Modi government holds talk with Taliban

The US Army released a nightvision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan
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The US Army released a nightvision image of Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan

Highlights

India raises safe evacuation, terrorism

New Delhi: India on Tuesday, for the first time, admitted to have held diplomatic talks with the Taliban which has taken control of Afghanistan in the past few days following the withdrawal of US forces from there.

An Indian envoy met a leader of the terrorist group in Doha, Qatar's capital. The meeting took place following a request by the new rulers of the strife-hit country.

Ambassador Deepak Mittal, India's envoy to Qatar, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, Head of Taliban's Political Office in that country, according to a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs. They met at the Indian Embassy in Doha, the statement said.

India raised its concern over the use of Afghanistan's territory by terrorists, while Stanekzai assured him that these issues would be positively addressed, according to the release.

The Taliban said Afghanistan is a "free and sovereign" nation as it hails the exit of US troops after 20 years of occupation, describing their departure as a "historic moment". Taliban fighters on Tuesday took charge of Kabul's airport as the last US soldiers flew out of the country.

Celebratory gunfire and fireworks lit up the Kabul night sky. Speaking to reporters from Kabul airport, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said, "We do not have any doubt that the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is a free and sovereign nation.

"America was defeated … and on behalf of my nation, we want to have good relations with the rest of the world," he said. He also promised Afghans "will protect our freedom, independence and Islamic values".

Earlier, Marine General Frank McKenzie, head of US Central Command, announced that the last American troops flew out of Kabul just before midnight local time (19:30 GMT).

"We did not get everybody out that we wanted to get out. But I think if we stayed another 10 days, we would not get everybody out that we wanted to get out." US President Joe Biden set a deadline of August 31 for the withdrawal of US troops.

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