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United States Appreciates India’s Role in Afghan Talks

NEW DELHI, Sep 16: Three days after India took the initiative on the discussion between Afghanistan and the Taliban Negotiations in Doha, Qatar, the U.S. Special Envoy on Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad met External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla during a quick four-hour visit to Delhi on Tuesday.

Khalilzad accompanied by a three-member team flew to New Delhi after attending a meeting in Pakistan with General Bajwa, the Pakistani Army Chief, and Mohammad Sadiq, Pakistan’s special envoy on Afghanistan. His mission was to seek Pakistan’s support in convincing the Taliban for a truce.

During the meeting, Khalilzad acknowledged India’s participation in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations (IAN) and briefed about the U.S. assessment of the situation and shared the U.S. perspective on the Afghan peace process.

The discussion also revolved around cooperation between India and the U.S. in furthering the Afghan peace process and stressed on the necessity for regional support for the Afghan peace process, as it would bring an end to terrorism from Afghan soil.

A release issued by the U S Embassy in Delhi stated, “The United States and India share the view that the peace process must continue until there’s agreement on a political roadmap and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. The Afghan sides should ensure their territory must not be employed by any terrorist organization against any other country.”

Jaishankar had virtually attended the on-going talks on Saturday. The significance of the meet can also be surmised as India has also sent a high-level official delegation, led by the J P Singh, Joint Secretary in-charge of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.

Khalilzad’s since assuming the office of the U.S. Special Representative on Afghanistan have visited India four times earlier.

Meanwhile, Iran welcomed the start of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations. Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a telephone conversation with Mohammad Haneef Atmar, the acting foreign minister of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Iran has assured its continued assistance to Afghanistan in various areas, including the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. The two sides discussed expanding bilateral cooperation and finalizing a comprehensive cooperation framework.

(Venkatesh Iyer)