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News Highlights

  • There were over 200,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over the country in the mid-1990s. Subjugation forced conversions and deadly attacks forced thousands to flee Afghanistan.
  • Russia is interested in involving India within the framework of the expanded Troika talks on Afghanistan.
  • Russia supports the political settlement in Afghanistan based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and regrets that the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) is attempting to resolve the situation in the country by using force, Lavrov said.

Canada will admit 20,000 vulnerable Afghans, including Sikhs and Hindus, as Taliban fighters gain control of major parts of the war-torn nation.

"Our teams there, here and across the world are working around the clock to bring as many people as possible to safety," a government statement said on Friday.

"We're redoubling our efforts to help 20,000 Afghans refugees -- who remain vulnerable wherever they go -- find safety here. The situation in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, and Canada will not stand by idly," said Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino.

The Canadian government said that it is expanding its partnership with the Manmeet Singh Bhullar Foundation in Alberta to resettle hundreds of persecuted Afghan Sikhs and Hindus in Canada.

The foundation was started in 2014 by late Alberta minister Manmeet Singh Bhullar, who died in a road accident in 2015 at the age of 35, to resettle Afghan Sikh and Hindu families in Canada with the support of the Indo-Canadian community.

The foundation has already brought dozens of Hindu/Sikh families from Afghanistan.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said, "People around the world know that they can count on Canada to support them in times of need, and Canada will be there for vulnerable Afghans."

There were over 200,000 Hindus and Sikhs in Afghanistan before the Taliban took over the country in the mid-1990s. Subjugation forced conversions and deadly attacks forced thousands to flee Afghanistan.

Russia Wants India In Expanded Troika Talks On Afghanistan

Russia is interested in involving India within the framework of the expanded Troika talks on Afghanistan.

"We are interested in Iranians also getting involved, and then other countries as well, in particular, India," Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told journalists on Friday in the Rostov region, Tass reported.

"Of course, international mediators can play a more significant role here than in other conflict situations. Our efforts of the so-called Troika - Russia, the US, China - and within the framework of the expanded Troika engaging Pakistan are directed precisely at this", Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, Russia maintains contact with all political forces in Afghanistan. "We are talking with all the more or less significant political forces in Afghanistan: both with the government and with the Taliban and with the representatives of Uzbeks, Tajiks, with everyone. We see how difficult it is for the Afghan society to develop consensus," he noted.

The Russian Foreign Minister emphasized that an emergency session of the UN Security Council that Afghanistan's representatives are requesting would be useful only if it helps to launch the negotiations on the situation in that country.

"This will be useful only in case it convenes not just to talk about [the situation] and, so to say, take it out on each other but if it convenes with a prepared result which will help to launch the negotiations and not trying to manoeuvre," he pointed out.

Russia supports the political settlement in Afghanistan based on the decisions of the UN Security Council and regrets that the Taliban movement (outlawed in Russia) is attempting to resolve the situation in the country by using force, Lavrov said.

"We support the Afghan settlement happening with the participation of all political, ethnic, confessional forces of the country. We support the processes approved at the UN Security Council which have now unfortunately slowed down. The state delegation has not been particularly interested in resuming talks for about year and a half - two years already. Against this background, again, regretfully, the Taliban decided to attempt to settle the situation through military force. They are taking over more and more cities and provinces. All of this is not good, it's wrong," he said.

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