Taliban promise to keep embassies safe

Hours after India announced vaccine and wheat delivery for Afghanistan, the Taliban reiterated that they will provide protection to diplomats from countries that wish to re-open closed embassies in Kabul. The assurance, however, will be tested against the current ground situation in Kabul and in other major cities of Afghanistan that India is tracking closely. “We are committed to provide security for all embassies and their diplomats to function normally if they return to Kabul,” said Suhail Shaheen, Taliban’s “Permanent Representative Designate” to the United Nations. The Taliban have given several assurances over the past few months to the international community about safety of diplomats and workers in international organisations, but the security situation in Kabul has not improved so far. India has not yet sent a diplomatic team back to Kabul for a frst-hand report even though its humanitarian reach has expanded over the war-torn country. The pledge of delivery of wheat with the support of transit facility from Pakistan, however, indicated that Delhi is increasingly tilting towards engaging the Taliban indirectly through international organisations like the World Food Programme. It is understood that further engagement with the Taliban by placing ofcial diplomats in the Indian Embassy — which was closed in August 2021 — will be attempted after due scrutiny.

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