NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval at his residence this evening to discuss the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan, with Taliban claims of total control over the country and the presence of the chief of Pakistan intelligence agency ISI in Kabul. Foreign minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman were also present at the meeting.
The meeting comes after Taliban claims of total control over Afghanistan with a key battle at Panjshir Valley, where the Afghan National Resistance Front had their base.
Last week, India’s envoy to Qatar Deepak Mittal held talks with a top Taliban leader in Doha. The foreign ministry said New Delhi’s immediate focus is to ensure that Afghan soil is not used for terror activities against India and the evacuations and the discussions were on those lines.
More than three weeks after Taliban seized control of Kabul, there is still no clarity on the formation of a government. India, officials said, is closely watching the top resistance leadership, who are in Tajakistan. Today’s discussion is also expected to focus on engagement with the Taliban.
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Earlier today, the Taliban claimed it has total control over Afghanistan after a key battle at Panjshir Valley. The claim has been contested by the Afghan National Resistance Front, led by former vice president Amrullah Saleh and Ahmad Massoud, the son of former Afghan guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud — which had their base there.
The ISI chief, meanwhile, was in Kabul to sort out differences between the Taliban factions and the Haqqani network, which has been holding up government formation, sources said.
“The road in the Panjshir Valley is with the Taliban. However, fighting continues in the sub-valleys,” ANR told NDTV.
“Taliban wants inclusive government but it has been three weeks now… it simply reflects the difficulties arising within their various factions,” said a senior government official.
PM Modi has formed a high-level group to focus on the immediate priorities of India in view of the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Sources said the group comprises foreign minister S Jaishankar, Mr Doval and other senior officials.
The group has been monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan and the international reactions to it.
Evacuations from the war-torn nation, where thousands were desperate to skip Taliban rule, came to an end on August 31.
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