‘What's the harm?': Farooq Abdullah says India must initiate talks with Taliban

© Provided by Hindustan Times National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said that India should talk to the current Afghanistan government, which is led by the Taliban. (HT File Photo)

The National Conference president and the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, on Saturday reiterated the need to initiate discourse with the Taliban in Afghanistan to protect India’s investment in the war-torn nation.

He told news agency ANI that India has spent billions on “different projects” during the previous Ashraf Ghani-led dispensation in Afghanistan. “Taliban is in power in Afghanistan now…We should talk to the current Afghan regime. When we’ve invested so much in the country, what’s the harm in keeping relations with them?” Abdullah was quoted as saying.

Accepting that terrorism is a global issue, Abdullah said that all “powerful nations have to collectively make sure that no nation is weak” in order to ensure that all countries are safe.

He also threw light on who began or has been fueling global terrorism in what appeared like an indirect dig at the US and its president Joe Biden for its recent withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan – which eventually emboldened the Taliban and paved the way for the group to take over the country once again after two decades.

“There is no doubt that terrorism is eating the whole world. But who started terrorism? Who attacked Iraq?… Who bombed Libya despite the UN’s warning? Which is the terrorist nation that destabilised the other nations,” the NC leader told ANI.

This isn’t the first time that Abdullah has been vocal regarding the Taliban’s presence in Afghanistan and pushed the central government to clarify its stand on the group. In the past, he said that the Taliban should try to build “friendly relations” with every nation and hoped that the group would deliver “good governance and follow Islamic principles” in Afghanistan.

Also Read | Farooq Abdullah didn’t ‘back’ Taliban: Party says after his Afghanistan remark gets ‘twisted’

His remarks come on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his three-day visit to the US, addressed the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In his speech, PM Modi said Afghanistan should not be used for terrorism against other countries.

“Countries with regressive thinking that are using terrorism as a political tool need to understand that [the same] is an equally big threat for them,” the prime minister said.

PM Modi also highlighted that the international community must provide aid to the women, children and minorities of Afghanistan at this time when the country is going through a crisis.

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