‘Politically-Motivated Ambitions’: Taliban Accuses India of Trying to 'Spoil' Intra-Afghan Talks
© AP Photo / Tariq AchakzaiSupporters of the Taliban carry the Taliban's signature white flags in the Afghan-Pakistan border town of Chaman, Pakistan, Wednesday, July 14, 2021
© AP Photo / Tariq Achakzai
India, viewed as a strong supporter of President Ashraf Ghani’s government, has backed the idea of “constitutional continuity” in the insurgency-ravaged nation in case of any power-sharing arrangement involving the Taliban*. Indian officials reckon that replacing the current governance system with a new one will “impact” Afghan society.
The Taliban has called on the Indian government to refrain from commenting on intra-Afghan talks, as it reacted to regular comments by Delhi on the need for an "independent, sovereign, democratic and stable Afghanistan".
"No one from outside should spoil the process by intervening in it and making their own suggestions based on their politically-motivated ambitions," the Taliban's spokesperson Suhail Shaheen told Sputnik.
“It is a clear intervention that a certain country tells the Afghan people what kind of government they should have in future,” remarked Shaheen, who is also one of the negotiators in the intra-Afghan talks.
“Negotiations between the two teams (the Afghan government and the Taliban) are underway in Doha. Let them negotiate all items of agenda now on the table. By the way, the intra-Afghan talks are an internal issue among Afghans,” he further reckoned.
During a joint press statement with US State Secretary Antony Blinken in Delhi on 28 July, Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmaniam Jaishankar warned against any “unilateral imposition of will” by any internal or external stakeholder in the ongoing intra-Afghan talks.
“The world wishes to see an independent, sovereign, democratic and stable Afghanistan at peace with itself and with its neighbours but its independence and sovereignty will only be ensured if it is free from malign influences,” stated Jaishankar, as he pointed out that the security situation in Afghanistan had featured in discussions between himself and the visiting US Secretary of State.
Jaishankar cautioned that the “unilateral imposition of will by any party will obviously not be democratic and can never lead to stability nor indeed can such efforts ever acquire legitimacy”.
“The gains to Afghan civil society especially on the rights of women, minorities and on social freedoms over the last two decades are self-evident; we must collectively work to preserve them. Afghanistan must neither be home to terrorism nor a source of refugees,” stated the Indian foreign minister.
A day later, the Indian foreign ministry reiterated Jaishankar’s statements when asked for a comment on the discussions between the Taliban and the Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi in Tianjin last week. As per a statement by the Chinese foreign ministry, Wang recognised the Taliban as an "important military and political force" in Afghanistan.
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNSTU.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken exits his vehicle prior to departing Washington on travel to New Delhi, India and Kuwait City, Kuwait at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., July 26, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken exits his vehicle prior to departing Washington on travel to New Delhi, India and Kuwait City, Kuwait at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., July 26, 2021.
© REUTERS / JONATHAN ERNST
“As you know, we are closely monitoring developments in Afghanistan. You would have heard EAM (Foreign Minister Jaishankar) speak at length on our perspective about the situation in Afghanistan during his press conference yesterday,” remarked foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.
India Must ‘Re-Consider’ If It Is Working For Peace or War in Afghanistan, Says Taliban
Shaheen said that Delhi’s “support” for the Taliban was tantamount to taking sides in the ongoing conflict.
"They have to re-consider whether they are working for peace or war in Afghanistan," he further said, alleging that Delhi was also providing military support to President Ashraf Ghani's government.
“Media reports say India is providing weapons to the Kabul regime which everyone knows was imposed on the Afghan people by a foreign occupation. The weapons the regime are receiving is used against the people of Afghanistan,” remarked Shaheen.
“This is hostility with the Afghan people and (is tantamount to inciting war in the country),” added the Taliban spokesperson.
While India and Afghanistan entered a “strategic partnership agreement” in 2011, Delhi has been wary of supplying arms and ammunition to Afghanistan. Delhi’s defence cooperation with Kabul so far has been largely limited to training Afghan troops. Back in 2016, India also supplied four Russia-made attack helicopters to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan denies that it is receiving any other form of military support from India.
By July, the Taliban was in control of 212 of the 426 districts in Afghanistan, with the Afghan government in charge in 111 districts. The rest of the districts remain contested, as fighting continues between the insurgents and the government forces.
*The Taliban is a terrorist group banned in Russia.