Highlights

Taliban leader says India is an important country for Afghanistan

'Taliban attach importance to cultural and political ties with India'

Stanikzai is the first senior Taliban leader to reach out to India

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'India is important': Taliban bat for trade and ties

Describing India as an important country, senior Taliban leader Sher Muhammad Stanikzai said Afghanistan wanted a relationship with India like it was before with focus on trade and economic ties.

Describing India as an important country, senior Taliban leader Sher Muhammad Stanikzai said Afghanistan wanted a relationship with India like it was before with focus on trade and economic ties.

In a televised speech meant to address the fears of the international community, Stanikzai seemed to bat for trade with India via Pakistan while also calling for the air trade route to remain open.

Stanikzai was also quoted as saying that Taliban attach importance to cultural and political ties with India. He also extended support to the Chabahar port in Iran which has been developed with India’s assistance.

Earlier, Hindustan Times had reported that Stanikzai had informally reached out to the Indian side after the Taliban took over Afghanistan and made a surprise request for New Delhi to retain its diplomatic presence in Kabul.

Taliban spokespersons Suhail Shaheen and Zabiullah Mujahid had also previously spoken about the group’s views on relations with India. However, Stanikzai is the first senior leader to make a statement on relations with other countries.

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