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NSA Doval holds talks in Afghanistan

Mr. Doval also met Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, and discussed the peace process.   | Photo Credit: twitter.com/@DrabdullahCE

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval held talks on Wednesday with the Afghan leadership in Kabul on the security scenario in Afghanistan, ahead of the arrival of the Biden-Harris administration in Washington DC.

The Office of the National Security Council of Afghanistan said in a public announcement that the two sides held “extensive conversations on issues of strategic mutual interest, including on synchronising efforts to combat terrorism and build peace”. Mr Doval is heading a high-level delegation and is expected to discuss anti-terror capacity-building with Afghan stakeholders.

He also met with President Ashraf Ghani and Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah. Following the discussion with the Indian guest, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah took to social media and said, “We exchanged views on the Peace Process, the beginning of 2nd round of [Intra-Afghan] talks, and the role of India in establishing peace in Afghanistan”.

Following Mr. Doval’s meeting with President Ghani, Afghan envoy Tahir Qadiry said the two sides “discussed cooperation in countering terrorism and strengthening a regional consensus on the Afghan peace process”.

The Indian visit coincided with the ongoing round of intra-Afghan discussion. The second round of talks between the Taliban and the Afghan delegations that began last week in Doha has been stuck on the issue of ceasefire. While the Afghan government has been insisting on an agreement on the ceasefire with the Taliban, the outfit has been demanding that Kabul should first discuss the shape of the future government in Afghanistan.

Further confusion ensued when the U.S. special representative Zalmay Khalilzad hinted at the possibility of formation of an interim government. This was refuted on Wednesday by the U.S. Charge d'Affaires Ross Wilson in Kabul, who said “much remains to be done” in the intra-Afghan dialogue.

“We have not advocated, and the United States is not advocating, an interim government. The outcomes of Afghanistan Peace Negotiations are up to Afghans and we believe those outcomes should reflect the wishes and aspirations of the Afghan people,” said Mr. Wilson. clarifying the U.S. position.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 9:00:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ajit-doval-meets-afghan-leadership-discusses-issues-of-mutual-interest-counter-terrorism-co-op/article33569718.ece

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