Indian diplomats in Kabul for first meeting with Taliban since US withdrawal

Indian diplomats in Kabul for first meeting with Taliban since US withdrawal

Indian diplomats in Kabul for first meeting with Taliban since US withdrawal
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  • India has no diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, and its embassy in Kabul was shuttered last year.
  • India has dispatched 20,000 metric tonnes of wheat and 13 tonnes of medicines to the country.
  • More than 24 million people are in need of life-saving assistance to avoid famine.
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On Thursday, Indian foreign ministry officials met with Afghan government officials in Kabul for the first time since the Taliban took control of the nation last year.

India has no diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, and its embassy in Kabul was shuttered in August last year when US-led forces withdrew from the landlocked country, whose Western-backed government fell after the Taliban gained power.

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India’s Ministry of External Affairs announced in a statement before of the visit that the group will meet with top Taliban members to “hold discussions on India’s humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”

After dispatching 20,000 metric tonnes of wheat and 13 tonnes of medicines to Afghanistan, where repeated economic shocks, political crises, and a series of environmental disasters such as drought have left more than 24 million people in need of life-saving assistance to avoid famine, the ministry said its team will oversee the delivery of Indian humanitarian aid and meet representatives of international organizations involved in distribution.

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J.P. Singh, the Indian team’s joint secretary, visited Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and the Taliban’s foreign ministry spokesperson Abdul Qahar Balkhi on Thursday afternoon.

After the meeting, Balkhi tweeted that they had discussed diplomatic relations and bilateral trade and that the visit was “a good start between the two countries.” He also thanked New Delhi for the humanitarian assistance.

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The Indian delegation is expected to visit the sites where various Indian investment programs have been implemented for the past two decades.

 

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