India on Tuesday supported Afghanistan’s reconciliation process with the Taliban, but warned that it must not undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan government and should be within the internationally accepted “red lines”.
“We support the efforts made by the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to establish a peaceful dialogue with all armed opposition groups,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in his Intervention at 20th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) meeting here on Tuesday.
“But this must be a broad based Afghan-led Afghan-owned reconciliation process, within the framework of the Afghan Constitution and internationally accepted red lines. This dialogue must involve all sections of the Afghan society and armed opposition groups, including the Taliban,” he said.
Afghan Taliban last month opened a political office in Qatari capital Doha and expressed willingness to hold peace talks with Afghan government and other stakeholders.
The possibility of talks faded after Taliban opened office under the name “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” and the flag it used while ruling Afghanistan before the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted sharply, saying that agreements had been violated and that the office was more akin to a rival embassy than a bureau for peace negotiations.
“The reconciliation process must not undermine the legitimacy of the Afghan State and Government and the political, social and economic progress witnessed in Afghanistan over the past decade, to which members of the international community have contributed in great measure,” he said, emphasising that “India’s Afghanistan policy does not have an exit policy.”
India has played an important role in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, Mr. Khurshid said.
He also expressed concern over the universal scourge of terrorism unleashed by terror groups with global reach.
“The global regime against terrorism needs to be hinged on a holistic framework for which the Comprehensive Conventional on International Terrorism at the UN requires early conclusion,” he said.