By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Afghanistan’s top negotiator for intra-Afghan talks, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, will visit India on October 6. This would be his first visit to Delhi as Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, representing the Afghan government in talks with the Taliban, which started in September in Doha.
Dr. Abdullah Abdullah is expected to meet the top leadership of India to seek support for the intra-Afghan talks which India always maintained should have been “Afghan-led” and “Afghan-owned”.
In September, a delegation from India went to Doha for the inauguration ceremony of the inter-Afghan talks. Joint Secretary, PAI or Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran division of Ministry of External Affairs, JP Singh, had represented India during the visit. Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also delivered his remarks virtually to the gathering.
JP Singh also met Abdullah on the sidelines of the intra-Afghan ceremony on September 12 in Doha.
India has its concerns regarding any settlement with the Taliban and the role Pakistan plays in the stability in Afghanistan, an issue that has been raised as a concern by many within Afghanistan as well.
At the ceremony, Jaishankar had stated, “Our friendship with Afghanistan is strong and unshaken, we have always been good neighbours and will always be so. Our expectation is that the soil of Afghanistan should never be used for any anti-India activities”.
Jaishankar also stated that the process “should promote the values of human rights and democracy that can foster development”. “The interests of the minorities, women and vulnerable must be ensured,” he asserted.
Most of the Afghan Sikhs have already left Afghanistan after an increase in attacks against the community by radical elements mostly supported by Pakistan.
These are issues that could come up when the two sides have conversations. Issue of terrorism, cross-border terrorism, Pakistan’s involvement, minority rights, rights of women in Afghanistan are also likely to be discussed during the meeting.
While the talks are an important way forward to seek normalisation in Afghanistan, India continues to engage the leadership of Afghanistan to ensure her interests and stakes are protected.
End of September, New Delhi received another high-level dignitary from Afghanistan, Afghan leader Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum, during which he met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla.
“Glad to meet Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum. Exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the larger region. His vast experience and deep insights were evident. India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process,” Jaishankar tweeted after their meeting.