Afghanistan requires Indian investment, a representative of the Taliban told The Hindu on Sunday. Taliban’s Head of Political Office Suhail Shaheen said that a Taliban delegation met with the head of mission of the Indian Embassy in Kabul and invited its teams to help build and sustain infrastructure projects in the country.
“Afghanistan is open for Indian investment including urban infrastructure. This is the message that the Afghan Minister of Urban Development communicated in a recent meeting with the Indian Charge d’Affaires in Kabul,” said Mr. Shaheen informing that the issue investment and various projects was discussed by Taliban’s “Minister of Urban Development” Hamdullah Nomani and the Indian Charge d’Affaires Bharat Kumar. Mr. Nomani is one of the senior-most Taliban leaders and earlier served as the “Education Minister” of Taliban during 1996 to 2001.
Several Indian companies were involved in building and maintaining health and electricity infrastructure projects in Afghanistan and these team were evacuated in August 2021 when the Taliban forces took control of the country through a quick military campaign overpowering the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces of President Ashraf Ghani’s government. Indian companies had left projects incomplete in view of the deteriorating security situation after the Taliban takeover, but on Sunday, Mr Shaheen said, “They are the projects started by India during the past regime, but left incomplete. India can resume work on them or make investments in new projects.”
The relation between the Taliban administration and India has remained undefined as India has not recognised the current set up in Kabul, though an Indian Technical Team was sent back to reopen the Embassy of India some months ago.
Mr. Shaheen, however, assured of peaceful working environment for the Indian companies and said, “Security of Indians is our responsibility and we assure them.”
Over the last two decades, Indian public and private sector entities had invested around $3billion mainly in the infrastructure sector of the country. The investment was threatened after the return of the Taliban last year. The latest interaction between India and the Taliban came against the backdrop of regional consultations and has rekindled hope of greater Indian presence in Afghanistan.