【Moscow/New Delhi】Russia has hosted a landmark international meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow aimed at kick-starting peace talks after decades of war. In a significant departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban, the government also participated at a “non-official” level, sending two former senior diplomats to attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process held on November 8-9.
It is the first time Taliban militants have attended such an event. Members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the Afghan government, were also present.
Russia and the Taliban seemed to have scored some PR 'victories' with Friday's meeting in Moscow on the future of Afghanistan, which brought the Taliban to another international negotiating table.
For India, the event served to bring out from the closet a significant shift in its policy vis-a-vis the Taliban as it for the first time agreed to share a room with them, something that was anathema until recently.
After the meeting, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, "Afghanistan's problems can only be settled politically, through the attainment of national accord and with the involvement of all parties to the conflict. We hope that responsible politicians will not be guided by personal or group considerations but by the interests of the people of Afghanistan." The last remark is being seen by Indian observers as indicating that Russia would try to resist Pakistan's machinations.
○Pakistan released Taliban leader Mullah Baradar
【Islamabad】Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on November 8 said Taliban leader Mullah Baradar was released to give an impetus to the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
On the proposed Afghanistan peace talks in Moscow, he said a Pakistan delegation led by an additional secretary will attend the dialogue. He said Pakistan has always been emphasising the need for seeking a negotiated settlement on the Afghan issue with the participation of all stakeholders. He said it is a matter of concern that a recent American report points out that the Afghan administration and the foreign forces are losing control over the security situation in the war-torn country.
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