India holds talks with senior Taliban leader in Doha, first since takeover

India’s Ambassador to Qatar, Deepak Mittal on Tuesday, held talks with the Head of Taliban’s political office in Doha Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekza, the Indian foreign ministry said.

This was the first formal meeting since the hardline Islamist militants took over Afganistan. The engagement took place at the Indian Embassy in Doha and was held on the request of the Taliban, according to the ministry of Home affairs.

India has concerns about the Taliban because of their close ties with the arch rival Pakistan. Meanwhile, Mittal also raised India’s fears that anti-India militants could use Afghanistan’s soil to mount attacks.

In its press release, the Ministry said, “Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner.”

The discussions further concentrated on safety, security, and return of Indians stranded in Afghanistan. The travel arrangements for Afghans, especially the minorities, who wish to visit to India is also said to have come up.

According the Ministry, the Taliban representative has assured that “these issues would be positively addressed”.

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