An Indian delegation participated in a Taliban meeting in Doha. However, a separate meeting was not held with the country, a spokesperson of the insurgents’ group said. Asserting Taliban’s ‘commitment’, he further assured that they will not harm the embassies or the diplomats in Afghanistan. But this came with a warning.
“There were reports about Indian delegation meeting our delegation, but I can’t confirm that. According to my information, a (separate) meeting hasn’t happened but on Friday we had a meeting in Doha, in which an Indian delegation also participated,” Taliban spokesperson Muhammed Suhail Shaheen was quoted as saying by ANI.
India had recently joined Qatar and several other countries after a regional conference and declared that there will be no recognition of any military takeover of Afghanistan. The countries further called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire. According to Qatar, China and Pakistan were among the countries who said they won’t recognise any violent takeover in a separate meeting on August 10.
When Taliban was asked to assure that ‘Afghan soil’ won’t be used against India, Shaheen said, “We have a general policy that we’re committed not to allow anyone to use Afghan soil against any country, including the neighboring countries.”
According to reports, the Taliban are close to taking control of India’s showpiece infrastructure project Salma dam, also called India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam, in the Herat province. The dam had been inaugurated by President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2016. The province capital and Afghanistan’s third-largest city, Herat city, has already fallen to the Taliban.
“There is no danger from our side to embassies and diplomats. We won’t target any embassy or diplomat. We’ve said that in our statements many times. It is our commitment,” the Taliban spokesperson asserted.
However, his commitment came with a warning. “If they (India) come to Afghanistan militarily and have their presence, I think that will not be good for them. They’ve seen the fate of military presence in Afghanistan of other countries, so it is an open book for them,” Shaheen added.
The spokesperson further denied removing the Nishan Sahib, a Sikh holy flag, from a gurdwara in the Chamkani area of Paktia that was once visited by Guru Nanak.
“That flag was removed by Sikh community themselves. When our security officials went there, they said that if flag is seen, someone will harass them. Our people assured them and they hoisted it again,” Shaheen said.
On being asked if the insurgents have deep linkages with Pakistan-based terror groups, the Taliban spokesperson said, “These are baseless allegations. They’re not based on ground realities but on basis of their certain policies towards us, on the basis of politically motivated goals.”