Doval meets Afghan leadership; discusses issues of mutual interest, counter-terrorism co-op

·3-min read

Kabul, Jan 13 (PTI) National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Wednesday met the top Afghan leadership and discussed issues of strategic mutual interest as well as on 'synchronising' efforts to combat terrorism and build the peace process in the war-torn country.

Doval, who arrived here on a two-day unannounced visit leading a high-level delegation, called on Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the Presidential Palace here on Wednesday morning.

'Both sides discussed counter-terrorism cooperation and efforts for building regional consensus on supporting peace in Afghanistan,' said a brief statement issued by the Arg, the Presidential Palace.

During the meeting, President Ghani said that the Afghan security forces are the righteous pillars of Afghanistan’s stability and are fighting in the front lines against the regional and global terrorism.

'Afghanistan and India in joint efforts with NATO and the United States will be able to succeed in the fight against terrorism,' President Ghani was quoted as telling Doval.

Doval in return said that India is willing to continue its cooperation with Afghanistan and is ready to continue talks on the common interests, the statement said.

Doval also met Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, and discussed the peace process, the beginning of the second round of talks and the role of India in establishing peace in Afghanistan.

Abdullah Abdullah visited India in October last year on a five-day visit during which he held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Doval on the crucial peace initiative in the war-ravaged country.

Abdullah Abdullah has said India's role in establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan is vital.

Doval also met his Afghan counterpart Hamdullah Mohib and held extensive conversations on issues of strategic mutual interest, including on synchronising efforts to combat terrorism and build peace.

'@hmohib hosted his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval and his high-level delegation from Delhi for a two-day visit in Kabul. The two sides held extensive conversations on issues of strategic mutual interest, including on synchronising efforts to combat terrorism and build peace,' the Office of the Afghan National Security Council tweeted.

Doval’s visit to Kabul comes at a time when the Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country.

On January 5, the Afghan government and the Taliban resumed talks in Doha, Qatar after a three-week break.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

On September 12, 2020, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha while Jaishankar joined it through a video conference.

In the same month, Abdullah Abdullah held talks with a senior Indian official in Doha, covering various aspects of the historic dialogue between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Influential Afghan leader Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum visited India in September last year.

India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington's protracted war in the country.

The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.

India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any 'ungoverned spaces' where terrorists and their proxies can relocate.

India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future. PTI ZH AKJ ZH ZH