Wednesday, 29 June, 2022
HomeDiplomacyIndia sends medicine to Afghanistan, Taliban says ‘thank you’, relations ‘very vital’

India sends medicine to Afghanistan, Taliban says ‘thank you’, relations ‘very vital’

For the first time since the Taliban takeover, the Indian government has sent humanitarian aid for the Afghan people, consisting of two tons of medicines.

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New Delhi: Months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, India has sent its first consignment of humanitarian aid for the Afghan people. The Taliban dispensation was quick to thank New Delhi, and said this process “will continue”.

The aid, which mostly consisted of around 2 tons of medicines, was sent Saturday from New Delhi to Kabul by a special flight operated by Kam Air. This flight had brought 10 Indian and 94 Afghan nationals from Kabul to New Delhi Friday under ‘Operation Devi Shakti’, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The MEA issued a statement saying, “In view of the challenging humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, the Government of India has dispatched humanitarian assistance consisting of medical supplies on the return flight today. These medicines will be handed over to the representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Kabul and will be administered at the Indira Gandhi Children Hospital, Kabul.”

The labels on the consignment of medicines read “Gift from the people of India to the people of Afghanistan”.

Farid Mamundzay, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, who was appointed by the previous Ashraf Ghani government, tweeted that these life-saving medicines would help many families in Afghanistan in “this difficult time”.

Also read: India, EU discussed need to engage with Taliban but no recognition yet: EU special envoy

Minorities evacuated, wheat consignment plan held up

The minority community members who arrived in India Friday also brought with them two Saroops of the Guru Granth Sahib and a number of ancient Hindu manuscripts.

“Under Operation Devi Shakti, a total of 669 people have now been evacuated from Afghanistan. This comprises 448 Indians and 206 Afghans, which includes members of the Afghan Hindu/ Sikh minority community. 565 people including 438 Indians were evacuated from Afghanistan earlier in the month of August 2021,” the MEA said.

However, a plan to send 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan remains held up even as New Delhi awaits “further progress” from Pakistan, sources told ThePrint.

After saying it would allow India to send this consignment through the Wagah border by road in November, Islamabad said earlier this month that it would let Afghan trucks carry the shipment till Torkham, a major border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

New Delhi had made the request to Pakistan in October to allow the aid to be transported by road to Afghanistan in order to save costs.

Taliban thanks India, says bilateral relations are ‘very vital’

The Taliban regime in Kabul was quick to thank India for its gesture.

Ahmadullah Wasiq, deputy spokesman for the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), said in a tweet, “India is a leading country in the region. Afghanistan-India relations are very vital.”

In another tweet, he said that in the coming days, Afghanistan expects to receive a number of items of medical equipment from India, which will be made available to hospitals around the country.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qahar Balkhi, who is the spokesperson for the interim Taliban government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), said Saturday, “Due to efforts by MoFA, 85 Afghan nationals stuck in India have reached Afghanistan by Kam Air airways. The travel process will continue. We appreciate the arrival of 2 tons of Indian assisted medicine to Indira Gandhi Children Hospital in Kabul.”

Javid Hajir, spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, was quoted by TOLO News as saying, “India donated some health products via the World Health Organization to the Afghan Ministry of Public Health. We praise it and call on other countries to provide assistance to Afghanistan.”

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Taliban seeks global help to shore up ‘sinking’ Afghan economy as inflation spirals


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