NEW DELHI: “Should they (India) engage with the Taliban, we won’t have a problem with that,” Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Chairman of the Afghan High Council for National Reconciliation, told StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi in an exclusive chat. He made it clear he hadn’t “raised the issue or encouraged it” in his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi or other leaders, adding, “should they(India) continue to have peace engagements in a different way like participation in Doha, that’s also fine. That’s good. That’s what I really encouraged here. It’s okay for us, as long as India’s policy, which is in support of the peace process and inclusive peaceful settlement continues, we will welcome it.”
Dr. Abdullah’s meetings with the PM, NSA, Foreign Minister, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Foreign Secretary and other senior officials comes on the heels of his first visit to Pakistan in his current capacity, where he met PM Imran Khan, the Chief of Army Staff, ISI Chief, senior ulema and think tanks. He said “altogether I left Islamabad with a positive impression, they said they will use their influence and continue to make efforts in support of a peaceful settlement, including in areas of our concern like the Taliban not showing flexibility and not agreeing to a reduction in violence.”
Watch this interview for more on the peace talks that appear to have stalled over a month after they began. Also, can the Taliban can be independent of the Pakistani deep state? Are Afghan leaders united against a united Taliban negotiating team? What about China pushing the Belt and Road Initiative during a quadrilateral with Pakistan Nepal and Afghanistan. Not to forget the IPL and Afghan house-hold names in India like Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.