Indian ‘technical team’ reaches Kabul Embassy, ​​IAF flies to relief after earthquake

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Taking a gradual step towards reopening the Indian embassy in Afghanistan, Delhi sent a “technical team” to Kabul on Thursday where they will be stationed at the embassy to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid.

India has also sent aid to the Afghan people, a day after a deadly earthquake killed more than 1,000 people in the province of Paktika near the border with Pakistan.

“The first shipment of India’s post-earthquake humanitarian aid to the Afghan people has arrived in Kabul. To be handed over by the Indian team there,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesman for the Ministry of External Affairs, said in a post on Twitter, attaching photographs of an Indian Air Force plane to Kabul.

While Delhi said the Indian ‘technical team’ stationing was meant to monitor and coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid, it is seen as the first step towards the reopening of the Indian embassy which was closed in August last year when the Taliban took over the country.

Emphasizing that India has a “historic and civilizational relationship with the people of Afghanistan”, an MEA statement said: “In order to closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance and in furtherance of our engagement with the people of Afghanistan, an Indian technical team arrived in Kabul today and has been deployed to our embassy there.

On June 2, a team led by JP Singh, joint secretary in charge of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran (PAI) at the MEA, visited Kabul to “supervise the operations of routing our humanitarian aid in Afghanistan” and met with senior Taliban leaders. . An assessment of the security situation was also carried out, the MEA said.

An Afghan villager collects his belongings from under the rubble of his house which was destroyed in an earthquake in Spera district, southwestern Khost province, Afghanistan, June 22, 2022. (AP )

“Our longstanding ties with Afghan society and our development partnership, including humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, will continue to guide our approach in the future,” he said.

The attack on the Karte Parwan gurdwara in Kabul last week heightened threat perception and cast a shadow over plans to restart some of the embassy’s functions – visas, humanitarian aid, trade in some sectors – but the intention to resume those services remains, sources said. A political call has been made to start with humanitarian aid, the sources said.

The team which visited Kabul on June 2, more than nine months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, found that health and education infrastructure was collapsing but the security situation had improved somewhat.

This initial assessment has been shared with leaders here.

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