Taliban Leader: India is important to Afghanistan, wants to maintain good relations

New Delhi: With the exit of US troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban forming the cabinet, top formation leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai has said he wants to maintain trade, economic and political good relations with India while describing it as an important country in the region.

Maintain ties with India

Addressing a conference in Pashtu, Stanekzai said consultations with various political groups and parties were continuing to form a government in Kabul that will have representations from people from “different backgrounds,” according to the PTI report.

“We attach great importance to our trade, economic and political relations with India and wish to maintain this relationship,” Stanekzai said in a nearly 46-minute video posted on the Taliban’s social media platforms on Saturday.

Stanekzai is the first senior leader of the group to make a statement on relations with other countries since they took power in Kabul on August 15.

The leader also said it was necessary to keep air trade open, according to the Pakistani media outlet Independent Urdu. This was in the context of the air corridor between India and Afghanistan which was established to stimulate trade between the two countries following Pakistan’s refusal to allow transit access.

Stanekzai also described India as an “important country” in the region. The Taliban leader stressed that Afghanistan’s trade with India via Pakistan is crucial.

What about government formation in Afghanistan?

Discussions are underway between Taliban leaders and various ethnic groups and political parties on the formation of an “inclusive government” in Kabul.

“Currently, Taliban leaders are consulting with different ethnic groups, political parties, and within the Islamic Emirate to form a government that must be accepted both inside and outside Afghanistan and recognized,” he said. Stanekzai said, quoted by Tolo News.

The leader also spoke about his relations with China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, and Russia. He then thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees and said Afghanistan wishes to have fraternal relations with Pakistan.

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