India is pushing for a comprehensive ceasefire in Afghanistan amid a massive spike in violence in that country and reports of its contact with the Taliban for the first time in the backdrop of a renewed push for the Afghan peace process.
The reports of India reaching out to the Taliban emerged as the US looked to complete the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan by September 11, ending a nearly two-decade of its military presence in the war-ravaged country.
In the midst of fast-paced developments relating to the Afghan peace process, a senior Qatari diplomat said at a webinar organised by the Arab Center in Washington DC on Monday that he believed the Indian side was engaging with the Taliban as the group could be a key component in the future of Afghanistan.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks in the Qatari capital city Doha to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country. Qatar has been playing a role in the Afghan peace process.
“I understand that there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials…to speak with the Talibans. Why? Because not everybody is believing that the Taliban will dominate and take over, because Taliban is a key component of, or should be or is going to be a key component of the future of Afghanistan,” said Mutlaq bin Majed al-Qahtani, Qatar’s envoy for counter-terrorism and conflict resolution.
He made the remarks while replying to a question during a discussion on the theme “Looking towards peace in Afghanistan after the US-NATO withdrawal.”