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India’s special bond with the Afghan people will guide its approach to Kabul—India’s UN envoy

India's approach to Afghanistan has always been guided by its historical friendship with its people, said India's special envoy to the UN, TS Tirumurti (Image courtesy: Twitter/@ambtstirumurti)

India’s special bond with the people of Afghanistan will guide its approach to Kabul, India special envoy to the UN, TS Tirumurti has said.

"India's approach to Afghanistan has always been guided by its historical friendship with its people. Our special relationship with the Afghan people and the guidance spelt out in UNSC Resolution 2593 would continue to guide India's approach to Afghanistan”, Tirumurti said on Wednesday.

The veteran diplomat pointed out that India remained committed to providing 5,0000 MT of wheat and lifesaving medicines and one million doses of COVID vaccines to the Afghan people.

"We have already dispatched three shipments of humanitarian assistance consisting of medicines and COVI medicines. These were handed over to WHO and the Indira Gandhi Children Hospital in Kabul," informed Tirumurti.

With India as the chair of the Taliban sanctions committee, Tirumurti, briefing the UN Security Council meeting on Afghanistan pointed out that the travel ban exemptions of the Taliban rulers are only for attending peace talks. 

"Committee fully supports the travel ban exemption for listed Taliban to attend talks that are in the interest of promoting the prospect for peace and stability in Afghanistan. I would remind the member states, however, that the travel ban exemption is for this purpose and this purpose only,” said Tirumurti. 

Last year on December 22, the Taliban sanctions committee of the UN had extended the three-month travel ban exemption for 14 listed Taliban members including the Prime Minister Mullah Mohammad Hasan Akhund, his both deputies and the Interior Minister Sirajuddin Haqqani, which is valid till March 22 this year. The country which hosts the peace talks will be required to report to the committee within 30 days from the date of the travel. As part of the travel ban exemption, a limited asset freeze exemption was also given to finance the exempted travel.

Tirumurti raised the concerns to the latest report the sanctions' monitoring team that "noted that the ties between the Taliban, largely through the Haqqani Network, and the Al-Qaida and foreign terrorist fighters remain close and are based on ideological alignment and relationships forged through common struggle and intermarriage."

Several countries have asked the Taliban to make sure Afghanistan doesn't become a terrorist safe haven, but so far, no concrete guarantees have been received.  

"However, we need to see concrete progress in ensuring that such proscribed terrorist entities do not get any support, tacit or direct, either from Afghan soil or from the terrorist sanctuaries based in the region," said Tirumurti.

He also warned of the presence of militant group, the Islamic State in Afghanistan. Tirumurti said that India as a contiguous neighbour and long-standing partner of Afghanistan shared concerns of the international community on issues related to providing immediate humanitarian assistance; ensuring the formation of a truly inclusive and representative government; combating terrorism and drug trafficking; and, preserving the rights of women, children and the minorities.

(With Inputs from ANI)

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