A senior Qatari diplomat, involved in the Afghan peace process, said on Monday that Indian officials were engaged in talks with the Taliban, confirming a development first reported by Hindustan Times.
Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, who is the Special Envoy of Qatar’s foreign minister for counter-terrorism and conflict resolution, told the webinar that he believed the Indian side was engaging with the Taliban as the group is seen as a “key component” in any future government in Afghanistan.
HT had first reported on June 8 that India has opened channels of communication with Afghan Taliban factions and leaders, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, against the backdrop of the rapid drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan. The move marked a significant shift from New Delhi’s position of not engaging with the Taliban in any way.
Al-Qahtani, who was participating in a virtual discussion organised by the Arab Center Washington DC on the theme “Looking towards peace in Afghanistan after the US-NATO withdrawal”, made the remarks while answering a question from an Indian journalist on Qatar’s perception of India’s role in the Afghan peace process.