• publish: 21 October 2021
  • time: 1:49 am
  • category: Politics
  • No: 19432

On sidelines of Moscow format meet on Afghanistan, Indian delegation meets Taliban team

An Indian delegation, led by Joint Secretary at Ministry of External Affairs JP Singh, met representatives of the Taliban on Wednesday on the sidelines of Moscow Format dialogue on Afghanistan.

On the sidelines of the third meeting of the Moscow Format of consultations on Afghanistan, representatives of the Taliban met an Indian delegation, led by Joint Secretary at Ministry of External Affairs JP Singh, on Wednesday.

It was the second such bilateral meeting between India and the Taliban after Indian envoy to Qatar Deepak Mittal’s meeting with Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, the Taliban’s deputy foreign minister, in Doha a month ago.

The Indian delegation led by JP Singh, the joint secretary of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division of the Ministry of External Affairs, was in Moscow to attend the Moscow Format meeting at the invitation of Russia.

Speaking about the India-Taliban meeting, Zabihullah Mujahid, an official spokesperson of the Taliban-ruled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan said, “The delegation of the Islamic Emirate met with the special representative of India for Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.”

The Indian side expressed readiness to provide extensive humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid was quoted as saying by Afghanistan’s Tolo news. The two sides also emphasised the need to take into account each other’s concerns and improve diplomatic and economic relations, the Taliban spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, during his opening remarks at the Moscow talks on Wednesday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that “forming a really inclusive government fully reflecting the interests of not only all ethnic groups but all political forces of the country” was necessary to achieve a stable peace in Afghanistan.

10 countries, including India, China, Pakistan and some other central Asian countries, participated in the meeting. Other than the Taliban, the meeting also had representatives of other factions, a round of diplomacy that underlines Moscow’s clout.

Lavrov in his opening speech at the conference commended the Taliban for their efforts to stabilise the situation in the country and ensure the operation of state structures.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted that there must be no rush in officially recognising the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan, but emphasised the need to engage in talks with them.

Unlike many other countries, Russia hasn’t evacuated its embassy in Kabul and its ambassador has maintained regular contacts with the Taliban after they took over the Afghan capital in August.

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