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World

Indian delegation has met Afghan Taliban in Doha, claims Qatari official

  • Development comes in backdrop of US forces' withdrawal, reports The Hindu
Published June 23, 2021
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Indian officials have made a “quiet visit” to Doha to meet Afghan Taliban’s political leadership based there, The Hindu has reported, citing a senior Qatari official.

“I understand that there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials to speak to the Taliban,” said Qatar’s Special Envoy of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani on Monday.

He was speaking at a conference organized by the Arab Centre in Washington and Centre for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies in Doha, on “Looking forward towards Peace in Afghanistan after the US-NATO Withdrawal.”

The statement came just days after India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar meeting with the Qatari leadership in Doha.

Explaining India’s motive to approach the Taliban, Qahtani said that the group will have a key role in Afghanistan’s future.

Huge policy shift as India opens talks with Afghan Taliban, reports Hindustan Times

“Not that everybody thinks the Taliban is going to dominate and take over, but because it is a key component of the future of Afghanistan. So, I see this as the reason behind having a dialogue or talks and reaching out to all parties in Afghanistan,” he added.

Answering a question about any talks between India and Pakistan regarding the Afghan reconciliation process, Qahtani said, “Afghanistan as a country should not become a place for a proxy [fight] for other countries.”

“It is in the interest of Pakistan and India to have a stable Afghanistan. Pakistan is a neighbouring country. India is a country that we know has assisted a lot economically in Afghanistan and they want it to be peaceful and stable,” he added.

The development comes amid reports that India has for the first time opened talks with the Afghan Taliban against the backdrop of the rapid drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan.

New Delhi’s outreach to the Afghan Taliban is being headed by security officials and limited to Taliban factions and leaders that are perceived “outside the sphere of influence of Pakistan and Iran,” reported Hindustan Times earlier.

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