From fighters to rulers: on Taliban

India must use its voice on the international stage to make Taliban respect freedoms, rights

The outcome holds the key not only to the future of Afghanistan but also to New Delhi’s engagement with the new regime. Any government that gives the Haqqani group key positions will make it difficult for India to have a role in either diplomacy or development projects in Afghanistan, given previous terror attacks. Any overt role for Pakistan, as well as China, will also raise red flags for New Delhi. The Modi government has announced that it is now engaging the Taliban, with the first publicly acknowledged meeting in Doha last week; the MEA says it conveyed concerns on the safety of Indians in Afghanistan and ensuring Afghan soil is not used for attacks in India. Any engagement with the Taliban beyond this is contingent on the composition of the new power structure and how much the new government in Afghanistan is amenable to international expectations of it, in terms of representation, rights, and in allowing UN agencies to monitor development. To this end, India must use its voice on the international stage forcefully. This includes blocking any move at the UNGA and UNSC to recognise the new regime, and stopping the delisting or exemptions to Taliban leaders at the 1988 sanctions committee, which India chairs, until the Taliban regime shows a willingness to comply.

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