New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed a high-level group comprising of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and senior officials to focus on the immediate priorities of India in Afghanistan, following the drawdown of American forces from the country after 20 years of presence.

Official sources, as quoted by PTI, said that the group has been meeting regularly over the last few days following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. India's immediate priorities have been the safe return of the Indians still in Afghanistan, bringing back the Afghan nationals who stood by New Delhi, and ensuring that Afghan soil is not used for terrorism directed at India.

"In view of the evolving situation in Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently directed that a high-level group comprising of External Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and senior officials focus on the immediate priorities of India," said a source.

"It is seized of issues pertaining to the safe return of stranded Indians, the travel of Afghan nationals (especially minorities) to India, and assuring that the territory of Afghanistan is not used in any manner for terrorism directed against India," it said

The sources also said that the group has also been monitoring the ground situation in Afghanistan and international reactions, including the resolution passed this morning by the UN Security Council.

The US on Tuesday completed the withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan, ending a two-decade war and leaving the country in the hands of the Taliban. The Taliban has taken control of the Hamid Karzai international airport in Kabul on Tuesday after the last US aircraft took off in the morning, marking an end to the 20-year presence of the US in Afghanistan.

Supporters of the outfit celebrated across Kabul after the US completed the troops' withdrawal. There is still no clarity on the formation of a government in Kabul, over two weeks after the Taliban seized control of the Afghan capital city.

India is adopting a wait and watch approach to see whether the new dispensation in Afghanistan will be solely a government of the Taliban or be part of a power-sharing arrangement with other Afghan leaders. India has been a key stakeholder in Afghanistan and it has invested nearly USD 3 billion in carrying out nearly 500 projects across Afghanistan.

On Friday, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India is closely monitoring the situation in Afghanistan and is in touch with other countries as well. India has evacuated over 550 people in six separate flights, either from Kabul or Tajikistan's capital Dushanbe, of these, over 260 were Indians.


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan