India, Taliban make first official contact after last US troops leave Afghanistan

Hours after the last US military aircraft flew out of Kabul to mark the end of its 20-year war in Afghanistan, India made its first official contact with the Taliban. The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha. The meeting took place following a request by the new rulers of the strife-hit country.

Announcing the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs, in a statement, said: “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, on the request of the Taliban side.” Discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals, especially minorities, stranded in Afghanistan. India raised its concern over the use of Afghanistan’s territory by terrorists, while Stanekzai assured him that these issues would be positively addressed, according to the release. Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner. The Taliban representative assured the Ambassador that these issues would be positively addressed. The Taliban have proclaimed “full independence” for Afghanistan after the last US soldiers flew out following 20 years of war. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said early Tuesday that “American soldiers left the Kabul airport, and our nation got its full independence.”