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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Intolerance and vandalism in Afghanistan of worldwide concern: India


Taliban should fulfil the goals outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2593, says the MEA spokesperson

Reports of intolerance and vandalism raise concerns across the world and in India, said a senior official here on Thursday. Addressing the weekly press briefing of the Ministry of External Affairs, official spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the international community continues to insist that the Taliban should fulfil the goals outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2593 that expects the Taliban to form an inclusive government and foster freedom and diversity.

“I would like to begin with the UNSC Resolution 2593. This articulates and guides the collective approach of the global community towards Afghanistan. The resolution talks of ensuring that the Afghan territory is not used for terrorist acts, it talks of safe passage for Afghans and foreign nationals. The reports….of vandalism and intolerance obviously raise concerns, not just for us but across the world and it is important that the international community continues to insist on fulfilment of the goals outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2593,” Mr. Bagchi said in response to a question that asked for India’s response to reports of vandalism at a Sikh place of worship in Kabul.

A team of Taliban vigilantes entered the main gurudwara of Kabul and removed CCTV cameras on Tuesday. They had also detained the local guards of the shrine for sometime.

The reports from Kabul coincided with the news that Anas Haqqani of the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network, visited the tomb of Mahmoud of Ghazni, the ruler who had invaded India and plundered the Somnath temple multiple times in the early medieval era. Mr. Haqqani had praised the sultan for setting up an Islamic rule in the region. In response, Mr. Bagchi reiterated that the the UNSC Resolution 2593 has asked Afghanistan to be shaped as a country that respects minorities and women.

India continues to maintain ambiguity towards the Taliban and has not yet responded to the Taliban’s communication to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to restart air services to Kabul. Mr. Bagchi said there is no update yet on the request. “It’s a complicated and sensitive matter,” he said, explaining that the air service can not be dealt with separately as it is part of the “wholistic” issue of ties between India and Afghanistan. India has not been able to fly evacuation flights from Kabul since the situation in the capital city of Afghanistan became unstable in late August. A number of Sikh and Hindu citizens of Afghanistan remain in Kabul and other Afghan cities for which India and several civil society groups here remain concerned.

The issue of recognition of the Taliban is likely to come up at the Russia-led meeting on Afghanistan that is expected to be held this month. The meeting will facilitate interaction between Russia, China, Pakistan and the U.S. and other countries with a delegation of the Taliban. The event is especially significant as it’s the first such meeting with the Taliban since the fall of Kabul. Mr. Bagchi, however, said that there is so far no indication of India participating in the discussions in Moscow.

A similar meeting on Afghanistan is expected to be held before the Moscow format, on October 12 under the G20. The official spokesperson said that there no clarity on at what level India will be represented at the conference.



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