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MEA Officials Reach Kabul To Hold Talks With Taliban Over Humanitarian Aid

This is the first such meeting since the United States withdrew last year.

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India
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A team of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) officials reached Afghanistan's capital Kabul on Thursday, 2 June, to hold a meeting with senior members of the ruling Taliban, according to the ministry. This is the first such meeting since the United States withdrew from the war-torn area last year.

The Indian delegation discussed humanitarian aid with senior Taliban officials and also visited areas targeted by Indian-backed projects, reported news agency ANI.

The officials also visited the Chimtala Electricity Substation, built by Powergrid Corporation of India at Chimtala, near Kabul.

It said:

“The Indian team will meet the senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India’s humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.”
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'Focused on Security of Our Officials': MEA 

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement on Thursday that the Indian team, led by Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-India), JP Singh, would meet representatives of international organisations involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Bagchi said, “A multi-member team headed by Jt Secy JP Singh is in Kabul. The team will meet senior members of Taliban. They'll also meet representatives of international orgs who are involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. We're focused on the security of our officials.”

The officials also visited the Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health in Kabul on Thursday.

So far, India has donated about 20,000 tonnes of wheat, 13 tonnes of medicines, 5,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and winter clothing, with medicine and food grain on the way, said the MEA.

Last August, India pulled its officials out of Afghanistan and shut down its embassy, although New Delhi is keen to retain ties with the country where neighbouring Pakistan wields considerable influence, as per Reuters.

The ministry added that there was no information on when the embassy would reopen.

However, Bagchi said that local staff was present in Kabul to maintain the embassy premises. “Local staff continues to be there for maintenance and upkeep of the Embassy premises. In August 2021, we had pulled out India-based officials due to the deteriorating situation,” he said.

(With inputs from ANI, Reuters.)

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Topics:  Kabul   Afghan Taliban   Arindam Bagchi 

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