No decision yet on recognizing Taliban government in Afghanistan: MEA
Two days after establishing the first diplomatic contact with the Taliban, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday clarified that it is too early to decide whether to give any recognition to the Taliban government. "We are not aware of any detail or nature of what kind of government could be formed in Afghanistan," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. Here are more details.
Speaking about Tuesday's India-Taliban meeting in Doha, Bagchi said he has no update on the meeting, adding, "It's not a matter of yes and no (on the roadmap of further meetings with the Taliban)." However, he maintained that "there is no need to speculate on this." "Our aim is that Afghanistan's land shouldn't be used for terror activity of any kind."
So far, over 550 people have been evacuated by India from Afghanistan since the Taliban took over the country. Of the 550, over 260 are Indians, according to the MEA. The MEA said that evacuation operations were halted as Kabul airport is not operational at present. "We will resume our operation to evacuate people from Kabul as soon as airport services will resume."
Stating that the majority of Indians who were willing to return have already come back, Bagchi said, "It is difficult to share the exact number of Indians still left in Afghanistan," adding, "Special Afghan cell continues to operate."
Meanwhile, India on Tuesday held its first diplomatic talk with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar. The meeting was held between India's Ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, and Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban's Political Office. The discussion mainly focused on the safety, security, and early return of Indians stranded in Afghanistan, and travel arrangements for Afghans—especially minorities—who wish to visit India.
In Tuesday's meeting, India reportedly flagged its concerns over the use of Afghanistan's territory by terrorists. Notably, the Taliban representative assured India that "these issues would be positively addressed."
Separately, Stanekzai had also expressed the Taliban's desire to continue Afghanistan's trade with India as usual. "We want to continue our cultural, economic, and trade ties with India like in the past...Trade with India through Pakistan is very important for us. With India, trade through air corridors will also remain open." India has invested over $3 billion in Afghanistan on various development projects.