New Delhi: Afghan envoy Farid Mamundzay, without taking any names, said “without the support of the countries in the region”, the Taliban’s “existence may have not been possible”. Pakistan’s support for the Taliban has been well known, and the envoy’s comments come even as the group is making rapid territorial gains.
Speaking to WION correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Farid Mamundzay called India “very critical” to his country even as he highlighted that the Indian mission’s “services remain uninterrupted and remain as open and as active” in the country. India has taken out its diplomats from the southern city of Kandahar as violence escalated due to the Taliban’s action.
WION: How do you assess the security situation in your country?
Farid Mamundzay: Well first, there is an intense fight going on in several provinces, in as many as 150 districts. The attacks came as a surprise when the Taliban had attacked several of our districts at a time when we were busy with the withdrawal of the international forces. Sadly we lost a number of districts. The past few days have been good in terms of recapturing, retaking some of those districts back. We have been able to recapture 10 plus districts in the past 3-4 days. There have been gains on their part as well, there have been gains or regains our part. We were not as prepared as we should have been, we were thinking the Taliban will give peace a chance. They would believe in a process that will put an end to the violence. Sadly and contrary to what our beliefs were, they chose the path of the violence and continued to inflict harm and continue with the bloodshed of the innocents.
WION: How far external forces, particularly one of your neighbors are responsible for the current situation?
Farid Mamundzay: If you look at the number of Taliban supporters in terms of terrorist entities, terrorist groups that help them, you will be amazed to see 20 plus terrorist groups supporting the Taliban and of course without the support of the countries in the region their existence may have not been possible. They would have not been in a position today if there was no support infrastructure. So yes, support infrastructure has been there to which we raise concern time and time for the past 20 plus years.
WION: India has taken back its diplomats from Kandahar?
Farid Mamundzay: Well, we were concerned about the safety and security of diplomats across our country and we respect the decision of the Indian government to temporarily suspend services in Kandahar and Herat. We support their decision, security of the diplomatic mission, and of important countries. India is very critical to us. We want those missions across the country, people want it but given the security realities in the country we think it is in everyone’s interest to suspend the services for the time being. As things normalize in the future, we will see the reopening of the consulates. What is important is the services provided by the Indian mission in Afghanistan. Those services remain uninterrupted and remain as open and as active, they should have been. Patients seek medical treatment in India, they still come on a regular basis, our Hindu and Sikh Afghan community. So the services remain uninterrupted. Yes, they may have not been serving a particular province, or particular region but the presence of Indian diplomatic consular and economic service and assistance is there that is what the government and people of Afghanistan want.
WION: What next for Afghanistan? How do you see the situation panning out?
Farid Mamundzay: We would be seeing sadly more difficult days as things stand today, we don’t see any reduction or cessation of violence on part of the Taliban, they have chosen a path that will continue to bleed our people. The next 2 months are very difficult months as the international forces would complete their full withdrawal. Ideally, we would want peace to be given a chance but that seems to be a distant reality at this stage.