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10 November 2018, 06:31 | Darnell Patrick
Talks on Afghanistan, never said with Taliban, MEA spokesperson clarifies
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, second right, arrives to attend a conference on Afghanistan bringing together representatives of the Afghan authorities and the Taliban in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 9, 2018.
"We have said we will be taking part in a meeting on Afghanistan which is hosted by Russian Federation; and we decided that our participation in the talks would be at the non-official level", the MEA's official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters.
"America does want to and needs to leave Afghanistan but we need to leave the Afghan government in charge and not to let the return of Taliban", former naval intelligence officer John Jordan told RT, adding that Afghanistan has turned into "a problem that everyone wants to solve but no one wants to own".
India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the decision reflects India's support to all efforts at peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan that will preserve unity and plurality, and bring security, stability, and prosperity to the country.
The meetings ended without the sides agreeing on a path to direct dialogue, the delegations from the Taliban and HPC said.
The Taliban sent five representatives to Moscow but insisted they would not hold any negotiations with the delegation from Kabul. It would mark the first time an Indian delegation would be at the table with a Taliban delegation from its political office in Doha.
The Taliban is banned from operating Russian Federation as it is classified as a "terrorist organisation". MEA also announced that PM Narendra Modi will attend the swearing-in ceremony of Maldivian president-elect Ibrahim Mohamed Solih next week.
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Taliban said it is not ready for direct talks with the Kabul government and will negotiate with the United States instead, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, head of the Taliban delegation, as saying.
Some MPs said they don't see any positive impact of meetings on peace as the war continues unabated. USA troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since the 2001 invasion that was launched to dismantle al-Qaida and topple the Taliban.
Diplomats from seven countries gave speeches during the meeting: Pakistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Muhemmed Aejaz, Iranian Foreign Ministry top official for Western Asia Rasul Eslami, China's Special Envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun, Kazakhstan's First Deputy Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi, Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Foreign Minister Nurlan Abdrahmanov, Tajikistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Zohir Ozod Saidzoda, and Uzbekistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Ismatulla Irgashev. The Afghan government is learnt to have sent the country's High Peace Council.
The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the Afghan High Peace Council - a body affiliated with the government and tasked with finding a diplomatic solution to the Afghan crisis. However, this time around, the country seems to be handling both the United States and Russian Federation in an effective manner.
India's former envoy to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan T C A Raghavan were representing New Delhi at a "non-official" capacity.
The Afghan government and Taliban representatives made separate statements following the end of the official part of the conference.
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