The Taliban should form an inclusive government that will bring national reconciliation in Afghanistan, a group of eminent citizens, led by former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh, has said. Extending solidarity to the Afghanistan people, it stated that the people of India stood “shoulder to shoulder” with them.
“Afghanistan needs an inclusive government that facilitates national reconciliaton after four long decades of wars and violence. Therefore, we appeal to the Taliban (which are in near total control of the country) and other political forces to begin an intra-Afghan peace process leading to a democratic government establishment,” declared a statement issued by the Indian Friends of Afghanistan, which comprises former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Mani Shankar Aiyar and peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni.
The Taliban should ensure that no terrorist organisation is allowed to find sanctuary in Afghanistan. The new powerholders of Kabul should respect every Afghan citizen irrespective of ethnicity, ideology or past political background. The Taliban should respect the rights of women and safeguard the developmental projects undertaken by Indian entities in Afghanistan, it said.
Call to world community
The group appealed to the international community to not exclude any regional country from “collaborative efforts to bring peace in Afghanistan”. “This requires India, Pakistan, China, Russia, Iran and other countries to evolve and implement a common strategy, in cooperation with the United Nations, USA, EU and other members of the international community,” it stressed. It asked organisations like the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) to work for peace in Afghanistan.
Welcoming Tuesday’s meeting between Indian Ambassador to Qatar Deepak Mittal and Head of the Political Office of Taliban Sher Mohammed Stanekzai, it urged the Government of India to engage with the Taliban to achieve peaceful condition in that country.
“There should be no discrimination on grounds of religion in providing shelter to Afghans who have been forced to leave their country. India should permit temporary stay to Afghan journalists, artists and civil society leaders who are feeling threatened by the conditions in their country,” it added.