Indian officials in Kabul for talks on aid distribution

NEW DELHI — Indian foreign ministry officials visited Kabul for talks with the Taliban and international organizations involved in the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

India has no diplomatic ties with Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the country in August last year, but its diplomats have met Taliban representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where they have an office.

There was no immediate comment by the Taliban on the Indian officials’ visit.

India has dispatched 20,000 metric tons of wheat, 13 tons of medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and winter clothing to Afghanistan to meet shortages there, Arindam Bagchi, the ministry spokesman, said in the statement.

The consignments were handed over to the India Gandhi Children Hospital in Kabul and U.N. agencies including the World Health Organization and the World Food Program, the statement said, adding more medical assistance and food grains were on the way.

Before the Taliban took Kabul, India had provided Afghan security forces with training and military equipment but had no troops on the ground. It was also the region’s largest provider of development aid to Afghanistan.

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