Engaging the Taliban

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Synopsis: India and regional powers should ensure that the Afghan rulers respect their people’s rights.


Recently India participated in a meeting with Afghanistan along with 10 other nations in Moscow. The signing of a joint statement indicates a new shift in India’s policy towards Islamist groups.

Why engagement with the Taliban is vital for India?

India earlier took a strong stand towards any kind of engagement with the Taliban. Taliban has close ties with anti-terror groups such as Let.

In the past, when it came to power, India witnessed an increase in violent incidents in Kashmir and other activities like the hijacking of an Indian plane to Kandahar.

Read more: India’s future Afghan policy – Explained, pointwise

But now with the changing scenario, India changes its stance. This is the first time that India is holding a meeting with the Taliban delegates. Taliban also makes the commitment not to let use its territory for any terror organization.

Read more: Evaluating India’s options in Afghanistan
Why is Taliban signalling a change in its policies?

Taliban economy is already on the brink to collapse. So, it is keen to engage with its regional neighbours and countries to help in reviving its economy. Moscow 10 format, which includes China, Pakistan, Iran and the Central Asian republics, has some leverage.

Read more: Regional powers and the Afghanistan question
What is the way forward?

But for this to happen, it is important for the Taliban to form an inclusive government in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the Taliban has shown no such inclination.

So while the regional countries should help Afghanistan economically, they should use their political weight to ensure that Taliban implements its promises of an inclusive government.

Source: The post is based on the article “Engaging the Taliban” published in The Hindu on 22nd October 2021.

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