In a first, while mentioning India by name, Taliban has said that it would like to have a positive relationship with the country and welcomed New Delhi’s cooperation in Afghanistan.
Speaking exclusively to our senior correspondent, Doha’s Taliban political office spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen said, “Based on our national interest and mutual respect, we would like to have positive relations with neighbouring countries including India and welcome their contribution and cooperation in the reconstruction of future Afghanistan.”
The comments come even as the US is keen that India speaks to the Taliban. US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was in New 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 (EAM) S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and sources on the meet said, “It is clear, New Delhi needs to be part of the process if we need to contribute effectively to the (Afghan) peace process.”
India also expressed it deep “concern at the upsurge in violence” and extended it support for “call for an immediate ceasefire” and need to “assist the people of Afghanistan in dealing with coronavirus pandemic”.