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Congress leader advocated better relations with Taliban, said – had to keep good relations before

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Regarding the current situation in Afghanistan, former Foreign Minister K Natwar Singh said on Wednesday that India should have already communicated publicly with the Taliban. He further said that India should adopt a ‘watch and wait’ approach after the Taliban occupation of Afghanistan, consider establishing diplomatic relations if they act as a responsible government.

Singh, who was External Affairs Minister in UPA-I and has also served as India’s Ambassador to Pakistan, apart from holding other senior diplomatic posts. He said the Taliban was better than before. In an interview to PTI, Natwar said that India was very close to President Ashraf Ghani who fled but now the situation has changed a lot. He said that the situation is not unfavourable, even a glimmer of friendship has disappeared, so the Indian government is very careful.

Americans cited for talks

Singh said Americans tend to take a lot of blame because US President Joe Biden pulled his troops to make it easier for the Taliban to move. His remarks came after Taliban insurgents toppled the US-backed Afghan government in Kabul and President Ghani fled the country on Sunday. Asked whether India should have made ties with the Taliban earlier, Singh replied in the affirmative and cited the example of Americans in talks with the group.

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Tells intelligence agency to contact silently

Natwar Singh, who was the External Affairs Minister from May 2004 to December 2005, said that if I were the External Affairs Minister, I would have had contact with him. I would go out of my way and tell my intelligence agency to get in touch quietly. Natwar Singh left the Congress after a few years. Citing the example of Americans’ contact with Cuba, he said India should join the Taliban as we cannot leave the ground open for Pakistan and China. The former minister said that at least at the foreign secretary level, India should have had a public outcry with the Taliban.

Islamabad can set conditions for them

Singh said the Taliban, not the present but the former ruling Taliban, had openly stated that they were anti-Hindu. He said that they are still very close to Pakistan, but that does not mean that Islamabad can set conditions for them. Pakistan financed them, then the Americans armed them. It’s a very complicated situation but we are not players at the moment. Singh said India has spent $3 billion on Afghanistan in the last 10-12 years on building roads, hospitals, schools and whatever small industries they have.

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