India backs direct talks with Taliban

Shavkat Mirziyoyev  

India on Monday expressed “readiness” to work towards implementing the Tashkent Declaration of March 2018 that called for direct talks with the Taliban without preconditions.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev during his official speech delivered here suggested a political dialogue between Kabul and the fighters to put an end to the conflict in Afghanistan and to restore regional stability.

In a joint statement at the end of official discussions with the visiting Uzbek leader, both sides pledged to work on the goals of the Tashkent Declaration.

“…They expressed full readiness to a close partnership for the implementation of the Tashkent Declaration adopted at the end of the International Conference on Afghanistan on the theme ‘Peace process, cooperation in the field of security and regional cooperation’ in Uzbekistan on March 26-27, 2018,” the statement declared. “Because of the conflict in Afghanistan we have suffered a great deal in the past. There is no military solution to the problem and the government of Afghanistan should hold political dialogue to end the conflict,” said President Mirziyoyev.

The Tashkent Declaration had called for “direct negotiation with the Taliban without any preconditions.”

The Uzbek leader who is visiting India soon after the visit by his Afghan counterpart Ashraf Ghani is one of the tallest regional leaders to speak on dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban fighters who are challenging President Ghani’s government in large parts of Afghanistan.

The visiting dignitary said India and Uzbekistan agree on key regional security issues and highlighted the defence cooperation.

President Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a ceremony where 17 agreements were signed and exchanged at the Hyderabad House on Monday.

Two of the agreements were on defence education and security cooperation.