US, India urge Taliban to ensure Afghanistan is not used as terrorists’ safe haven

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India and the US have called on the Taliban to ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a safe haven for terrorists, as officials from the two countries concluded their joint dialogue on counter-terrorism to expand their cooperation to combat the scourge.

The Indian and the US sides also called for concerted action against all terror groups, including those proscribed by the UN Security Council such as al-Qaida, ISIS/Daesh, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), a joint statement issued after the meeting here said on Thursday.

Reaffirming counter-terrorism cooperation as an important pillar under the US-India Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, both sides pledged to further expand cooperation on law enforcement, information sharing, exchange of best practices and strategic convergence on counter-terrorism challenges, it said.

During the two-day meeting here on October 26 and 27, the US reiterated its commitment to stand together with the people and the government of India in the fight against terrorism.

They called on the Taliban to ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a safe haven for terrorists.

The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan on August 15, two weeks before the US’ complete troop withdrawal on August 31 after a costly two-decade war.

According to the joint US-India statement, the two countries strongly condemned any use of terrorist proxies and cross-border terrorism in all its forms, and called for the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack to be brought to justice.

The 2008 Mumbai attack was one of the most horrific terrorist attacks in India in which 166 people, including six Americans, were killed and over 300 injured as 10 heavily-armed terrorists from Pakistan created mayhem in the country’s financial capital.

Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive, was hanged to death on November 21, 2012.

“In line with UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021), both sides called on the Taliban to ensure Afghan territory is never again used to threaten or attack any country, shelter or train terrorists, or plan or finance terrorist attacks,” it said.

Both sides committed to continuing close consultations on developments in Afghanistan and potential terrorist threats emanating from there.

They also exchanged views on countering narco-terror networks and trans-national illegal weapons smuggling networks.

Consistent with UNSC Resolution 2396 (2017), officials from the two countries discussed ways to prevent the ability of international terrorists to travel.

They also jointly decided to further expand terrorist threat information sharing, and exchanged information about priorities and procedures for designating terrorist groups and individuals.

According to the statement, the officials shared best practices on countering terror financing and use of the internet for terrorist purposes, and decided to continue counter-terrorism cooperation in multilateral fora.

Both sides emphasised the importance of upholding international standards on anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism by all countries.

They discussed mutual legal and extradition assistance and opportunities for bilateral law enforcement training, including at the Central Academy for Police Training in Hyderabad, India.

They applauded the ongoing Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training, according to the joint statement.

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