India’s ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal on Tuesday met a senior Taliban leader in Doha, the Indian foreign ministry said in the first-ever officially acknowledged meetings between the two sides.
“Today, Ambassador of India to Qatar, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the Head of Taliban’s Political Office in Doha. The meeting took place at the Embassy of India, Doha, on the request of the Taliban side, the statement said.
“Discussions focused on safety, security and early return of Indian nationals stranded in Afghanistan. The travel of Afghan nationals, especially minorities, who wish to visit to India also came up," the statement said.
“Ambassador Mittal raised India’s concern that Afghanistan’s soil should not be used for anti-Indian activities and terrorism in any manner," it added.
Meanwhile, hours after the final foreign forces flew out of Afghanistan, Taliban leaders walked victorious through the airport, flanked by guards dressed in special forces combat kit inspecting destroyed US helicopters. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid led a group of officials onto the runway, his usual stoic expression replaced by broad grin.
The last US plane carrying its forces flew out of Afghanistan on Monday around midnight, a day ahead of schedule, ending a 20-year war that left nearly 2,500 American troops dead.