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US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad to visit India today, brief officials on intra-Afghan talks

Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, met top brass in Islamabad on Monday.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi |
Updated: September 15, 2020 7:50:57 am
US Special Representative for Afghanistan conciliation Zalmay Khalilzad. (File)

US special envoy on Afghan peace process Zalmay Khalilzad will visit India on Tuesday and meet top Indian officials to brief Delhi on the intra-Afghan talks that started on Sunday in Doha. He had visited India in May this year and met External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval.

Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, met top brass in Islamabad on Monday.

In Doha, MEA’s joint secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) J P Singh met Afghanistan’s former CEO and head of Afghan peace process, Abdullah Abdullah, on Monday.

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“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.

Signalling a carefully calibrated shift in its position on engaging with the Taliban, India participated on Saturday in the commencement ceremony of intra-Afghan talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban in Qatar’s capital Doha.

Read| ‘Anti-India terror groups won’t be allowed to operate in Afghanistan’

Jaishankar joined the ceremony via video link while South Block sent Singh to Doha to attend the meeting.

Jaishankar 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”.

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 neighbourhood has to be effectively addressed”.

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