US to resume talks with
Taliban, India to watch closely

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WASHINGTON: US State Department has announced the resumption of talks with Taliban as the US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad is set to visit Kabul, Doha and other regional capitals for a durable political settlement in Afghanistan.

“Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and his team will travel to Kabul, Doha and additional regional capitals,” the US State Department said in a statement on Sunday (local time).

“He (Khalilzad) will resume discussions on the way ahead with the Islamic Republic and Aghan leaders, Taliban representatives and regional countries whose interests are best served by the achievement of just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” the release added.

This will be Khalilzad’s first trip since US President Joe Biden took office. He is also expected to visit Islamabad and New Delhi as indicated in the release.

The resumption of dialogue with the Taliban under Joe Biden clearly shows that the US is continuing its Afghan policy on the lines of Donald Trump’s administration.

India, which has completed huge developmental and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, will be watching the US move closely.

According to informed sources, Pakistan is fully backing the Taliban and wants to install them in Kabul, this can pose a major threat to India’s efforts in building democratic and development institutions in the war-torn country

India’s position is clear that any government formation in Kabul should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

Khalilzad meets Abdullah

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad arrived in Kabul and held a meeting with Abdullah Abdullah, the head of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, to discuss the Afghan peace process.

“As always pleased to meet HE Zalmay Khalilzad and his accompanying delegation. We discussed the peace process, talks in Doha, the US current review and the steps forward. We reiterated our call for an immediate end to violence and the acceleration of the peace talks,” Abdullah tweeted.

This comes hours after US State Department announced the resumption of talks with the Taliban.

Chairman of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, right, with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad at Sapedar Palace in Kabul on March 1, 2021. (Press Office of National Reconciliation Council of Afghanistan)

“Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and his team will travel to Kabul, Doha and additional regional capitals,” the US State Department had said in a statement on Sunday.

“He (Khalilzad) will resume discussions on the way ahead with the Islamic Republic and Afghan leaders, Taliban representatives and regional countries whose interests are best served by the achievement of just and durable political settlement and permanent and comprehensive ceasefire,” the release added.

This will be Khalilzad’s first trip since US President Joe Biden took office. He is also expected to visit Islamabad and New Delhi as indicated in the release.

The resumption of dialogue with the Taliban under Joe Biden’s administration clearly shows that the US is continuing its Afghan policy on the lines undertaken by former president Donald Trump.

India, which has completed huge developmental and infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, will be watching the US move closely.

According to informed sources, Pakistan is fully backing the Taliban and wants to install them in Kabul, this can pose a major threat to India’s efforts in building democratic and development institutions in the war-torn country.

India’s position is clear that any government formation in Kabul should be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.