India hosts NSA-level summit on Afghanistan; 7 nations in attendance
- The upcoming meeting is being seen as part of Indian efforts to remain relevant in addressing the fallout of the developments in Afghanistan.
India on Wednesday hosted a regional summit to discuss the ongoing situation in neighbouring Afghanistan following the fall of the democratically-elected government and the subsequent Taliban takeover of the country. The conference is being chaired by India's National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and his counterparts from Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkemenistan and Tajikistan are at the attendance.
The summit is being attended by Iran's secretary of Supreme National Security Council Admiral Ali Shamkhani; Kazakhstan's Karim Massimov, chairman of national security committee; Marat Mukanovich Imankulov, secretary of the security council of Kyrgyz Republic; Nikolai P Patrushev, secretary of the security of the Russian federation; Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda, secretary of security council of Tajikistan; and Charymyrat Kakalyyevvich Amavov, deputy chairman of cabinety of ministers of Turkemenistan. Uzbekistan's Victor Makhmudov, secretary of the security council is also there.
India had formally invited the NSAs of Russia, Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan for the meeting. However, China and Pakistan had already said that they will not be attending the conference. No delegation from Afghanistan was invited.
This is the first time that all Central Asian countries – and not just Afghanistan’s immediate land neighbours, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – are participating in discussions in this format along with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyz Republic, according to people aware of the developments.
The meeting is being seen as part of Indian efforts to remain relevant in addressing the fallout of the developments in Afghanistan.
This is the third such meeting that is being held on the Afghan situation. The previous two regional meetings in this format were held in Iran in September 2018 and December 2019.
Meanwhile, Kabul is seeing the conference as a hopeful step to "facilitate the provision of assistance to Afghanistan," as per local media reports.
Taliban took over Afghanistan in August in a military offensive in the aftermath of troop withdrawal by the United States and its other Nato allies. The chaotic exit led to a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
No country has formally recognised the Taliban government in Afghanistan and the country is on the verge of economic collapse as international aid has stopped. Afghanistan is also facing a threat from the Islamic State, which has ramped up attacks over the last few months.
Since the Taliban takeover, the Indian government has cautioned the global community not to rush into any formal recognition of the setup created in Kabul. It has also urged the world leaders to ensure that the Taliban deliver on their commitments that Afghan soil will not be used by terror groups, especially Pakistan-based organisations such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.