Rediff.com« Back to articlePrint this article

Afghan Army chief cancels India visit due to Taliban offensive

July 26, 2021 21:06 IST

A planned visit by Afghan Army Chief General Wali Mohammad Ahmadzai to India this week has been cancelled amid increased Taliban offensive in Afghanistan, according to senior Afghan officials on Monday.

 

IMAGE: Members of the Afghan Special Forces get ready before a combat mission against Taliban, in Kandahar province. Picture taken on July 11, 2021. Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Gen Ahmadzai was scheduled to arrive in New Delhi on Tuesday on a three-day visit to explore ways to deepen bilateral military ties in the backdrop of the Taliban carrying out offensive operations across Afghanistan following the withdrawal of foreign forces.

"The visit by our Army Chief has been postponed due to intensity of war and Taliban's increased assault and offensive," the Afghan embassy official said.

According to another official, the visit was likely to take place at a later stage.

Gen Ahmadzai was scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with top Indian military brass including his counterpart General M M Naravane and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

Afghanistan has been reaching out to its key allies in seeking support to strengthen its security forces in the backdrop of the Taliban resorting to widespread violence to expand its influence across the country after the United States began withdrawing troops from May 1.

In the last few years, India has provided at least five military helicopters to the war-ravaged country which has been trying to strengthen its air power.

Afghanistan has also been seeking India's assistance in making functional Soviet-era helicopters and transport aircraft that are not in flying condition.

The country has been struggling to get spare parts for aircraft and helicopters due to Western sanctions against Moscow.

Last month President Ashraf Ghani appointed Gen Ahmadzai as the new chief of army staff, replacing Gen Yasin Zia.

India is a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested nearly $3 billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.