Taliban Spokesperson Suhail Shaheen on Tuesday said that India’s apprehensions about China helping Afghanistan under its Belt and Road Initiative are “inappropriate”, The Global Times reported on Tuesday.

Till March, 139 countries had entered into agreements with China, which has helped these nations in building roads and ports under the Belt and Road Initiative, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

India has been critical of the Belt and Road Initiative as one of its components, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, passes through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

In an interview to The Global Times, Shaheen said that there was nothing wrong in China helping Afghanistan under the project.

“Some of India’s concerns aren’t appropriate, neither are they plausible,” he said. “While having ended occupation, we need to focus on the reconstruction of Afghanistan...And now China has come forward to help us with the construction of Afghanistan to create jobs for our people. So what is wrong with that? They [India], rather than us, should reconsider their position.”

Shaheen claimed that the Taliban was working in the interest of its people.

“It is important for us that every relationship we form with other counties is on the basis of our mutual self-interests in order for it to be a win-win situation,” he said.

Shaheen said that Taliban regimes’ priority was to focus on creating jobs and raising the standard of living of the people of Afghanistan.

“[Priority is] to focus on the construction of Afghanistan and the rehabilitation of the country, and also to maintain stability all over the country, while working toward peaceful coexistence among our people,” the Taliban spokesperson said.

More Afghans register for extension of visa in India

Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Wednesday said that 736 Afghans had registered in India between August 1 and September 11, seeking extension of visas and other assistance, PTI reported.

“Basic assistance such as food, cash-based assistance and core relief items are being provided to the most vulnerable new arrivals from Afghanistan and those already in India,” the UN body said.

The UN body has formed an Afghanistan emergency cell and created a dedicated help page on its website to keep the Afghans informed of the registrations and assistance available.

“Additional 24/7 helplines were established to answer queries around the clock and direct engagement with Afghan communities scaled up,” the agency said. “Over 130 calls are received per day, mainly enquiring about assistance and registration.”