Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman, High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan, who is on a five-day India visit, on Saturday said that his discussion with the top Indian leadership was around “peace” process and Afghanistan did not ask for direct engagement from India to tackle Taliban.
He also said there are different countries playing various roles in Afghanistan and India’s role will also be appreciated.
“The topic of discussion was around peace in what was going on in the negotiations and what different countries can do. India as an important country, which has helped Afghanistan throughout many years, has a lot at stake in peaceful Afghanistan. The continuation of the war is an adverse impact,” said Abdullah.
He said it depends on the Indian government’s decision on engaging with the Taliban. “I did not ask directly for engagement with the Taliban but at the same time, I encouraged in the peace process as a whole in general,” he said.
When asked whether Afghanistan wants India to engage with the Taliban, he said, “It depends on the Indian government’s decision. But as a whole, India is supportive of the peace process which is important.”
While talking about key takeaways from interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said that India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans.
“My takeaway from my interaction with PM Modi is that India wants Afghan-led negotiation and inclusive settlement acceptable to Afghans. A unified Afghanistan, which does not harbour terror groups,” he said.
Asked whether he discussed the military role of India in Afghanistan, Abdullah said, “No. Absolutely not. I did not raise that idea. The point is that we hope that Afghanistan will be able to stand on its own feet. As you know that US troops are the main part of it. They have withdrawn from Afghanistan. Still, they are present there but that will not be forever.”
“It is important for the people of Afghanistan to find a way to live in peace with one another, then find an arrangement for the security of the country. The other countries can help in peace in their own ways,” he said.
On Thursday, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval wherein he reaffirmed the long-term commitment to further deepen India-Afghan ties.
A day later, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Dr Abdullah and assured him of India’s commitment to peace, prosperity and stability in the neighbouring country.
Abdullah’s visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country.
The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar’s capital Doha.