Speaking exclusively to WION, deputy spokesperson of Taliban, Imanallah Samangani said the concerns raised by countries during the NSA meet in New Delhi were 'unfounded'

“Positively noting” the joint statement — the Delhi Declaration —issued by eight countries on Afghanistan, the Taliban on Thursday expressed displeasure over the participant countries of the NSA meet calling Afghanistan “a safe haven for terrorism.”

Speaking exclusively to WION days after India hosted the NSA security dialogue meeting to discuss the Afghanistan situation, deputy spokesperson of Taliban, Imanallah Samangani said the concerns raised by the participant countries were “unfounded.”

Seven countries had participated in the summit hosted by India. They are: Iran, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

He also completely rejected the reports that Pakistan is buying US-made weapons from the Taliban that were left behind in Afghanistan in the aftermath of troops withdrawal.

The Taliban spokesperson also expressed hope that the ‘Troika Plus’ meeting that is taking place in Islamabad currently will bring forth a “positive result” for the Taliban government.

WION: A meeting is currently ongoing in Islamabad called the ‘Troika Plus’. The Taliban government delegation is also expected to meet the Troika Plus members. What will be the demands of the Taliban government? What are Taliban expecting from this meeting?

Samangani: We are looking positively at the meeting. And we hope and expect that our neighbours take steps in a calculated and positive manner for Afghanistan. I hope they respect the current situation and conditions of Afghanistan with regard to governance. Afghanistan is an independent country. We expect that our neighbours assist us given the current conditions in Afghanistan and help us uplift the current conditions of the people.

WION: Yesterday, India hosted a meeting of the National Security Advisors of those regions neighbouring Afghanistan. Do you concur with the Delhi Declaration issued by the participant countries?

Samangani: The regional summit that took place in Delhi, we have noted it positively. Yesterday, we saw the Delhi Declaration and I would want to say that there are some legitimate demands mentioned in the declaration, but those demands have largely already been met. The declaration also raises some concerns about Afghanistan posing a security threat to its neighbours in the region. I think these concerns are unfounded. By the grace of God, there is a centralised government in Afghanistan now. We have guaranteed security to the Afghanistani people. Most importantly, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan understands its national responsibilities and international responsibilities very well, and it knows what responsibility it has and owes towards its neighbouring countries. There might be some genuine concerns raised, but it can always be resolved through dialogue, which opens room for understanding.

WION: Recently, there was a report in a Pakistani daily newspaper that the Taliban are in talks with Pakistan to sell US-made weapons. It estimates that US troops left behind or abandoned at 200,000 weapons. What is your take on this report?

Samangani: We completely reject these reports. The Islamic Emirate has its own security organ in the country, and we now have a free Afghanistan and a free government. And this free government needs to ensure Afghanistan’s security in the future. Therefore, we need military equipment and facilities. And it is by no means possible to sell Afghanistan’s existing equipment and facilities.

WION: There are reports that the Taliban are at the forefront between the Pakistani government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban. What is the status and would you want to tell the contours of this deal to the global community?

Samangani: Islamic Emirate is of the opinion that security should be provided and guaranteed in the entire region. Because the bigger problem we have in the region is the issue of security. Our region would be facing a major economic crisis until the issues regarding security are not resolved. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to solve the problems linked to political and security as soon as possible. We have the opportunity to take more serious steps for the economic prosperity of the region. So, if progress has been made in Pakistan in this direction, we welcome it and hope that other problems, too, will be solved.

WION: India was a major development partner of Afghanistan before Taliban took control of Afghanistan. What are Taliban going to do to reinstate that, and will you be welcoming India in Afghanistan?

Samangani: We understand that India is the second-largest population in the world and the fifth-largest economy in the world. It plays an important role in world politics and has been active in Afghanistan in the past. Regardless of the mistakes of the Indian government’s policies and strategies they made in the past, we don’t want to look back and instead want to look forward. Therefore, we hope that the (Indian government’s) policies and strategies will be reconsidered with the current situation in Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate also believes that there should be an inter-regional understanding in the whole region. The problems that we face in Afghanistan, India can play a major role in this case. We hope that India understands the current realities of modern-day Afghanistan and engages with us. The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan wants to have good economic, diplomatic, transit and trade relations with all neighbouring countries and there are no restrictions placed in this regard.

WION: The US Special Representative on Afghanistan Thomas West recently stated that the US has no plans to open its embassy here in Kabul. What will the Taliban be doing to convince them in these Troika talks to come back to Afghanistan and establish diplomatic relations?

Samangani: The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan attaches great importance to the political dialogue, and everyone knows that only through dialogue is how the emirate will be able to get rid of the problems plaguing Afghanistan. Let me be clear that the United States and other countries should respect and understand the realities of Afghanistan, which is in everyone’s interest, so that we can enter the phase of formal interaction as soon as possible. If the American side is ready and if it has any concerns, it can solve all the problems and issues with the Islamic Emirate only through political dialogue.