South Asia and Beyond

Taliban Has Its Own Reasons To Talk To India’, Will Pakistan’s ISI Allow Them To?

NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation this week in Doha with intra-Afghan peace talks not making much movement. Over the last two months, the government has also lost 30 districts to the Taliban, which is about 8 percent of the country. After his first NATO Summit, U.S. President Joe Biden sought to dispel European discontent on not being consulted on the “unconditional” withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. At a press conference after this week’s Brussels meeting Biden said there was “strong consensus” about his plans. Foreign troops are to exit by the twentieth anniversary of 9/11 and may even complete their ‘retrograde’ by America’s July 4 Independence Day. India has neither denied or confirmed reports that it has opened channels with the Taliban. Former envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha weighs in on the “evolution” of India’s foreign policy “in a rational manner”, saying if New Delhi is talking to the Taliban, it’s only after Afghans began negotiations themselves. Former Indian Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gautam Mukhopadhaya also points out that the Taliban itself has many reasons to reach out to India as it’s “not a one-way street”.

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