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Global community’s overall objective about Afghanistan aligns with India’s priorities: Ambassador Kamboj

India’s envoy to the U.N. has said that the overall objective of the global community in Afghanistan aligns with New Delhi’s priorities in the war-torn nation, including the need to combat terrorism.

India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N., Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, told the U.N. Security Council meeting on Afghanistan on March 6 that New Delhi pays close attention to the situation in the country, “which has a direct impact on us”.

“Our objective is to establish long-term peace, security and stability” in Afghanistan, Ms. Kamboj said, as she told the top organ of the United Nations that India participated actively in the recent meeting of special envoys on Afghanistan held in Qatar.

“The overall objective of the vast majority of the international community aligns with India’s priorities with respect to Afghanistan,” she said.

“These include the need to counter terrorism, bring in inclusive governance, safeguard the rights and interests of women, children and minorities, counter-narcotics and the prioritisation of humanitarian assistance for the well-being of the people of the country,” she said.

On February 18 and 19, Qatar hosted the second meeting of Special Envoys on Afghanistan in Doha, which was attended by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and participants from countries including India, Canada, China, France, and Germany.

Iran, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and the U.S. also participated in the meeting.

Thanking Qatar for hosting the meeting, Ms. Kamboj said, “India participated actively in this meeting.” She noted that there were “constructive discussions” on the recommendations of the report by Special Coordinator Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioglu, including the appointment of a Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and the establishment of an international contact group for Afghanistan.

“There was a general consensus that the international community has to move forward on these issues in a consultative and transparent manner,” Ms. Kamboj said.

Among the organisations attending the meeting were the European Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Mr. Guterres, who had described the Doha meeting as “extremely productive”, had spoken to reporters about the “total consensus” about the programmatic proposals included in Sinirlioglu’s independent review that covered all the main areas of concern of both the international community and the Taliban, the de facto authorities of Afghanistan.

These included the need to ensure that Afghanistan does not become the “hotbed of terrorist activities that impact other countries,” Mr. Guterres had said.

He pointed out that among the recommendations of the review was the creation of a contact group.

On the international contact group, Ms. Kamboj said India firmly believes that the group has a “much better chance of being effective and will gain legitimacy if it comprises all key stakeholders who have direct stakes in the situation in Afghanistan.

“This would also be the general position of anyone who has any interest in ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” she said.

The Doha meeting did not have participation from the Taliban.

Mr. Guterres had told reporters that he had received a letter from the de facto authorities “with a set of conditions” to be present in the meeting “that were not acceptable”.

Ms. Kamboj described the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan as “dire” and said it is important that the international community not lose its focus on Afghanistan and its people and steps up with humanitarian assistance.

She highlighted that India’s own assistance to Afghanistan over the past two years has primarily focused on three pillars: food security, medical supplies, and education.

India has provided 50,000 tonnes of wheat, continued its scholarship schemes for Afghan students, providing online educational opportunities to 1,000 Afghan students, including 300 women in the current academic year as well as provided life-saving medicines to different hospitals in Afghanistan and assisted the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime in the fight against drugs.

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