India has issued a 13-point security advisory to its nationals staying and working in Afghanistan, asking them to avoid non-essential travel, and taking roads and highways while moving out of the main cities there.
“The security situation in Afghanistan remains dangerous in several provinces. Terror groups operating in Afghanistan have escalated violent activities and carried out a series of complex attacks in various parts of Afghanistan, including targeting Afghan Defence and Security Forces and Afghan Government Institutions and even civilians. Indian Nationals are not exceptions, and they additionally face a serious threat of kidnapping,” India’s security advisory read.
“In recent weeks, targeted attacks are on the rise in various provinces and districts, directed against government establishments and security posts, have seen civilians caught in the middle of the conflict. Incidents of roadside IED blasts and magnetic IEDs used to target vehicles of civilians continue to be reported from many parts of the country,” the advisory further said.
#BREAKING: India issues security advisory for Indian nationals in Afghanistan. Strongly advises to avoid all types of non essential movements. Indian nationals advised to exercise utmost vigilance and caution with regard to security at work place, residence and movement to work. pic.twitter.com/j8MFCDlMd5— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) June 29, 2021
“In view of the heightened security threats, all Indian nationals visiting, staying and working in Afghanistan are advised to exercise utmost vigilance and caution with regard to security at workplace, place of residence and also during movement to their places of work”, the advisory cautioned.
India-Taliban Talks Underway
The advisory comes days after India and Taliban held backdoor dialogue in Doha, top sources in India’s national security apparatus have confirmed to CNN-News18.
“We can confirm that talks have been underway at various levels, but not at the level of External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar, as is being claimed by the media in Pakistan,” the sources added.
Talks have likely been conducted by some officials of India’s intelligence network and Ministry of External Affairs, which is being closely monitored by India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
India’s Ministry of External Affairs has also rubbished claims that the Jaishankar had at any point engaged with the Taliban.
“We have seen social media reports claiming that EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar has met certain Taliban leaders. Such reports are completely false, baseless and mischievous”, sources within India’s Ministry of External Affairs told CNN-News18.
Taliban Responds to Security Concerns
Meanwhile, the Taliban in a statement released to the media has assured diplomatic and non-military foreign nationals, including humanitarian workers, that it won’t face any security risks from the ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’.
“In continuation of past course and in view of current developments inside the country, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan would once again like to assure all civilian and non-military foreign nationals, diplomats, embassies, consulates and workers of humanitarian organisations that none shall face any problems or security risks on our part,” the statement said.
“They may continue their diplomatic work and humanitarian activities as per normal routine. As far as it is related to the Islamic Emirate, we have fulfilled our responsibility regarding their safety. No one should have any reservations about the Islamic Emirate in this regard,” the statement further added.
Aditya Raj Kaul is Contributing Editor, News18 group with more than a decade long experience in covering Conflict, Foreign Policy, and Internal Security. He can be reached at Aditya.Kaul@nw18.com