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India holds talks with senior Taliban official, first since fall of Kabul – Reuters India

Deepak Mittal, joint secretary of Indian Ministry of External Affairs, is seen at the International Court of Justice during the final hearing of the Kulbhushan Jadhav case in The Hague, the Netherlands, February 18, 2019. REUTERS/Eva PlevierNEW DELHI, Aug 31 (Reuters) – India’s ambassador to Qatar held talks with a top Taliban leader on Tuesday, the Indian foreign ministry said, the first formal engagement since the hardline Islamist group took over Afghanistan.
The envoy, Deepak Mittal, met Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Talibans Political Office in Doha at the request of the Taliban, the foreign ministry said.
India has long had concerns about the Taliban because of their close ties to arch rival Pakistan. The foreign ministry said the two sides discussed the safety of Indians left behind in Afghanistan.
Mittal also conveyed India’s fears that anti-India militants could use Afghanistan’s soil to mount attacks, the foreign ministry said.
Reporting by Sanjeev Miglani and Alasdair Pal; Editing by Andrew Heavens
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