New Delhi: Afghanistan humanitarian crisis dominated talks between Indian National Security Advisory (NSA) Ajit Doval and his Tajik, Uzbek Counterparts in Delhi on Tuesday. The bilateral talks came a day before the Delhi regional dialogue that will take place between NSAs of 5 central Asian countries, Russia and Iran. With the onset of winter, and the Taliban govt not doing essential food stockpiling, fears of a major humanitarian crisis is looming in the country with many on the brink of starvation.
During the discussion, the Indian and Tajikistan's Secretary, Security Council, Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda, discussed the humanitarian crisis and exchanged their assessments on Taliban takeover in Afghanistan. Both "expressed concerns over the sharp increase in terrorist threats from Afghanistan in recent past", sources said.
Tajikistan has been one of the first countries to point out the lack of Tajik representation in the government announced by the Taliban. Tajiks constitute a significant minority in Afghanistan and in the past have been part of a northern alliance that gave opposition to the Taliban.
Tajikistan, which shares a land border with Afghanistan has deep linkages with the country's Tajik minorities. Earlier this year, Tajikistan honoured Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud with its highest honour--the Order of Ismaili Somoni. It also conferred the same honour to Afghanistan’s former president-in-exile Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Both sides are also keen on deepening cooperation in areas like defence, border management and border infrastructure development. In the aftermath of the Taliban takeover, Tajikistan had provided its airbase for Indian Air force planes which were deployed for evacuation. It is well known that India operates its first overseas airbase in Tajikistan's Ayni.
NSA had bilateral with Uzbekistan's Secretary of the Security Council Victor Makhmudov. Sources highlighted that both felt that, "the legitimacy of any Afghan government within Afghanistan was important before the issue of its international recognition". Taliban since its takeover in August has announced a government, but no country including allies like Pakistan and China have recognized it.
Uzbekistan also shares a land border with Afghanistan and is worried about spillover into the country, especially emboldening "hothead" when it comes to radicalization. The country has been keen on connectivity links, especially with the cites like Mazar E sharif in the North of Afghanistan.
On the issue of humanitarian access, both sides, "emphasized the need for Afghanistan’s neighbours to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan." Remember, India has been keen to send aid to Afghanistan but Pakistan has not allowed it via the Wagha border.
NSA Doval will hold talks with Russian, Iranian and Kazakh counterparts on Wednesday after the regional security dialogue. The regional security dialogue is the first such in-person talk on Afghanistan in Delhi since the Taliban takeover in August.