India sends team to help with deadly Afghanistan earthquake

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NEW DELHI –


India said it sent a technical team to Kabul to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian assistance after a powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan that state media reported killed 1,000 people.


India’s External Affairs Ministry said the team has been deployed to its embassy in the Afghan capital. The embassy has been vacant since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan in August.


A ministry statement on Thursday didn’t give details about the technical team or any relief material sent to Afghanistan. It said team was sent to “closely monitor and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders for the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance” as part of a “continuation of our engagement with the Afghan people.”


Residents in the hardest-hit district appeared to largely be on their own in trying to survive after the quake, with the Taliban-led government and the international aid community struggling to bring in help.


India was left with no diplomatic presence in Kabul after it evacuated its staff ahead of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. But it has sent 20,000 tons of wheat, 13 tons of medicines, 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and winter clothing to Afghanistan to help with shortages there since then, according to the External Affairs Ministry.


Indian officials held talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan for the first time early this month to discuss the distribution of humanitarian assistance.


India’s envoys have met previously with Taliban representatives in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where they have an office.


India has said it will follow the lead of the United Nations in deciding whether to recognize the Taliban government.

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