Deepak Mittal an Indian Ambassador held a meeting in Qatar on Tuesday with a senior leader of the Taliban community in Doha. As per the statements launched by the Indian foreign ministry, it is the first-ever official meet between the two sides.
“Today, Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha. The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, at the request of the Taliban side,” the statement said.
The core member of the number two Taliban negating committee Stanekzai is given the third position as a leader in accountability of other leaders in Qatar. Stanekzai has traded in the Indian military academy in Dehradun for many years starting from the early 1980s. Earlier he was taking part in foreign relations but now he is not part of the decision-making team in Kabul.
“Discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan. The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit India also came up,” the Indian foreign ministry said.
“Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner,” the Indian statement said.
“The Taliban Representative assured the Ambassador that these issues would be positively addressed,” the statement added.
The meeting was held after 15 days the Taliban took over Kabul. It was also aligned after the US military troop completely retread back. The last US troop is said to have left Afghanistan on Monday.
As per reports, it was being said New Delhi was in touch with Taliabns but there was no official report. It was the senior official of Qatar — Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani – confirming that officials from New Delhi had met Taliban representatives in Doha.
Previously India was dicey about contacting Pakistan backed with Taliban. Though Pakistan bacon Taliban has encountered to be very interested in India as it would provide Islamabad with a very negotiable administration.
India’s association with the Taliban has come to rise with other counties such as Iran, Russia and China besides the US and the UK. With the US retreating, it forces all the economic counties to see Taliabns as a rising force currently in Afghanistan.
“According to the Ministry, the request to meet came from the Taliban side and it wouldn’t have made sense not to respond,” said former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal who noted that Stanekzai had recently made some positive comments vis a vis India.
The reference was to Stanekzai saying in a speech over the weekend that “India is very important for this subcontinent. We want to continue our cultural, economic and trade ties with India like in the past” – among other things.
With the US leaving Afghanistan, “India has no choice but to deal with the Taliban,” Sibal said adding that the “contract that has been made is for pragmatic reasons.”
“It does not amount to an establishment of normal relations or reopening of the embassy as conditions for doing business with the new government in Kabul is outlined in the UNSC statement,” he said pointing to references to abstain from reprisals and allowing Afghan women their rights in a resolution passed overnight Tuesday by the Security Council.
“As a first step this is pragmatic and necessary to protect our national interest,” Sibal said adding that there was “some way to go before India and others decide when to establish normal relations with a new government in Kabul.”