Expressing concern over the situation in Afghanistan, a group of celebrities including former ministers Natwar Singh, Yashwant Sinha and Mani Shankar Aiyar on Wednesday urged the government to continue dialogue with the Taliban. It has also been asked by these personalities that no political party should be allowed to use the developments in that country to communally polarize the Indian society for electoral gains.
In a statement issued under the banner of ‘Indian Friends of Afghanistan’, the group said that Indians stand in solidarity with Afghans as they strive to move forward on the path of peace, national reconciliation and national reconstruction.
The group said that the people of India stand with the people of Afghanistan in this difficult time and the brave, patriotic and brave people of Afghanistan have defeated every invading army and they continue to fight against extremism and terrorism.
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On this statement, former foreign ministers Natwar Singh and Yashwant Sinha, former diplomat and Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, retired IPS officer Julio Reberio, former IAS officer and former Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia Najeeb Jung, Afghan affairs expert Ved Pratap Vaidik, senior journalist Saeed Naqvi, former diplomat KC Singh, social activist Sandeep Pandey, former Rajya Sabha member Majid Menon and Forum for New South Asia founder Sudheendra Kulkarni.
The group has appealed to the Indian government that India should continue dialogue with the Taliban. “We welcome the official acceptance of the government’s dialogue with the Taliban in Doha and the assurances given by the Taliban,” he said.
These personalities said in the statement that there should be no discrimination on the basis of religion in giving shelter to Afghans who have been forced to leave their homeland. He called on India to allow temporary accommodation for Afghan journalists, artists and civil society leaders who feel threatened by the situation in their country.
“No political party should be allowed to use the developments in Afghanistan to communally polarize Indian society for electoral gains,” the group said.
He also appealed to the Taliban and other political forces in Afghanistan that the country needed an inclusive government that would pave the way for national reconciliation after four decades of fighting and violence.