New Delhi: The Taliban have said India offered extensive humanitarian assistance to the Afghans in its second official meeting with the Indian side on the sidelines of the Moscow Format meet.
The Indian delegation led by Joint Secretary, PAI (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran Division) JP Singh and the Taliban delegation led by Deputy PM Maulavi Abdul Salam Hanafi met on the sidelines of the ‘Moscow Format’ meet on Afghanistan in the Russian capital which was convened by the host nation.
The Taliban has said that both the sides have taken each other’s ‘concern’ in account.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement said, “Meeting with Mr JP Singh, Special Representative of India for and accompanying delegation. Both sides considered it necessary to take into account each other’s concerns and improve diplomatic and economic relations. The Indian side finally expressed readiness to provide extensive humanitarian assistance to the Afghans.”
This is the second such bilateral meeting after Indian envoy to Qatar, Ambassador Deepak Mittal met Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai in Doha over a month ago.
India is raising concerns regarding the issue of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and that Afghan territory should not be used against India for cross-border terrorist activities.
While New Delhi has been mulling on how much it should engage the current dispensation, the joint statement of the Moscow Format says that all participating nations have agreed to provide ‘humanitarian assistance’ to Afghanistan even as they “call on the current Afghan leadership to take further steps to improve governance and to form a truly inclusive government that adequately reflects the interests of all major ethno-political forces in the country.”
The joint statement added, “Expressing deep concern over the deteriorating economic and humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the sides expressed confidence in the need for the international community to mobilise consolidated efforts to provide urgent humanitarian and economic assistance to the Afghan people in the post-conflict reconstruction of the country.”
In this context, a collective initiative will be launched to convene a broad-based international donor conference under the auspices of the United Nations.
“Regarding being concerned about the activities of proscribed terrorist organisations in Afghanistan, the sides reaffirmed their willingness to continue to promote security in Afghanistan to contribute to regional stability,” said the joint statement on concerns of rising terrorism and Afghanistan becoming a safe haven for terror organisations.
While no nation has officially recognised the Taliban government, most are increasingly engaging the new dispensation given the regional security concerns and humanitarian crisis in the country.
The Moscow Format’s call for engaging the Taliban borders on the lines of endorsing the new administration without according it official status.
The statement said, “It was stated that further practical engagement with Afghanistan needed to take into account the new reality, that is the Taliban coming to power in the country, irrespective of the official recognition of the new Afghan government by the international community.” (Agencies)