India warns Russia, Iran against engaging with Taliban politically

India on Thursday warned Russia and Iran against engaging with Taliban politically, as the two countries appear to be trying to change the ground situation in Afghanistan by engaging with the militant group.

India warns Russia, Iran against engaging with Taliban politically

India on Thursday warned Russia and Iran against engaging with Taliban politically, as the two countries appear to be trying to change the ground situation in Afghanistan by engaging with the militant group.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson has said, “In so far as the Taliban is concerned, they have to respect the internationally agreed red lines, give up terrorism and violence, sever all ties with al-Qaida, agree to follow democratic norms and not do anything which will erode the gains of the last 15 years.”


The recent response from the MEA spokesperson has come after Russian envoy Alexander Mantytskiy’s open admission that Russia was maintaining “limited political” contacts with the Taliban.

Mantytskiy was quoted as saying, "Zamir Kabulov (a high-ranking official in Russia's foreign ministry) said our interests are the same as Taliban in fighting Daesh (ISIS).” Russia now says it regards Taliban as a "national military-political movement", but IS as a global jihadist movement that could destabilise Russia's 'near abroad' - central Asia.

Commenting on Mantytskiy’s statement MEA spokesperson Vikas Swaroop said that ties between India and Russia are a "special and privileged partnership" which was reinforced by the recent visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Goa in October.

“We do not see any downward trend in our bilateral relationship,” he said. But it is clear that India has been disturbed by recent events.

Iran has also reached out to Taliban, with the aim of keeping IS out of the Afghan region. According to an Iranian news agency, an influential Iranian cleric declared this week that Tehran has invited "moderate figures such as Taliban" to attend a conference on international Islamic Unity, saying, "Iran has always held contacts with some parties in the Taliban movement."