December 7, 2021

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In 2nd official meeting, Taliban say India offered Afghanistan humanitarian aid

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In 2nd official meeting, Taliban say India offered Afghanistan humanitarian aid
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In 2nd official meeting, Taliban say India offered Afghanistan humanitarian aid
In 2nd official meeting, Taliban say India offered Afghanistan humanitarian aid

India and the Taliban had their second official meeting on the sidelines of the Moscow Format talks Wednesday with the latter saying in a statement that the Indian side had “finally’’ expressed readiness to provide extensive humanitarian assistance to the Afghans. This is the first public acknowledgement of an official meeting with India by the Taliban.
While the Taliban side was led by Abdul Salam Hanafi, the Indian delegation was headed by MEA joint secretary J P Singh, who handles Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran and his colleague Adarsh Swaika, who is in charge of the Eurasia division. The Taliban also said that both sides considered it necessary to take into account each other’s concerns and improve economic and diplomatic relations.
TOI had reported Tuesday that despite logistical problems India was considering sending 50,000 MT of wheat and medical aid to the Afghan people. India, however, wants only UN to handle the distribution.
The Moscow Format talks saw participation by the Taliban and 10 countries, including India, and emphasised on the need for Afghanistan to have an inclusive government that reflected, as Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said, the interests of all ethnicities and political forces for sustainable peace and national reconciliation. Apart from India, all other participants too had separate meetings with the Taliban.
The Moscow talks also saw Taliban reaffirming their commitment to not allow the Afghan territory for use against their neighbours.
“The Indian envoy to the Moscow format meeting said that the people of Afghanistan need humanitarian assistance, Afghanistan is going through a difficult situation. India is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan,’’ tweeted official spokesperson of `Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’ Zabihullah Mujahid.
There was no official confirmation by India of the meeting until late in the night but sources admitted there was an engagement. The Taliban have continued to maintain radio silence over their meeting with Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal in August, their first official engagement with India.
The humanitarian aid offer by India, as announced by the Taliban, follows PM Narendra Modi’s call in his G20 address for urgent and direct assistance to the Afghan people and an inclusive administration to avert a humanitarian crisis.
Expressing concerns about the activities of proscribed terrorist organisations in Afghanistan, the participating countries also reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan to contribute to regional stability, according to a joint statement issued after the talks. They were pleased to note, according to the statement, the reaffirmation by the interim Afghan government of its previous commitments to prevent use of the Afghan territory against its neighbours, other States in the region and the rest of the world.
The Moscow Format talks were attended also by, among others, China and Pakistan. The US though did not participate on this occasion. While official recognition was ruled out for now, the participating countries called for taking into account the new reality of Taliban having come to power “irrespective of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community’’.
The meeting expectedly called for consolidated efforts to provide urgent humanitarian aid and endorsed Russia’s proposal for a UN conference on the humanitarian crisis that Afghanistan was facing.
In this context, according to the joint statement, the participating countries proposed a broad-based international donor conference under the UN as soon as possible, “certainly with the understanding that the core burden of post-conflict economic and financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan must be shouldered by troop-based actors which were in the country for the past 20 years’’.

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