India: Want Taliban to keep terror off Afghanistan

Deccan Chronicle.  | Sridhar Kumaraswami

Nation, Politics

India said its primary concern was that Afghan soil should not be used for terror against India

A Taliban fighter stands on an armoured vehicle with a Taliban flag during a parade along a road to celebrate after the US pulled all its troops out of Afghanistan, in Kandahar on September 1, 2021 following the Taliban’s military takeover of the country. (Photo: AFP)

New Delhi: Even as the Taliban is reportedly all set to form and announce its new government in Afghanistan on Friday as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”, India on Thursday said its primary concern was that Afghan soil should not be used for terror against India and that a “positive response” had been received from the Taliban at Tuesday’s meeting in Doha, Qatar.

When asked about a possibility of recognition of the Taliban government, the MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said it was “early days” and that the Doha meeting was “just a meeting”.

The MEA spokesperson was non-committal when asked about any roadmap New Delhi had in mind regarding the Taliban, but gave out a strong hint that India would not have held any such meeting without a clear thought process.

New Delhi said it had utilised the “opportunity” during the meeting with the Taliban to express India’s concerns that Afghan soil should not be used for terrorism and on the need for evacuation of the remaining few Indian nationals from Afghanistan as well as Afghan Sikhs and Hindus who wish to travel to India.

It may be recalled that earlier on Tuesday, after the Taliban requested for a meeting, the Head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha  Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai met the Indian ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal at the Indian Embassy in Doha at a meeting in which the senior Taliban leader assured that India’s concerns would be “positively addressed”.

On why the Taliban had not issued any statement unlike New Delhi, the MEA spokesperson said it was up to the Taliban to issue a statement.