Afghanistan rejects Taliban's allegations, says India’s role is significant for Afghan peace process

Taliban accused India of keeping ties with those who are corrupt.

Afghanistan rejects Taliban's allegations, says India’s role is significant for Afghan peace process

New Delhi: Reacting to recent remarks from Taliban accusing India of playing a negative role in the country from the past 40 years, the Afghanistan government said that India is one of Afghanistan's biggest donor nations in the war-torn country's reconstruction efforts and New Delhi has been supportive of the peace process.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan (MoFA) in a statement said:

“India is one of the biggest donor countries and has helped Afghanistan in development and reconstruction areas, we appreciate their cooperation. We expect India and other neighboring countries to play a significant role in the Afghan peace process,” said Gran Hewad, spokesperson of MoFA, to Radio Azadi.

India has played an active role in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and its expanding partnership has grown into multi-sectoral activities in all parts of Afghanistan.

The most important symbol of India's assistance in the reconstruction of Afghanistan has been the construction of the multipurpose Afghan India Friendship Dam (AIFD). 

The project was inaugurated in June 2016. It has an installed capacity of 42 MW and supplies water for irrigating 75,000 hectares of land.

Chabahar Port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province in Iran, is an important infrastructure development project being currently undertaken by both India and Iran for enhancing sea-land connectivity with Afghanistan and the Central Asian Region.

India has constructed a 218-km road from Zaranj to Delaram for facilitating the movement of goods and services to the Iranian border. The highway, completed in 2010, connects Iran with the Garland Highway, which links Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif Herat, and Kunduz. 

India's contribution to economic development and assistance to Afghan people has earned tremendous goodwill in Afghanistan but the growing close relationship between the two countries is not acceptable to Pakistan. The rising specter of terrorism and violence has targeted Indian developmental projects in Afghanistan.

A number of Indian technicians along with an even larger number of their Afghan people have been killed in such terrorist attacks. 

The Indian Embassy in Kabul was itself directly attacked in 2008, which led to the death of a number of Embassy personnel and scores of Afghan nationals waiting to receive visas to travel to India. 

Afghanistan's statement came after a recent remark made by the Taliban saying India always pursued a negative policy inside Afghanistan.

In an interview with an Afghan media Azamm, Deputy Head of Taliban’s political office in Qatar Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai said, "India maintained economic, military and political ties with a “corrupt” group instead of the nation."

Taliban accused India of keeping ties with those who are corrupt and have been put in power by foreigners not elected by Afghan people. Talibani leader Abas Stanekzai stated that India should cooperate with the Afghan peace process.  

US Special Representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was in New Delhi last week, the first such visit after the US Taliban deal on February 29 held in Doha. Zalmai Khalilzad, had discussed the Afghan peace with Indian officials and sought their cooperation.

Political analysts of Afghanistan insist that the Taliban should not make a country and state-level remarks in a current fragile situation.   

Khalid Sadaat, a political analyst told Radi Azadi that if the Taliban continues to make such remarks, it will hurt Afghanistan’s diplomatic ties in the coming future. 

Sadaat claimed that the Taliban are making these assertions on Pakistan’s demand.

“Taliban should not give themselves this liberty to make a country and state-level remark, as it will have negative consequences for Afghanistan in the future. And the other thing is that India and Pakistan are having historical enmity and Pakistan is playing a proxy role in Afghanistan and Taliban are being accused of playing Pakistan’s proxy role in Afghanistan and are backed by Pakistan, I believe Taliban's assertions are on Pakistan’s demand,” said Khalid Sadaat.

This month over 40 people, including two newborn babies were killed in two terror attacks in Afghanistan on May 12.

In a series of tweets, former Director of National Directorate of Security (NDS) stated, "If state sponsors of terrorism in the region are not stopped we will see another 9/11 style attack in future. Alqaeda’s Al-Zawahiri, Abu Muhammad Al Masri & Saif ul Adel are still planning for attacks in the west with the backing of HQN which is based in PAK."
National Security Advisor of Afghanistan Hamdullah Mohib has also said that the Afghanistan government and International partners have a responsibility to hold the Taliban and their sponsors accountable.

After the attack, the National Security Advisor of Afghanistan Hamdullah Mohib tweeted, "The attacks of the last two months show us and the world that Taliban and their sponsors do not and did not intend to pursue peace. Their attacks this spring against Afghans are comparable to the level of fighting seasons. International partners have a responsibility to hold the Taliban and their sponsors accountable. The reason to pursue peace is to end this senseless violence. This is not peace, nor its beginnings."

Earlier in 2020, terrorists attacked a Gurdwara in Kabul killing more than 25 Afghan Sikhs, and the attack was claimed by the Islamic State. 

India also expressed its deep "concern at the upsurge in violence" and extended its support and said, "Need to assist the people of Afghanistan in dealing with coronavirus pandemic."

India also emphasized the need to "putting an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries" which is necessary for "enduring and sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan." 

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