New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): India supports the Afghan government and people in realising their aspiration for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Thursday.

Addressing a weekly briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India and Afghanistan bilateral relations are guided by a strategic agreement that was signed in October 2011.

When asked whether there has been any plan to help the Afghan military amid the Taliban offensive, Bagchi said: "India and Afghanistan bilateral relations are guided by a strategic agreement that was signed in October 2011."

"As a contiguous neighbour, India supports the government and people in realising their aspiration for a peaceful democratic and prosperous future where the interests of all sections of Afghanistan and Afghan society include women and minority are protected," he added.

Bagchi recalled that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's speech at the Afghan conference in Geneva, during which the minister reaffirmed India's India's long term commitment to the development of Afghanistan.

In the past few weeks, Afghanistan has witnessed a surge in violence as the Taliban has intensified its offensive against civilians and Afghan security forces with the complete pullback of foreign forces just a few weeks away.

The Taliban now control about half of the 419 district centres in Afghanistan, and while they have yet to capture any of the country's 34 provincial capitals, said Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

As the Taliban seize more territory, the Afghan security forces are consolidating their positions to protect key population centres, including Kabul, he said. (ANI)

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