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Doha Meeting: Afghanistan Affirms Support For North-South Transport Corridor

© AFP 2023 STRTaliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul on November 5, 2022. (Photo by AFP)
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid speaks during a press conference in Kabul on November 5, 2022. (Photo by AFP) - Sputnik India, 1920, 01.07.2024
The third UN-led 'Doha Meeting' of Special Envoys on Afghanistan kicked off in the Qatari capital on Sunday. This is the first time that the Taliban* has been invited to attend the meeting, which also witnessed participation of Russia, the US, China, India and other western and regional governments.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the head of Taliban delegation at the third Doha Meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan, has reiterated Kabul's commitment to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), while delivering his remarks at the opening ceremony of the two-day forum.

"With our economically oriented foreign policy, we have been able to provide connectivity to the region through Afghanistan. With the construction of the transportation railway from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan in the north, Central Asia will be connected with South Asia. Our respective entities are working closely with our Uzbek and Pakistani counterparts," Mujahid told the United Nations (UN) meeting memebrs.

He stated that the ruling Afghan authorities had also made "significant progress" on the implementation of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project. Mujahid believes, this milestone ensures the country's positive participation in the exchange of energy and its links between Central and South Asia.
Further, he called upon the Western countries to take cue from regional countries in "prioritising" mutual bilateral interests while dealing with the Taliban-led government.
Mujahid highlighted that the "political understanding" between Afghanistan and its neighbours had been steadily improving in the recent past.
He noted that Kazakhstan had de-listed the Taliban from its federal list of banned outfits and expressed hope that Russia would take "similar measures" in the near future. Additionally, Mujahid noted that China had accredited Ambassador to Kabul designated by the movement.

"I do not deny that some countries may have problems with some measures of the Islamic Emirate. I think that policy differences amid states are natural, and it is the duty of experienced diplomats to find ways of interaction and understanding rather than confrontation," the Afghan spokesperson remarked.

He, however, argued that the policy differences shouldn't escalate to the point wherein "powerful countries" used their leverage to "impose security, political, and economic pressure" on Afghanistan's populace.

Afghanistan Spells Out Three Demands

Towards the conclusion of his address, Mujahid listed out three objectives to ensure Afghanistan’s "security, stability, and prosperity".

Above all, he called for removal of all restrictions and sanctions imposed by the international community on the Taliban authorities.

Further, Mujahid urged for unfreezing of the federal assets of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), which were seized by western financial institutions soon after the movement came to power in Kabul in August 2021.
Lastly, the head of the Taliban delegation appealed to the international community to assist providing "alternative livelihoods" of Afghan farmers who had recently been freed from poppy cultivation.

Taliban Thanks Russia and India for Support

Mujahid also held talks with delegations from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United Nations (UN) on the sidelines of the Doha meeting.
A statement from the Afghan authorities said that Zamir Kabulov, the Russian Presidential Envoy for Afghanistan, expressed support for the Taliban's position.
Similarly, according to it, J.P. Singh, Joint Secretary of the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran division at India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), also expressed New Delhi's assent for Kabul's stance at the meeting.

The Taliban expressed gratitude to both the governments for their assistance, the statement noted.

*under UN sanctions
A Taliban delegation attends the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg on June 6, 2024. (Photo by Olga MALTSEVA / AFP) - Sputnik India, 1920, 07.06.2024
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