India Has Yet to Commit to Attending Afghan Peace Talks in Moscow – Source


If India decides to attend the meet, it would be the first time it will have shared a table with Afghan Taliban representatives in a multilateral forum. Russia has sent invitations to the talks to Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United States and the Afghan Taliban.

New Delhi (Sputnik): The Indian government has yet to decide on taking part in Russia’s second initiative in brokering a peace accord between the Taliban and Afghanistan administration. The Moscow format meet on Afghanistan, which will bring together deputy foreign ministers and special representatives, is slated for November 9; the Afghan Taliban has also been invited.

“No final decision yet. Deliberations are underway,” a highly placed government official told Sputnik.

For the second time, Russia is attempting to bring regional powers together while discovering ways for establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan. The first such meeting, proposed for September 4 of this year, was called off at the last moment after the Afghan government pulled out, describing its involvement in the Moscow meeting as “unnecessary” as the Taliban had “disrespected internationally-sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations.”

However, this time, the Afghan government has sent four members of its High Peace Council to attend the meet. Russia has reaffirmed its position that there is no alternative to a political settlement, the need for active coordinated work among the neighboring countries, and agreements with the regional partners of Afghanistan.

An observer who served as India’s defense attache in several West Asian countries told Sputnik he believes that the role of the US and Pakistan would be of key importance in the peace talks.  

“The US does not like the Taliban, but wants an honorable way out which is not seen as a costly political and military failure. If it can manage a political settlement with some negotiated power-sharing, with the democratic process in place the US would be fine. It is, therefore, depending on Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghani American and the good offices of Qatar to arrive at some modus vivendi with the Taliban. Pakistan would do its best to make the US cough up money or help in facilitating an IMF aid package in return for influencing the Taliban to come to the negotiating table,” Brigadier Rumel Dahiya (retired) said.


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