India and the US on Monday held discussions over the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and appreciated the mutual cooperation in the recent evacuation operations from Kabul.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin made a telephone call to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the evening.

“Both the leaders discussed bilateral and regional matters, including developments in Afghanistan. They discussed defence cooperation and looked forward to working closely,” the Defence Ministry said.

Rajnath Singh and Austin also exchanged views about combating terrorism in the region.

“Both sides appreciated the mutual cooperation in the recent evacuation operations in Afghanistan and agreed to remain in regular contact in view of the evolving situation,” it said.

India has expressed concerns over Afghanistan being used for terror activities, but its immediate focus is also on the evacuation of Indian nationals from Afghanistan.

Taliban seized Afghanistan on August 15 without having formal deliberations with the democratic-elected government under Ashraf Ghani.

Further, in its interim government formation, the Taliban did not include the members of minorities, other ethnic groups, and women in its Council of Ministers.

Most of the ministers in the Taliban’s interim government are on the United Nations or the US terror lists.

There has been mixed reaction from global community to on giving recognition to the Taliban, who, while taking over the country, pledged a softer version of their brutal and repressive regime of the 1990s, but are tightening their control of women.

–IANS

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