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Experts flag impact of latest U.S. -Taliban talks

Afghan National Army soldiers standing guard at a checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan, in this file photo.   | Photo Credit: AP

Despite the looming general election, India should take serious note of the implications of the latest round of Taliban-U.S. talks that ended on Sunday, experts said here.

The talks are expected to resume in February but former diplomats said India should watch out of the proxy masters of the Taliban in the Pakistani military establishment.

Future of fighters

A major issue in the talks is the future of Taliban fighters presently held in the government prisons in Afghanistan.

“The Government of Afghanistan should be consulted before critical decisions are taken that could alter the power equation inside Afghanistan. Taliban captives are in custody of the Afghan government so it is fair to hear what the government has to say regarding this first,” said Satinder K. Lambah, former Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India.

India is yet to respond to the latest dialogue that reportedly led to broad agreement on the principles of resolution of the conflict and withdrawal of the U.S. forces.

Pointing at the 18-month timeline during which the U.S. is expected to move toward withdrawing, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran said the ‘endgame’ has begun in Afghanistan.

“Frankly, if the U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan then the promise of good behaviour from the Taliban is really of no consequence. India is against placing military boots on the ground, so we have to see how we can support the Afghan government,” said Mr. Saran.

He pointed out that a political solution is necessary to solve the crisis.

Entry into govt.

However, the of the country. This, Mr. Saran said was an unexpected gain for the outfit.

The discussion between the Taliban and the U.S. however, fell short of a ceasefire promise from the Taliban which has maintained that it will agree to a ceasefire only after being assured of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces in a time bound manner.An Afghan source familiar with the talks held in Qatar said the Taliban have demanded an international guarantee to a possible peace agreement with the U.S.

However, former ambassador and author Rajiv Dogra took serious note of the strategy of the Taliban during the talks and said the dialogue is essentially giving a lot of benefit to the Taliban and its proxy masters, the Pakistan Army and the ISI.

“US withdrawal will leave the Afghan forces at the mercy of the Taliban and like in Iraq where Saddam Hussein’s troops joined ISIS, the Afghan troops could melt into the Taliban as the latter would be the more powerful section,” said Mr Dogra cautioning against falling for Taliban’s demands too easily.


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Printable version | Jul 21, 2021 9:05:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/experts-flag-impact-of-latest-us-taliban-talks/article26105771.ece

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