India-Taliban leaders face-to-face in Russia

New Delhi: Discussions between the Taliban and India were held at a Russian meeting convened in Moscow format on the Afghanistan issue. India's delegation with a Taliban delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi in Afghanistan's interim government met on Wednesday. A delegation led by JP Singh, joint secretary of the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division of the Indian Foreign Ministry, attended the meeting at Russia's invitation and spoke to Taliban leaders.

Taliban spokesman Zabeeullah Mujahid issued a statement in this regard. However, no official statement has been made by the Government of India on the meeting so far. The first formal meeting of India and the Taliban was held in Doha on August 31. However, this was the first meeting between the two since the Taliban's interim cabinet was announced. Afghanistan's Tolo News quoted Mujahid as saying that India expressed its willingness to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan at the meeting.
 
India has been providing infrastructure as well as humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan in the past. Mujahid said that during the meeting, both sides also stressed the requirements for improving diplomatic and economic relations.

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