked a Gurdwara in Kabul killing more than 25 Afghan Sikhs and the attack was claimed by the Islamic State. The attack also killed an Indian.

India also expressed it deep "concern at the upsurge in violence" and extended it support for "call for an immediate ceasefire" and need to "assist the people of Afghanistan in dealing with coronavirus pandemic".

India also emphasised on the need to "putting an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries" which is necessary for "enduring and sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan." The US special envoy was accompanied by Senior Director in the US National Security Council Lisa Curtis and the US Ambassador to India Ken Juster.


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