Would like to maintain positive relations with India, says Taliban

Reported By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: May 09, 2020, 11.34 PM(IST)

REPRESENTATIONAL IMAGE Photograph:( Reuters )

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The comments come in the wake of the US being keen that New Delhi speaks to Taliban. Also, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Delhi last week -- the first such visit after the US-Taliban deal on February 29 -- and had spoken about this with India.

Taliban -- in a first -- has said it would like to have "positive" relations with India while welcoming New Delhi's cooperation in Afghanistan.  

"Based on our national interest and mutual respect, we would like to have positive relations with neighbouring countries, including India. We welcome their contribution and cooperation in the reconstruction of future Afghanistan," Suhail Shaheen spokesperson Taliban Political Office, Doha said in an exclusive conversation with WION.

He explained, "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a national liberation force which has been struggling for the emancipation of the country from occupation. We don’t have any agenda beyond our border. "

The comments come in the wake of the US being keen that New Delhi engages with the Taliban. Also, US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad was in Delhi last week -- the first such visit after the US-Taliban deal on February 29 -- and had spoken about this with India.

During the visit, he called on External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. Sources said, "It is clear, New Delhi needs to be part of the process if we need to contribute effectively to the (Afghan) peace process."

The talks which had "level of urgency", sources added, had "covered the entire gamut of the situation in Afghanistan. Proposal for the accommodation of different strands of political thoughts was discussed."

In an interview to the Hindu newspaper, Zalmay Khalilzad had said India should speak directly to the Taliban.

The Indian readout of the meet said that EAM and NSA had reiterated "India's continued support for strengthening peace, security, unity, democratic and inclusive polity" and "protection of rights of all sections of the Afghan society, including Afghan Hindus and Sikhs." 

Earlier this year, terrorists attacked a Gurudwara in Kabul killing more than 25 Afghan Sikhs and was claimed by the Islamic State. The attack also killed one Indian.

To this end, India had expressed deep "concern at the upsurge in violence" and extended support for "call for an immediate ceasefire" and need to "assist the people of Afghanistan in dealing with coronavirus pandemic."

India also emphasised on the need to "putting an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries" which is necessary for "enduring and sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan."

The US special envoy was accompanied by Senior Director in the US National Security Council Lisa Curtis and the US Ambassador to India Ken Juster.

Also read | US threatens Taliban with retaliatory actions if violence in Afghanistan continues

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