Home >News >World >PM Modi, Afghan President Ghani discuss security situation, covid

NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani discussed the evolving security situation in Afghanistan and the wider region, besides other subjects of mutual interest in a telephone call on Monday, the government said. They also exchanged Eid–ul–Adha greetings, it added.

Ghani thanked Modi for the timely supply of food and medical assistance to Afghanistan. Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the people of Afghanistan in their quest for a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive society, the Prime Minister’s Office said.

“HE President @ashrafghani in a telephonic conversation with HE PM @narendramodi exchanged greetings on the joyous festival of #EidAlAdha & also discussed the evolving security situation in the region and other areas of bilateral interests," Tahir Qadiry, Afghan charge d’ affaires in New Delhi, said in a Tweet.

The phone call took place amid reports that Afghan forces had retaken a prison in the country’s east, a day after the Islamic State terrorist group attacked the facility killing at least 29 people.

The telephone conversation also came as a ceasefire between the Afghan government and the Taliban announced by the latter on the occasion of Eid came to an end.

The Afghan government has released hundreds of Taliban fighters to bring the group to the table for talks, in line with an agreement signed in February. President Ghani and the Taliban have both indicated that long-delayed negotiations could begin after Eid, according to news reports from Kabul.

Under the peace deal signed in February between the US and the Taliban, the “intra-Afghan" talks were slated to start in March, but have been delayed amid political infighting in Kabul and the contentious prisoner swap condition put forth by the Taliban. Under the terms of the deal, the Kabul government was to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners in return for 1,000 Afghan security personnel held captive by the Taliban.

The Ghani government has so far released around 4,900 prisoners, according to news reports. On Friday, Ghani was quoted as saying that he had “no authority" under the country’s constitution to release the remaining prisoners as they were involved in serious crimes. The Afghan president said he would soon call a consultative Loya Jirga, a traditional grand assembly of Afghan elders, to decide their fate.

On its part, the Taliban said it has freed all 1,000 Afghan prisoners it had pledged to release in a deal with the US, fulfilling their side of the exchange.

However, according to the Afghan government, there has been no let up in the violence in Afghanistan since the US-Taliban deal was agreed upon, with more than 3,500 Afghan troops killed by armed fighters.

New Delhi, which has pledged more than $3 billion in aid for reconstruction since 2001 when the US-led coalition dislodged Taliban from Kabul, is keen to see an India-friendly administration in Afghanistan.

New Delhi is wary that a Taliban government in Kabul will tilt towards Pakistan, which is seen as supporting the group with finances, training and safe havens.

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