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First Regional Meeting On Afghanistan Discusses Threat Of Terrorism

A member of the Taliban sits on a pickup truck mounted with a weapon in Kabul on October 3.

India on November 10 hosted a regional security conference that called for cooperation to ensure Afghanistan does not again become a safe haven for global terrorism.

The conference, convened in New Delhi less than three months after the withdrawal of the last U.S. and Western forces from Kabul, discussed how to engage with Afghanistan's Taliban rulers.

Known as the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue for Afghanistan, the meeting was attended by representatives from India, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Pakistan and China were also invited to the conference but declined.

A Delhi Declaration on Afghanistan issued after the meeting of diplomats and security officials called for regional cooperation in fighting radicalization, extremism, separatism, and drug trafficking.

It also called for an open and inclusive government that would represent all sections of society to achieve reconciliation.

Participants voiced serious concern about the humanitarian crisis facing Afghanistan.

"We all have been keenly watching the developments in that country. These have important implications not only for the people of Afghanistan but also for its neighbors and the region," said Ajit Doval, the top security adviser in the Indian government.

India held its first formal meeting with Taliban officials last month in Qatar. However, it was unclear whether New Delhi had invited the Taliban to attend the conference.

The Taliban's acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, meanwhile began a three-day visit to Pakistan on November 10.

International donors have recently pledged more than $1.1 billion to help Afghanistan amid rising poverty in the wake of the Taliban takeover.

Based on reporting by Reuters and dpa