Taliban hail India’s Afghanistan diplomatic ‘upgrade’

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Taliban hail India’s Afghanistan diplomatic ‘upgrade’

  • The Taliban government has welcomed India’s step to upgrade its diplomatic representation in Kabul.

About Taliban

  • The Taliban emerged in 1994 around the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
  • It was one of the factions fighting a civil war for control of the country following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union.
  • It originally drew members from mujahideen fighters. These fighters, with support from the USA, repelled Soviet forces in the 1980s.
  • In 1996, it gained sole control over most of Afghanistan, proclaiming an Islamic emirate with a harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

US Exit and rise of Taliban in Afghanistan

  • The US, under its new President Joe Biden, announced its decision to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.
  • However, the US and its allies exited Afghanistan in July 2021.
  • Following the withdrawal of allied forces, the Taliban re-grouped itself in a bid to topple the democratically elected govt. of Afghanistan.
  • Facing little resistance, Taliban fighters overrun the capital, Kabul, and take over the presidential palace on August 15, 2021. Since then, Taliban is ruling in Afghanistan.

India’s response after the takeover

  • India closed its consulates and embassies in Afghanistan and evacuated citizens
  • India shut down its embassy in Kabul, two days after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
  • Before closing its embassy, it had shut down all its consulates in Afghanistan.
  • India had consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Jalalabad and Mazar-i-Sharif.
  • It also launched Operation Devi Shakti to evacuate its citizens.
  • India has not yet recognised the Taliban regime and it has urged the international communities to do the same.
  • India also reiterated its call for an inclusive government that has representation of women and minorities.
  • It calls upon the Taliban to not allow Afghanistan territory to be used for terrorism.
  • India expressed hope that the UN Security Council resolution 2593 would guide the international community's approach toward Afghanistan.
  • India continued its humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan
  • Even after closing its operations in Afghanistan, India kept on supporting the people of Afghanistan by providing humanitarian assistance.
  • India has, so far, transferred 40,000 tonnes (of a promised shipment of 50,000 tonnes) of wheat to the World Food Programme via trucks through Pakistan.
  • It also sent winter clothing and medicines to the people of Afghanistan.

India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul

  • In June 2022, India re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a technical team in its embassy in the Afghan capital.
  • This team was posted with a task to focus on business and trade opportunities and the distribution of food and medical aid.
  • For now, the embassy is focused on the distribution of food and medicines through various agencies and ensuring the upkeep of Indian projects that had been handed over to the Afghan authorities.
  • In the next phase, Indian infrastructure companies are hoping to return to incomplete infrastructure projects.
  • The embassy, however, has not opened any visa facilitation services yet.
  • Only a limited number of visas have been issued to Afghanistan citizens through the e-visa route.
  • Hundreds of students and patients requiring treatment in India are waiting for the visa facility to be reopened.

Recent developments

  • The Foreign Ministry of the Taliban dispensation (special permission) in Afghanistan welcomed India’s diplomatic presence in Kabul.
  • It also promised to ensure security for the Indian mission in the Afghan capital.
  • Taliban on the immunity of the diplomats
  • Besides ensuring security, the Taliban said that they will pay close attention to the immunity of the diplomats and cooperate well in their endeavours.
  • Taliban remains optimistic about strengthened India – Afghan relationship
  • The Taliban govt expressed hope that upgrading diplomatic representation and dispatching diplomats would strengthen Afghan-India relations.
  • This would lead to the completion of unfinished projects by India and the commencement of new vital projects.