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Taliban poses no threat to Russia, India or other neighbors – diplomat 

Russia’s special envoy to Kabul has said New Delhi and Moscow share similar approaches to the Afghan crisis 

Russia and India have similar approaches and views on resolving the Afghan crisis, according to Zamir Kabulov, Director of the Second Department of Asia of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Kabulov was in New Delhi to take part in bilateral consultations on Afghanistan, which covered various aspects of the political, humanitarian and socio-economic challenges facing the country.

According to the senior diplomat, it became clear at the consultations in New Delhi that the positions of Russia and India on Afghanistan are “much closer than previously thought,” and that the approaches offered by the two countries to settle the crisis are “practically identical.”

“I cannot say that the Taliban have become our [Russia’s] number one friends, but they are definitely not our enemies. The Taliban openly state that they trust Russia as the successor to the USSR,” said Kabulov. 

Although Moscow has not formally recognized the Taliban, which took power in Kabul in 2021 during the final stage of the withdrawal of US troops, Russia was among the first nations to establish contacts and agree to business deals with the new government. New Delhi also doesn’t recognize the Taliban government. However, in June 2022, it re-established its diplomatic presence in Kabul by deploying a “technical team” at its embassy.

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“The Taliban’s rise to power was an unpleasant surprise for New Delhi, although we’d had friendly warnings that this would happen. Due to several reasons related to Pakistan and China, the Indian side had a restrained attitude towards the Taliban. However, the Indian side understands that what Russia is doing [to settle the crisis] is beneficial for India and does not contradict its interests,” Kabulov told TASS. 

He recalled that India had very closely interacted with the previous Afghan government, investing heavily in it both politically and economically. Following the consultation in New Delhi, Russian and Indian officials highlighted the urgency of providing assistance in the form of international aid to mitigate the suffering of the Afghan people.

Earlier this year, an Indian delegation participated in a Regional Cooperation Initiative meeting in Kabul hosted by the Taliban. In March, senior Indian diplomat J. P. Singh held talks with the Taliban’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi. The two sides discussed security, trade and ways to counter the drug trade, according to an Afghan statement. 


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Singh also noted India’s interest in expanding economic cooperation with Afghanistan, and enhancing trade through Chabahar Port in Iran (https://ift.tt/OTyr57z), the statement added. New Delhi signed a 10-year agreement with Iran to manage the strategic port earlier this week.  

“India’s commitment to Chabahar Port is to realize its potential as a connectivity hub for Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries,” Randhir Jaiswal, the spokesman of New Delhi’s foreign ministry said on Friday. He underscored that the project is crucial in continuing to provide humanitarian supplies to Afghanistan.

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