Taliban Consulted ex-Pak COAS Before Asking India to Send Diplomats Back to Kabul: Book

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NEW DELHI — A new book on Afghanistan’s de facto rulers claimed that Taliban Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi had a detailed meeting with Pakistans former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa before asking India to send back its diplomats and technical staff to Kabul, the media reported.

The book, titled ‘The Return of the Taliban’ is authored by Hassan Abbas, who teaches international relations at the National Defence University (NDU), Washington, reports Dawn news.

“India’s return to Kabul could not have happened without Pakistan — and Pakistan acted this way because it just might open up prospects of some aid for the Taliban in Afghanistan,” Abbas writes, arguing that Islamabad is as desperate about getting financial support to run Afghanistan as the Taliban themselves.

The book points out that India has strategic interests in Afghanistan, although it notes that unlike Russia and China, India had cut off diplomatic ties with Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover in August 2021.

But it also that “India is now seriously reassessing its position and moving towards a balancing act in its effort to engage with the Taliban and help stabilise Afghanistan”, Dawn reported.

Discussing why the Taliban are eager to mend ties with India, the book says that “the Taliban desire is simple — international legitimacy and recognition”.

Kabul’s new rulers also need “huge external investments… to reconstruct and revive the country” and India has the resources to do so, it says.

The book also discusses former ISI chief Faiz Hamid’s visit to Kabul soon after the Taliban takeover, claiming that Foreign Office had advised him to stay at the Pakistan embassy in Kabul, “but the overconfident spy chief dismissed it”.

Later, at a meeting with Pakistani politicians, including Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, he defended his action saying that US and Chinese intelligence chiefs had also visited Kabul around then.

He was reminded that “he was the only one photographed” and “photographs and video clips of him sipping tea in the Serena Hotel, Kabul, went viral”, Dawn reported. — IANS

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