Taliban Searched Closed Indian Consulate In Kandahar: Government Sources

Afghanistan crisis: Taliban returned to power earlier this week after 20 years.

New Delhi:

The Taliban visited closed Indian consulates in Afghanistan on Wednesday, searched for documents and took away parked cars, government sources said today, expressing worry that it meant the group is acting against the assurances its leaders have been giving to the world.

Members of the Taliban visited the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Herat on Wednesday, according to the sources. They “searched closets” in Kandahar for papers and took away vehicles parked at both the consulates.

“We expected this. They ransacked the place searched documents and also took away our parked vehicles from both embassies,” a senior officer told Newsexpresspost.

After its breakneck takeover of Afghan capital Kabul, the Taliban has been carrying out door-to-door searches in Kabul to identify Afghans who worked for National Directorate of Security, the state-run intelligence agency.

India operated four consulates in the country, besides the embassy in Kabul. Apart from Kandahar and Herat, India also had a consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif, which was shut down days before the Taliban took control. The embassy in Kabul is not officially shut; it is operating with local help.

An intelligence document for the UN has revealed that the Taliban are going house-to-house searching for people who worked with the US and NATO forces, according to news agency AFP.

The “targeted searches” have raised fears that the group, which has launched a PR blitz and has claimed complete amnesty for rivals, does not intend to stick to its word.

New Delhi is also concerned about the support the group is getting from various terror organisations.

Government’s intelligence sources reveal the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has released a statement on the Taliban victory, “praising and congratulating the group on its emancipation in Afghanistan”. Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham in Syria also released an official statement in support of the Taliban. “It is a sign that the Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham views Taliban as an inspiration. They hope to banish Bashar and implement its own Islamic Emirate in Syria,” the government assesses.

“The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) based in western China has also issued a statement congratulating the Taliban. Events are unfolding at a very high pace – we are keeping a watch,” a senior government source said.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar also spoke at the UNSC about “state hospitality” to terror groups.

India carried out a difficult evacuation of embassy staff this week in two Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft. India’s ambassador to Afghanistan was also brought back as diplomats and civilians scrambled to get out of the country after the Taliban’s takeover. Some Indian nationals are still in Kabul, waiting to be flown out.

 

Separately, sources have told Newsexpresspost that the Taliban did not want India to evacuate diplomats from its Kabul embassy. The government had received messages from the group’s Qatar office assuring them of the safety of Indian staff and security personnel, the source said.

The messages – sent from the office of Abbas Stanikzai, the chief of the Taliban’s political unit – were routed via contacts in Kabul and Delhi.

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