Taliban join Moscow talks to kick start Afghanistan negotiations

Taliban join Moscow talks to kick start Afghanistan negotiations

Taliban join Moscow talks to kick start Afghanistan negotiations

India had announced that it would participate at a "non-official" level in the talks on the Afghan peace process being held at Moscow. Kumar also slammed the opposition parties for their remarks in this regard and questioned, "Don't know how are people concluding that India will hold talks with the Taliban".

The US embassy in Moscow was sending a representative to observe the discussions.

The MEA spokesperson said India will support any effort to continue the peace process consistent with the policy on Afghanistan - which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Afghanistan government.

The meeting was billed by Russian Federation as an attempt to bring the Taliban and the US -backed Afghan government closer to direct peace talks, though little was expected to come out of the event, which both sides have emphasized is not a formal negotiation.

Shaheen said the Taliban delegation had not spoken directly with the government-backed envoys from the Afghan High Peace Council.

Citing anonymous Russian diplomats, AA notes, "The President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Mr. [Ashraf] Ghani, made a decision to send a delegation of the country's High Peace Council to the meeting".

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation that the United States had contacted Pakistan over the plans to have a trilateral meeting among Pakistan, China and Afghanistan in coming days, urging Islamabad to refrain from giving Beijing "too much importance" on the Afghanistan issue.

US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will visit Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar from November 8 to 20 to push for peace negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, the State Department said on Thursday. The Taliban have said they are ready to talk to the U.S.to end the war, but not with the Afghan government they deem illegitimate.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the participation of both Afghan leaders and the Taliban was an "important contribution" aimed at creating "favourable conditions for the start of direct talks".

Apart from the Taliban political leadership based in Doha, and the HPC from Kabul, the Russian government has invited delegations from India, Pakistan, the U.S., China, Iran and five Central Asian Republics. The U.S. military has accused Iran, Russia, and Pakistan of backing the Taliban.

"Considering our main demand is the withdrawal of foreign forces, we will discuss a peaceful resolution with the Americans".

According to Russian news agency TASS, this is for the second time, Russia is attempting to bring regional powers together while discovering ways for establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan. United States troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that was launched to dismantle al-Qaida and topple the Taliban.

Originally the meeting was scheduled for September 4 in Moscow, but Afghanistan refused to attend citing that any such discussions should be Afghan-led. Pakistan's foreign office has confirmed Islamabad's participation in the talks.

India will not be holding talks with the Taliban, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) clarified in a press briefing on Friday.

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