Taliban leader
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At a time when India recalls all its diplomatic personnel from Kabul fearing instability in the country following the Taliban takeover, a senior Taliban leader said they want a good relationship with India.

While describing India as an important country, Taliban leader Sher Muhammad Stanikzai in a televised speech said Afghanistan wanted a relationship with India like it was before with focus on trade and economic ties.

Stanikzai in his speech apparently meant to address the fears of the international community, seemed to bat for trade with India via Pakistan.

The Taliban leader also called for the air trade route to remain open between India and Afghanistan.

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The message from the Taliban leader indicates a desire to gain acceptance at a time most of the countries, including India, have highlighted concerns relating to terrorism.

A media report quoted official sources as saying that this time the comments on ties with India have come from a much senior leader in the Taliban hierarchy who also happens to be the deputy head of the group’s political office.

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Stanikzai was quoted as saying that Taliban attach importance to cultural and political ties with India.

The Taliban leader also extended support to the Chabahar port in Iran which has been developed with India’s assistance.

India has remained careful not to directly name Taliban in its statements at UNSC and UNHRC while expressing concerns about the possibility of Afghanistan being used by groups like LeT and JeM to target countries in the region.

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