As United States (US) and NATO continue ahead with their planned withdrawal from the Afghan soil, the Taliban yesterday (19 June) said that the force believes in "peaceful coexistence" with their neighbourhood and the region, Indian Express.
Responding to questions on how the Taliban viewed India's role in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US forces, and the outfit's stand on the Kashmir issue, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said, "Pakistan is our neighbour, we have shared values and history. India is also our regional country. None can change one’s neighbours or region. We must accept this reality and have a peaceful coexistence. That is in the interest of all."
Shaheen's assertion comes at a time when Indian officials are said to have established contact with some sections in the Taliban. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)' spokesperson had also recently said that India is in touch with ‘all stakeholders’ in Afghanistan. However, Shaheen said he had no comment on these reports “because I don’t know about it”.
Responding to Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's recent assertion that the Taliban’s “relentless pursuit of power through violence”, “targeted assassinations” and “territorial aggression” had made the situation in Afghanistan “fluid” and “uncertain”, Shaheen said, "That India says Taliban are triggering violence is an effort to distort the ground realities. This undermines their credibility in the Afghan issue."
It should be noted that over the last two decades, India has extended development assistance of around $3 billion to Afghanistan which has given the country a good footprint on Afghan soil.
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