We are not aware of any invitation by Taliban: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Thursday that it is not aware of any invitation sent by the Taliban for their government formation in Afghanistan.

During the weekly press briefing, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We are not aware of any invitation and also not aware of any detail or nature of what kind of government could be formed in Afghanistan.”

Reiterating that India’s primary concern is that the Afghan soil should not be used for anti-India activities, Bagchi said, “Our focus is that Afghan soil should not be used for any terrorist activities against India.”

On being asked about holding more meetings with the Taliban, Bagchi said that there is no update on any future meeting.

Asked if Taliban leaders recently meeting the India envoy in Doha was a step towards recognising the group, he said it was just a meeting, and nothing more.

Responding to a question on the evacuation of 20 Indians stranded in the war-ravaged country, Bagchi said the ministry will be able to revisit the issue once operations at the Kabul airport resume. The majority of Indians have left Afghanistan, he added.

Just a day after American troops formally left Afghanistan on the intervening night of August 30-31, the Taliban held a dialogue with India in Doha to discuss the ongoing situation in the war-torn nation.

During the meeting, the Indian Ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, had raised New Delhi’s concerns, including on terror activities.

At the request of the Taliban side, the Indian envoy met the head of the Taliban’s political office, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, in Doha and discussed issues like safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan.

The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, to India was also discussed during the meeting.