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Power shift in Afghanistan not inclusive, happened without negotiations: PM Modi in SCO address

·3 min read

The change of guard in Afghanistan has "not been inclusive" and happened "without negotiations", Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday, and asked the global community to deliberate before recognising the new regime in Kabul.

In a video address at the nine-member Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)'s 21st Summit, he cautioned the global community against possible terror threats, expressed concerns over drugs and weapons smuggling and human trafficking, warned against a worsening humanitarian crisis in the country taken over by the Taliban, and also reiterated India's commitment towards the development of Afghanistan.

"If uncertainty and fundamentalism prevaill, extremist ideologies and terrorism will receive a boost across the world," Modi said in Hindi. "Some extremist groups may be encouraged to usurp power by violent means."

The Taliban have returned to power in Afghanistan in a lightning offensive, even as the US decided to end its 20-year invasion of the land-locked country. After a messy evacuation process, the US formally withdrew from Afghanistan in August-end, leaving the same Taliban in power 20 years after ousting them within the first few months of the so-called "War on Terror" that began in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

While the Taliban, infamous during their first stint for brutal implementation of the Sharia law and denying women their rights, have tried projecting a moderate face after taking over Kabul, the international community and rights groups are apprehensive of what would transpire on the ground.

Several reports of atrocities by the hardline Sunni Pashtun group have started trickling in, especially from outside Kabul. And the government announced by the Taliban lack diversity, even as it features leaders of the movement sanctioned by the West.

"The representation of women and minorities (in the government) is important," Modi said. "It is imperative that the international community take a call on recognising the new system (in Kabul) after deliberations," he added.

Modi said the developments in Afghanistan could also encourage drugs and weapons smuggling and human trafficking. "A large number of advanced weapons (by the US) have been left behind. This could cause unrest in the entire region," he said.

Choked cash flows due to the shift in Afghanistan's realities and the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen the humanitarian crisis there, Modi said.

To conclude, he stressed that India has been a "trusted partner" of the neighbouring country when it comes to development and humanitarian aid. "From infrastructure to education, from health to capacity building -- India has contributed in all areas," Modi said.

Even today, India is willing to supply food and medicine to its "Afghan friends", the Prime Minister said. "We have to together ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Afghanistan."

SCO is an eight-member economic and security bloc and has emerged as one of the largest transregional international organisations. India and Pakistan became its permanent members in 2017.

SCO was founded at a summit in Shanghai in 2001 by the presidents of Russia, China, the Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

The grouping held its 21st summit in Tajikistan capital Dushanbe, where Iran became the ninth member of the bloc.

Also See: SCO summit in Dushanbe: S Jaishankar meets his counterparts from Iran, Armenia and Uzbekistan

Narendra Modi to virtually lead Indian delegation at SCO summit on 17 September

SCO should develop a template to fight radicalisation and extremism, says PM at Dushanbe summit

Read more on India by Firstpost.

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