In their first visit to Kabul since the US leave, Indian officials meet Taliban leaders.
The acting Taliban foreign minister of Afghanistan met with a delegation of Indian officials on Thursday to discuss bilateral ties and humanitarian supplies, according to the Taliban, in what was the first such visit to Kabul since the chaotic US exit last year.
Poverty and hunger have risen dramatically in Afghanistan since Islamist terrorists seized power following the US withdrawal, and India has responded by sending food grains and other relief.
Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, met with an Indian foreign ministry delegation led by senior official J.P. Singh.
“The discussion focused on India-Afghan diplomatic relations, bilateral trade, and humanitarian aid,” said Abdul Qahar Balkhi, a spokesman for the Taliban’s foreign ministry, on Twitter.
According to Balkhi, the minister described the visit as a “good start in ties between the two countries.”
When asked if New Delhi now recognizes the Taliban government, Indian foreign ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi said media were “reading much too much into the visit.”
Officials from the ministry said in a statement that they would oversee humanitarian aid distribution and visit locations targeted by Indian-backed programs or initiatives.
According to the report, India has provided 20,000 tonnes of wheat, 13 tonnes of medications, 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, and winter clothes, with more medical and food grains on the way.
Last August, India withdrew its personnel from Afghanistan and closed its embassy, despite a desire to maintain connections with the country where its regional enemy Pakistan wields significant power.
Bagchi declined to speculate on when the embassy may reopen, other than to remark that local personnel had continued to work and ensure adequate maintenance and repair of the embassy’s facilities.
Tags: Afghanisthan, Aid, Bilateral, Foreign Ministry, India, Taliban