November 2020 \ Interviews \ COVER STORY—INDIA AND AFGHANISTAN
“Afghans appreciate India’s stance in supporting their cause”

In this interview with India Empire Magazine’s Editor and Publisher Sayantan Chakravarty, Mr Tahir Qadiry, Chargé D’ Affaires, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in India and Co-Chairperson IAF (India-Afghanistan Foundation), speaks on wide-ranging issues, including a subject that has the entire world’s attention—the peace process in Afghanistan and the dialogue that started with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar ...

Following that round of talks, there are contact groups speaking almost every day to resolve disputed issues, and then negotiating. We see all this as a greater step—a step towards silencing the guns. Talks are taking place with a group that has been at war in Afghanistan for so many years, now you are face-to-face and talking peace. It may take time, but with patience, with tolerance, things will move in the direction envisaged. In Afghanistan, expectations from this 21-member group that represents the country’s diversity and strength are very high. People want to breathe freely once more. H.E. the President of Afghanistan met this group in Doha. He pledged his full support to the delegation, and the message went out loud and clear that Afghanistan wanted a resolution and abiding peace. For that some compromises will be made. But everyone is looking towards an end to the decades of violence for too many innocent people have lost their lives for years, every single day. We need a cease fire on humanitarian grounds.

All that I can say is that it is too early to comment which way the negotiations will eventually go. But that two groups are able to sit across the table and discuss the future is a good first step in itself. I can confidently say that the Afghan negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is there with full heart and determination.

Can you elaborate on the role played by the students from Afghanistan in India? Are they able to change people’s opinion about your country?

I’ve always said that our students are indisputably our cultural ambassadors. Perhaps we in the embassy cannot reach out to all parts of India. But our students can. They promote Afghan values and culture and help Indians in understanding our country better. It is significant that a large proportion of our students in India at present are girls. They too are contributing to the diversity of India and are absorbing the richness and variety in this country. This country has many languages, traditions, cultures. One of the greatest lessons they learn here is that India is a tolerant nation. These students return to Afghanistan with a wealth of experience—it is not only education that they receive, but they soak up the diversity and tolerance. Some of those who have graduated from India are serving in high positions in the cabinet of Afghanistan, working in NGOs, are part of policy making in think tanks, and teaching in universities. So there are multiple areas where they are contributing.