New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) A woman diplomat was part of the Indian team that visited Afghanistan to oversee the delivery of India’s humanitarian aid to that country and meet with senior members of the Taliban.
Deepti Jharwal is part of the external affairs ministry’s Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran (PAI) division, people familiar with the development said on Friday.
The inclusion of the woman diplomat in the team comes against the backdrop of repeated calls to the Taliban regime by the international community including India to protect the rights of Afghan women.
In Kabul, Jharwal also attended a meeting the Indian team had with Afghanistan’s acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.
Jharwal could be seen in various photographs of the Indian team in Kabul that appeared in social media.
The team is led by JP Singh, the external affairs ministry’s point person for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.
The team also met acting deputy foreign minister Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai.
An Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Stanekzai assured the Indian delegation that the Afghan-India relations would move forward “based on mutual respect and joint bilateral legitimate interests, and would not be influenced by other countries.” “A team led by the Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran), Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), is currently on a visit to Kabul to oversee the delivery operations of our humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Thursday.
The MEA said New Delhi’s development and humanitarian assistance have received a widespread appreciation across the entire spectrum of Afghan society and the Indian team will meet the “senior members of the Taliban, and hold discussions on India’s humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.” India has not yet recognised the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, it has been sending aid to the people of Afghanistan to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the country.
In September last year, after the Taliban takeover of Kabul, India’s envoy to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met senior Taliban leader Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai at the Indian embassy in Doha.