Ministry of External Affairs hints at talks with Taliban
Ministry doesn’t deny direct contact with group.
India is in touch with “various stakeholders” in Afghanistan, the Ministry of External Affairs mentioned, in response to particular questions on whether or not the federal government has opened direct talks with the Taliban.
While the MEA didn’t verify the talks, which might signify a significant shift for Indian coverage, it didn’t deny latest studies that indicated that Indian safety officers have exchanged messages with a number of “nationalist” Taliban factions, together with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a member of the Rehbari Shura, or management council, that features Pakistan-based Taliban accused of terrorism.
“We are in touch with various stakeholders in pursuance of our long-term commitment towards development and reconstruction of Afghanistan,” mentioned MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, talking to journalists on Thursday, the place he referred to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s participation at the inaugural ceremony of the Intra-Afghan talks with Taliban leaders in Doha final yr.
Significantly, Mr. Jaishankar held a gathering with Qatar National Security Advisor Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Mesned on Thursday, throughout a transit cease in Doha, between his visits to Kuwait and Kenya, the place he mentioned he had mentioned “developments in the region and beyond.”
The MEA declined to answer a query on whether or not the latest developments within the Afghanistan talks got here up in the course of the dialog. The talks seem to have run into bother each in Doha, the place the Taliban’s official headquarters are based mostly, and in Istanbul, the place a U.S.-backed course of for talks with the Taliban have been delayed for greater than two months,
Deviating from earlier path
India has so far refused to open direct dialogue with the Taliban management, which it held accountable for facilitating terror assaults alongside with teams just like the Lashkar-e Taiba and Jaish-e Mohammad on Indian missions in Afghanistan. However, in response to specialists, India has reconsidered its place within the aftermath of the U.S. announcement that it could pull out all its troops by September this yr.
“The clarity over the U.S. decision to pull out, which could be as early as next month, has added to the sense of urgency for Delhi to make these direct contacts,” mentioned Associate Professor of International Relations at SOAS in U.K. and creator Avinash Paliwal, who had confirmed the Indian outreach in a column earlier this week.
“The exercise of India opening these channels and being comfortable with this information being out in the public is a signal to both the policymaking community in India and the interlocutors on the other side that they are serious about the talks with the Taliban,” he advised The Puucho, making the purpose that whereas India has had oblique contacts with the Taliban prior to now, it’s for the primary time, that authorities officers are indicating an ease with the data being launched.
An official who requested to not be named, mentioned India’s engagement with teams in Afghanistan are pushed by a need to “limit damage” to its safety pursuits consequently of the U.S.’s resolution to go away and the Taliban gaining navy power in a number of key provinces. Last April, the federal government determined to drag out Indian personnel and shut down operations at two Indian consulates in Jalalabad and Herat, close to borders with Pakistan and Iran respectively, pending a full safety evaluate. While authorities sources had mentioned the closure of operations was “temporary” and attributable to the COVID pandemic, no Indian officers have been posted again to both consulate.