Afghan government’s top negotiator for intra-Afghan talks Dr Abdullah Abdullah is expected to visit India on October 6, as part of an outreach to key countries in the region for support for the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.
Abdullah, chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation in Afghanistan, will travel to India after a three-day visit to Pakistan that concluded on Wednesday. This is his first visit to India after the formation of a new government in Kabul following last year’s troubled election.
Abdullah is expected to meet the top Indian leadership to seek support for the intra-Afghan negotiations currently underway at Doha in Qatar. India had sent an official delegation to Doha to attend the event marking the launch of negotiations; external affairs minister S Jaishankar addressed the event.
Senior Afghan leader Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum had visited India on September 25, and held talks on the peace process with Jaishankar, who told him New Delhi remains committed to Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled negotiations.
During his interaction with the Pakistani media in Islamabad, Abdullah said both Pakistan and Afghanistan are on “the same page” on the issues of reducing violence and showing flexibility in the negotiations underway in Doha. These views should be emphasised in “messages communicated to Taliban”, he said.
India has expressed concern at a recent spike in violence by the Taliban and terror attacks on minorities such as Sikhs. It has said that the intra-Afghan negotiations must ensure the interests of minorities, women and vulnerable sections of society and reduce violence across Afghanistan and its neighbourhood.
India, since 2001, has undertaken projects worth $3 billion in Afghanistan, including $1 billion pledged in 2016 under the “new development partnership” scheme for five years.
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