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August 3, 2021
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US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad,landing today in India to brief officials on intra-Afghan talks

zalmay khalilzad

US special envoy on Afghan peace process Zalmay Khalilzad will land in India on Tuesday where he will meet top Indian officials to apprise Delhi on the intra-Afghan talks that started on Sunday in Doha.

As part of his itinerary, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Khalilzad met top brass in Islamabad on Monday.

He had earlier visited India in May this year and met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval.

On Monday, MEA’s joint secretary J P Singh met Afghanistan’s former CEO in Doha, head of the Afghan peace process, Abdullah Abdullah.

“Had a good meeting with J. P. Singh, JS (PAI), Ministry of External Affairs of India in Doha-Qatar. We took stock of the developments on the peace efforts, & the need for genuine regional & international support for talks. I also thanked India for its continued support,” Abdullah tweeted.

Jaishankar, who joined the meeting through video conferencing, told the gathering that the peace process must be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled”, “respect national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Afghanistan” and “promote human rights and democracy”.

The US interlocutor wants to make sure that Rawalpindi GHQ takes adequate steps to keep the Taliban in check in the peace process. People widely believe that had it not been under the US, the Taliban would have turned the country into an Islamic state.

“It is not acceptable and there is a solution to every problem, and a solution must be found. We are ready to help if the country’s interests come first and personal interests do not come first. I am confident that a solution will be found and we will not allow personal interests to take precedence. This is the promise of the US to the people of Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said.

However, neither he nor the Ministry of External Affairs made any reference to “externally sponsored terrorism” — this has always been a reference to Pakistan.

In its statement on Saturday, the Ministry only said that “the issue of violence across the country and its neighborhood has to be effectively addressed”.

Officials, privy to the matter said that for the first time India participated in the intra-Afghan talks at the level of external affairs ministry. Amid all this, Pakistan is deeply concerned about India’s participation in the intra-Afghan talks at Doha. While at the same time the US, its other allies, and the Afghan government are highly appreciative of India’s reconstruction effort.

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