There is no ambiguity in Afghan Defense Minister Mullah Yaqoob’s openness to India as the two countries seek to restore warm relations amid a thicket of challenges. The son of Taliban founder and late Supreme Leader Mullah Mohammad Omar also readily acknowledged the help his country has received from New Delhi in the past during an exclusive global interview with CNN-News18.
“We have high expectations because India has provided a lot of aid to Afghanistan in the past. When our government was formed, India also provided humanitarian aid and helped us, which is exemplary. We appreciate and express our gratitude for India’s support and hope that India will continue its assistance to the Afghan people,” he said.
India had to keep a diplomatic distance due to the delicate political and security situation in Afghanistan. The minister, however, assured that the Taliban government would back up India’s efforts to revive relations.
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“We are asking them to come and open their embassy and send an ambassador here and agree to have our ambassador in India so that diplomatic relations can start which will also lay the foundation for defense and other relations” , did he declare. “We assure that India like other countries can come here and open their embassies for which the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan can and will protect them and provide them with security.”
Mullah Yaqoob also argued that Taliban-ruled Afghanistan wants to have defense ties with India.
“But before the start of defense relations, the first condition is to have good diplomatic relations and to take them forward. When we have cordial political and diplomatic relations together, only then will we be ready for defense relations,” he said.
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