Outgoing Indian ambassador to Kabul is candid that if talks fail with the Taliban, there is no backup plan in place; points at Pakistan factor in ongoing strife

It’s a warm spring afternoon in the ancient city of Kandahar and the locals have gathered in large numbers to watch a cricket match. This is the first one to be held in the brand new stadium inaugurated earlier that day. The players, not unlike the upcoming cricket professionals from Afghanistan, attract a lot of cheer, especially the man wielding the bat in a smart Nehru jacket — Manpreet Vohra, the Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan.

“The Indian administration, irrespective of who’s in the ruling party, has always had a consensus on Afghanistan and that hasn’t changed,” Vohra says, during an interview with Asia Times at this official residence. Nearby, workers help him pack belongings as he prepares to leave Afghanistan at the end of his tenure.

You don’t normally see foreign diplomats outside their blast-walled compounds in the Afghan capital Kabul, let alone joining a cricket match in Kandahar. The latter is a city often remembered as the birthplace of the Taliban, despite its long history before the five-year Taliban regime.

However, dedicated development efforts and thoughtful strategic policies have helped India carve a popular niche in Afghanistan.

Read full interview on Asia Times