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India holds first formal talks with the Taliban in Qatar

Taliban members collect and make speeches in entrance of Herat governorate after the completion of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, in Herat, Afghanistan on August 31, 2021.

Mir Ahmad Firooz Mashoof | Anadolu Company | Getty Photos

India introduced its first formal diplomatic assembly with the Taliban on Tuesday — their first official talks because the group seized energy in Afghanistan because the U.S. withdrew its forces from there.

The Indian international ministry mentioned India’s ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met with the top of the Taliban’s political workplace, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. The Taliban had requested the assembly, which happened on the Indian embassy in Doha, in accordance with the ministry.

Mittal and Stanikzai mentioned the security, safety and early return of Indian nationals who’re stranded in Afghanistan in addition to journey prospects for Afghan minorities who need to go to India, the Ministry of Exterior Affairs mentioned.

The Indian ambassador additionally raised New Delhi’s considerations round Afghanistan getting used as a base for terrorism.

“The Taliban Consultant assured the Ambassador that these points can be positively addressed,” the international ministry mentioned.

For the foreseeable future, it will largely be an engagement to evaluate the place Taliban could be going with their agenda

Harsh Pant

Observer Analysis Basis

Days earlier than Tuesday’s assembly, Indian media reported that Stanikzai mentioned the Taliban needed to proceed Afghanistan’s political, financial and cultural ties with India. It was reportedly the primary time a member of the Taliban management spoke about the way forward for India-Afghanistan relations because the group captured Kabul.

The Taliban’s return to energy would doubtless affect Afghanistan’s neighbors, amid rising considerations of regional instability, refugee inflows and the prospect of Afghanistan changing into a haven for terrorist actions once more.

New Delhi didn’t have diplomatic relations with the Taliban once they had been final in energy within the 1990s, partially due to the militant group’s ties to Pakistan.

However India had cast shut ties with the U.S.-backed civilian authorities in Kabul during the last 20 years and supplied Afghanistan with growth help. Studies mentioned that India has invested $three billion in a number of infrastructure and commerce initiatives and has undertaken over 400 initiatives in Afghanistan.

Analysts say India’s commitments and the latest shift in energy has left New Delhi in a tricky strategic state.

‘Sensible necessity’

India’s assembly with the Taliban was a “necessity” that was in some methods dictated by the evolving political realities in Afghanistan, mentioned Harsh Pant, head of the strategic research program on the Observer Analysis Basis in New Delhi.

“There’s a sensible necessity of participating with the Taliban on condition that it will be one of the crucial — if not probably the most — vital political stakeholder in Afghanistan,” Pant advised CNBC. “Outreach at decrease ranges had already begun however that is the primary official, explicitly-stated Indian outreach to the Taliban.”

Learn extra on the developments in Afghanistan:

India reportedly made efforts in June to interact with the Taliban because the U.S. withdrawal deadline loomed. China has additionally stepped up its diplomatic efforts to interact with the Islamist group.

“If ultimately the Taliban achieve bringing collectively an inclusive authorities, with numerous stakeholders, then there isn’t any motive why India wouldn’t transfer ahead with a brand new momentum in its engagement,” Pant mentioned.

He mentioned the problem of recognizing the Taliban because the reliable energy accountable for Afghanistan will not emerge anytime quickly.

“For the foreseeable future, it will largely be an engagement to evaluate the place Taliban could be going with their agenda,” Pant mentioned.

“I believe many of the international locations can be ready and watching as to what the Taliban truly do on the bottom.”

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