Jaishankar holds talks with US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad2 min read . Updated: 15 Sep 2020, 10:03 PM IST
Khalilzad’s India visit on Tuesday was his fifth since January 2019
NEW DELHI: The US Special Representative on Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday exchanged views with Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla on how India and the US could work together to further the Afghan peace process that was officially launched three days ago in Qatar.
Khalilzad’s India visit on Tuesday was his fifth since January 2019.
He arrived in New Delhi after a stop in Islamabad on Monday. The Islamabad visit was seen as aimed at getting the Taliban to cease violence – a demand put forth by the Afghan delegation head Abdullah Abdullah in Qatar on Saturday which India had backed.
The Afghan peace talks come almost two decades after the US ousted the Taliban from power in 2001. They also come ahead of the 3 November US presidential elections. One of US President Donald Trump’s election promises in 2016 was that he would end the war in Afghanistan and pull out US troops from there. With the talks started, the US is looking at a possible deal by early next year, according to news reports, paving the way for Trump to fulfill in poll promise.
“Khalilzad appreciated India’s participation in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations (IAN) held in Doha on 12 September. He briefed about the US assessment of IAN and shared the US perspective on the Afghan peace process," a person familiar with the matter said.
“The two sides discussed future steps and possible cooperation between India and the US in furthering the Afghan peace process," the person said adding that the talks also covered how to promote regional and international cooperation on Afghanistan.
Tuesday’s talks “are a reflection of the India-US strategic partnership which provides for close consultations between the two countries on bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest," the person cited above added.
A US readout of the talks said “Ambassador Khalilzad stressed regional and international support is critical for the success of these negotiations and the implementation of any agreement. India and the US will work together in support of this objective."
“The US and India share the view that the peace process must continue until there is agreement on a political roadmap and a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. The Afghan sides should ensure their territory must not be used by any terrorist group against any other country," the statement said.
The two countries “expressed similar views on the importance of long term assistance, trade, and investment for consolidating a peace agreement for the benefit of the people of Afghanistan, the region, and beyond," it added.
India has played a role in reconstruction in Afghanistan pledging $3 billion in aid to the country since November 2001.