AKIPRESS.COM - India’s foreign minister S. Jaishankar on July 15 met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad in Tashkent, The Print reported.
Amid heightened tensions due to the Taliban gaining vast territories in Afghanistan, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar on Thursday assured Afghan President Ashraf Ghani of New Delhi’s “support” when they met in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, on the margins of Central Asia-South Asia connectivity conference.
Called on President Ashraf Ghani and discussed the current Afghan situation. Reiterated our support for peace, stability and development of Afghanistan,”Jaishankar tweeted on Thursday. Jaishankar and Ghani discussed the role that New Delhi will be playing as a “key stakeholder” in Afghanistan.
The Indian foreign minister also met Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Deputy NSA and Homeland Security Advisor of the White House, who had accompanied Khalilzad. He exchanged views on the evolving situation in Afghanistan with them.
This was the first time Jaishankar met both Ghani and Khalilzad after the Afghan President’s visit to the US last month.
Ghani had met President Joe Biden along with Afghanistan’s key peace and reconciliation leader Abdullah Abdullah on their visit on 25 June. It was after this meeting that Biden announced the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan by 31 August.
Ghani and Jaishankar attended a two-day conference, ‘The International Conference on Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities’, in Uzbekistan, that also has Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in attendance.
Earlier, the Indian minister had also met Afghanistan’s foreign minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar in Dushanbe Tajikistan on July 13, on the margins of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers Conference and the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a delegation comprising Abdullah, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Afghan politician and former warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum left for Doha in Qatar to meet a Taliban delegation led by their chief negotiator Abdul Ghani Baradar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former dreaded Taliban fighter and now chief of Hizb-e-Islami, an Islamist party in Afghanistan. The meeting is expected to restart the intra-Afghan talks, said another source.
On July 14, former US President George W. Bush, who began the war in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack, said that the withdrawal of US troops is a “mistake” and Afghan women will “suffer unspeakable harm”.