India highlights role in Afghanistan outreach at Taliban-organized meeting

KABUL, Afghanistan — India underscored its commitment to international and regional cooperation by participating in a Taliban-organzied “regional” conference in Kabul on Monday. The meeting is a precursor to next month’s United Nations gathering in Doha, representing a significant step in regional diplomacy.

Rambabu Chellappa, head of India’s technical team in Kabul, represented the country at the conference.

“India actively participates in international and regional initiatives concerning Afghanistan and supports all efforts leading to the country’s stability and development,” Chellappa said.

Taliban foreign ministry spokesman Zia Ahmad Takal noted that the Indian envoy reiterated India’s active role in Afghanistan’s stability and development.

The conference, titled Afghanistan’s “Regional Cooperation Initiative,” saw participation from special envoys and diplomats from Russia, China, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Taliban’s foreign minister, chaired the session. He emphasized Afghanistan’s desire for stability and development, noting the country’s peace, security, and stability after long conflicts.

“Afghanistan, having achieved peace, does not require another UN special representative,” Muttaqi stated. He also highlighted the Taliban’s efforts in organizing security forces, neutralizing threats, banning poppy cultivation, and launching major development projects.

Muttaqi urged participants to present an accurate picture of Afghanistan’s current state at the upcoming Doha meeting, calling for engagement and cooperation based on mutual interests.

“We request all present to portray the ground realities of today’s Afghanistan in the upcoming Doha meeting, enabling constructive engagement and cooperation with a realistic, sensible, and acceptable approach for Afghanistan,” Muttaqi said.

The meeting focused on enhancing regional cooperation in economic development and addressing regional threats. Muttaqi underscored the Taliban’s respect for others’ interests and governance models, seeking similar respect for Afghanistan’s choices. The meeting concluded with a call for regional consensus and thematic agreements that serve mutual interests.

This conference marks a pivotal moment in regional diplomacy, setting the stage for the upcoming UN-convened meeting in Doha, which will further shape the international community’s approach to Afghanistan under Taliban rule.