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Taliban seizes Indian wheat meant for Afghan people

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Having intensified its terrorist activities in Afghanistan, the Taliban has now started targeting the aid being provided by India for the war-affected people of the country.

Four trucks, loaded with India-donated wheat, were intercepted and seized by Taliban activists on Sunday afternoon when the vehicles were on their way from western Herat to the remote and less developed Ghor province, reports from Kabul said. The Taliban team which seized the trucks was reportedly led by Mullah Ahmad Shah.

Despite best efforts by local elders, the militants refused to allow the trucks to move towards the provincial capital.  Lately, the Taliban has unleashed a wave of terror attacks across Afghanistan, targeting government facilities. The militant organisation has targeted Indian interests in the past too. Many in India see the Taliban as an Islamist force sponsored by Pakistan.

The wheat seized by the Taliban was part of the 1.1 million tonnes of the cereal donated by India to Afghanistan. The wheat had been sent to Afghanistan through the Chabahar port in Iran, which had been operationalised by India in October last year to trade with Afghanistan as it bypasses Pakistan which does not allow its territory to be used for Af-India trade.

The first shipment of wheat was flagged off from the Kandla port in Gujarat with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani joining the ceremony through video conferencing. In June last year, India and Afghanistan had launched an air freight corridor between them to boost trade.