India sends team to help after deadly earthquake in Afghanistan

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NEW DELHI (TSWT) — India said it sent a technical team to Kabul to coordinate the delivery of humanitarian aid after a powerful earthquake in eastern Afghanistan that state media said killed 1,000 people.

India’s External Affairs Ministry said the team was deployed from 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 did not give details of the technical team or the relief equipment sent to Afghanistan. He said the team had been 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”.

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Residents of the hardest-hit district appeared to be largely on their own trying to survive the quake, with the Taliban-led government and the international humanitarian community struggling to provide aid.

India was left without a diplomatic presence in Kabul after evacuating its personnel ahead of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. But it has sent 20,000 tonnes of wheat, 13 tonnes of medicine, 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and winter clothing to Afghanistan to deal with shortages since then, according to the External Affairs Ministry.

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

The Indian envoys have already met with representatives of the Taliban 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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