Afghanistan says may seek India’s military assistance if Taliban talks fail

New Delhi, July 15 (KMS): Afghan Ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay, has said that the government of Afghanistan may, at some future point, seek India’s military assistance if talks with the Taliban fail amid a withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

According to Kashmir Media Service, he, however, said that the aid sought would not involve sending troops but could be in areas like training and technical support.

Representatives of the Taliban and the Afghanistan government have been holding talks amid the Taliban’s increasing control over the country even as the US looks to wind up its almost two-decade war there by the end of August. However, the peace talks supposedly taking place in Doha have largely fizzled out, and the Taliban now appear set on a complete military victory.

“Should we not get to a stage in the peace process with the Taliban, then maybe a time (will come) where we would be seeking India’s military assistance, more military assistance in the years ahead,” Farid Mamundzay said in an interview in New Delhi.

“We are not seeking India’s assistance with sending troops to Afghanistan. Their footprint in Afghanistan to fight our war would not be needed at this stage,” he said.

He explained how, for instance, how the Air Force is an area where his country would require assistance in and that more opportunities could be explored on this front. The envoy cited pilot training, for which Afghanistan would want India’s involvement.

The current situation in Afghanistan is “very dire” and “very problematic”, with the government forces actively fighting the Taliban in around 150 of the 376 districts, the Ambassador said.

“So one-third of the country is in active fight… Over two lakh people have been displaced internally in the country since April 2021 alone, with close to 4,000 killed,” he said.

The Taliban have swept through much of northern Afghanistan in recent weeks and the government now holds little more than a constellation of provincial capitals that must largely be reinforced and resupplied by air, AFP reported.

The Taliban have, however, said they do not want to battle government forces inside cities.

On Sunday, India evacuated diplomats and security personnel from its Kandahar consulate in the wake of intense fighting.

It is worth mentioning here that two Indian planes landed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar on Saturday to airlift its team of a diplomatic mission serving there apparently, only to emerge later that it dropped ammunition in the guise of it to be used against Afghan Taliban. The entire episode exposed the double game of the Indian authorities, who on the one hand are trying to engage the Taliban team in Doha in talks, while on the other, providing the Afghan forces with ammunition to be used against them in the guise of airlifting its diplomatic mission in Kandahar.

Two C-130 planes of India landed in Afghanistan on 10 and 11 July to airlift their team of diplomats in Kandahar. The planes on July 10 dropped 40 tonnes of ammunition of 122-mm cannon and delivered the same consignment the next day, local media reported. Earlier in the day, a report emerged that India has evacuated around 50 diplomats and other staff members of the Kandahar consulate in Afghanistan in view of the intense fighting near Kandahar city. The personnel at the consulate were flown to Delhi by an Air Force plane. India confirmed on Sunday it had brought back officials from its consulate in Kandahar.

Taliban officials said on Friday the insurgent group had taken control of 85% of Afghanistan’s territory, as the United States and others withdraw the bulk of their troops after 20 years of fighting. Afghan government officials dismissed the assertion as a propaganda campaign. KMS