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NSA Doval visits Afghanistan for talks on strategic issues

India’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Wednesday made a previously unannounced visit to Afghanistan for talks on strategic issues with the leadership in Kabul against the backdrop of a spike in violence blamed on the Taliban.

The Afghan national security council said Doval and his counterpart Hamdullah Mohib held “extensive conversations on issues of strategic mutual interest, including on synchronising efforts to combat terrorism and build peace”. It didn’t give further details.

Doval, who is on a two-day visit, also met President Ashraf Ghani at the presidential palace in Kabul and “discussed cooperation in countering terrorism and strengthening a regional consensus on the Afghan peace process”, Afghan chargé d’affaires Tahir Qadiry said on Twitter.

The visit comes at a time when the troubled Afghan peace process between the government and the Taliban is very delicately poised, especially in the wake of a sharp surge in violent attacks blamed on the militant group.

A growing number of civilians in influential positions and human rights activists have been assassinated across Afghanistan in recent weeks, and Kabul and other major cities have been witnessing almost daily bomb attacks. Countries in the region are closely watching the situation to see if the incoming Biden administration in the US makes any major changes in the approach to Afghanistan.

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