NEW DELHI :
Newly appointed US Special Representative for Afghanistan Thomas West held talks with senior Indian officials on Tuesday on the security situation as well as on coordinating humanitarian assistance for the war torn country.
West’s visit to India is the first since his appointment last month replacing Zalmay Khalilzad who was appointed by former US president Donald Trump. The trip is part of a swing through Europe and South Asia.
West was in Pakistan last week for a meeting on Afghanistan with representatives from Pakistan, Russia and China. India is his second stop in South Asia with West expected to visit Russia next, according to a schedule put out by the US authorities.
In New Delhi, West “called on NSA (National Security Advisor) Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary (Harsh Vardhan Shringla). Discussions focused on the current developments in Afghanistan,” a person familiar with the matter said.
Topics on the table included the recently held Regional Security Dialogue of NSAs on Afghanistan in New Delhi, “the movement of people in and out of Afghanistan, coordinating global efforts on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, regional security issues, and other bilateral and international issues of mutual interest,” the person said.
New Delhi has been holding consultations with friends and allies on Afghanistan since the Pakistan backed Taliban took control of Kabul on 15 August. This came ahead of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan after an almost two decade long stay in the country.
Last week, India’s NSA Doval had hosted security officials from the five Central Asian Republics, Russia and Iran to discuss the possible spillover of radicalism and terrorism from Afghanistan to its neighbouring countries. Pakistan rejected India’s invite while China cited scheduling problems to stay away.
The meeting which resulted in the Delhi Declaration had called on the Taliban to ensure an inclusive government and that Afghan soil is not used for terrorist activities against the countries’ neighbours.
West attended the Pakistan organized meeting on Afghanistan which called for the provision of urgent humanitarian assistance for Afghans and also urged the Taliban to ensure unhindered humanitarian access including allowing women aid workers to deliver aid where it was needed. A drought, the covid-19 pandemic and the cutting off of aid to the country that was heavily dependent on foreign handouts have caused a crisis in the country.
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