India will stand with people of Afghanistan: EAM Jaishankar to Afghan counterpart

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday conveyed to his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar that India will always stand with the people of Afghanistan.

Jaishankar said the role of neighbours in the Afghan peace process figured in his conversation with Atmar.

In the telephonic talk, the two foreign ministers discussed the evolving situation in Afghanistan following the announcement by the US to withdraw its forces from the conflict-ridden country by September 11.

In a tweet, Jaishankar described his conversation with Atmar as 'good'.

'Good conversation with FM @MHaneefAtmar of Afghanistan on recent developments. Discussed the role of neighbours in the Afghan peace process. As always, India will stand with the people of Afghanistan,' he said.

In an address at the Raisina Dialogue on Friday, Jaishankar described the US decision as a 'big step' and said it is going to take Afghanistan in a certain direction and that it would be important for the stakeholders to work together to ensure that the direction is the right one.

In a significant announcement, US President Joe Biden on Wednesday said American troops will leave Afghanistan by September 11 that would coincide with the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the US in 2001.

The US has lost more than 2,000 personnel since 2001 in the war that was triggered by the terror attacks carried out by al-Qaeda.

There have been renewed global efforts to bring lasting peace to Afghanistan.

Russia recently organised a conference in Moscow where all major stakeholders were invited to brainstorm over ways to move forward in the peace process.

India has been a major stakeholder in the peace and stability in 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 that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Last month, Afghan Foreign Minister Atmar visited India during which Jaishankar conveyed to him India's long-term commitment towards a peaceful, sovereign and stable Afghanistan. PTI MPB SMN SMN