Since claiming power in Kabul, the Taliban in its first official statement said that India is welcome to complete its reconstruction and infrastructure projects in the country, even as it warned that it won’t allow anyone to use the Afghanistan soil against any other country. The statement was made by Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen during a TV interview with Pakistan’s Hum News channel. According to a report by ET Now, India’s Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar said in November last year that India had undertaken over 400 projects in Afghanistan. Take a look at some of the most important infrastructure projects undertaken by India in Afghanistan here.
The Afghan Parliament, opened in 2015, was a gift to the war-torn country from India. According to news reports, it was built by India at $90 million. Modi inaugurated the building in 2015. It has a block named after former Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
The Delaram-Zaranj highway, or route 606, is a 218 km roadway in Nimruz province of Afghanistan. Connecting the country’s Delaram district to Iran’s border, this roadway was built by India’s Border Roads Organisation.
The Salma Dam, one of the largest in Afghanistan, is also known as the Afghan-India Friendship Dam. It was opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in 2016.
The Stor Palace, also known as the Qasre Storay, was restored by Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in collaboration with the governments of Afghanistan and India. It was inaugurated by Modi and Ghani in 2016. Modi had said the Stor palace “brings back to life a valuable landmark of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage." The palace, located on a hilltop in capital city Kabul, was built by Afghan King Amanullah Khan in the 1920s.
Apart from these, India also contributed in several power and telecom infrastructure as well as healthcare projects. India built the 220kV DC transmission line from Pul-e-Khumri that supplies electricity to Kabul. Among healthcare infrastructure, India restored the Indira Gandhi Institute for Child Health and built healthcare centres in several border provinces of Afghanistan. Other major contributions of India to Afghanistan include buses, utility vehicles, military vehicles and ambulances.
In the statement that was made by Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen, when talking about the terrorist organisation’s views regarding India, Shaheen said in Urdu, “We have said that we will not allow any country or any group to use the soil of Afghanistan against anyone. This is clear. Secondly, [India] has made projects, many reconstruction and infrastructure projects, and if they want, they can complete the incomplete projects because they are for the people.”
“But if anyone wants to use Afghan soil for their objectives or for their military objectives or for their rivalries – our policy doesn’t allow anyone to do that,” he added.