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Want to continue trade and political ties with India: Taliban leader Stanekzai Afghanistan | Taliban
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Want to continue trade and political ties with India: Taliban leader Stanekzai

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 29 Aug 2021, 07:46 pm

Kabul/IBNS: Taliban leader Sher Mohammed Abbas Stanekzai has said the group wants to continue Afghanistan’s political, economic and cultural ties with India.

This is the first time that a top leader of the Taliban has spoken openly about maintaining ties with India.

In a video posted on the Taliban's social media handles, Stanekzai spoke at length in Pashto on the end of the war in Afghanistan and the fighter group's plans for forming an Islamic administration based on Shariah, according to a Hindustan Times report.

He spoke about maintaining relations with key countries in the region, including India, Pakistan, China and Russia.

“India is very important for this subcontinent. We want to continue our cultural, economic and trade ties with India like in the past,” Stanekzai said, the Hindustan Times report added.

He, however, did not mention if the trade would be two way as Pakistan allows goods from Afghanistan via its soil but never once allowed Indian goods to pass through its territory to Afghanistan.

He thanked Pakistan for hosting millions of Afghan refugees and said Afghanistan wants to have brotherly relations with Pakistan, stated the HT report.

“Trade with India through Pakistan is very important for us. With India, trade through air corridors will also remain open,” he said, underlining the Taliban’s intentions to trade in the region.

“We give due importance to our political, economic and trade ties with India and we want these ties to continue. We are looking forward to working with India in this regard,” Stanekzai added.

He also spoke about the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and said the Taliban would work to resolve the problems halting the venture once a government is formed.

After the Taliban took over Afghanistan, Stanekzai had informally reached out to the Indian side and made a surprise request to retain its diplomatic presence in Kabul.

However, India said it cannot take the request couldn't be taken at face value and and went ahead with plans to pull out all Indian officials, including the ambassador and the security personnel.