New Delhi: Continuation of high-level of violence across Afghanistan remains a cause of concern and peace in the strife-torn country is coming at a cost, influential Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah said Thursday.
Abdullah, who is the Chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day and apprised him of the ongoing intra-Afghan dialogue that is underway in Doha.
“In keeping with the government’s policy of Neighbourhood First, the prime minister reaffirmed India’s long-term commitment to further deepening the historical ties between India and Afghanistan. The two leaders discussed issues of bilateral and regional interest. Dr Abdullah Abdullah briefed the prime Minister on the Afghan peace process and the ongoing talks in Doha,” said the Ministry of External Affairs in a statement.
Abdullah, meanwhile, said in a tweet after the meeting: “In our friendly discussion, we took stock of the latest developments on the AfghanPeaceProcess, the talks in Doha, & India’s support for the peace efforts.
“HE PM assured me of India’s continued support for the peace process, & Afghanistan. I thanked him & the people of India for the invitation, & generous hospitality. I also thanked India for its principled position on the #AfghanPeaceProcess.”
HE PM assured me of India’s continued support for the peace process, & Afghanistan. I thanked him & the people of India for the invitation, & generous hospitality. I also thanked India for its principled position on the #AfghanPeaceProcess. 2/2
— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) October 8, 2020
Later in the day during an address, Abdullah said for the intra-Afghan talks to reach a mutually win-win situation it will require “continuation, patience and flexibility”.
“One of the issues which is the cause of concern for our people has been the continuation of the high-level of violence. But the talks continue. Hopefully we will get to some understanding on this,” he said in his address at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
‘Constructive discussion’ with Ajit Doval
Abdullah also lauded India’s stance on participating only on those talks that will be led by the Afghanistan government.
India, which continues to be the largest aid giver to Afghanistan in South Asia, has maintained all throughout the peace talks, which was held between the US and Taliban leaders, that it will not directly negotiate with the latter.
New Delhi has remained firm on its stance that it can only be part of those talks that will be “Afghan-owned and Afghan-led”.
Abdullah also expressed gratitude for some of the projects being developed by India such as the Chabahar Port project in Iran and also the long-pending TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline.
“Living in one territory and under the same system, which works for all, at the same time being allowed to freely exercise our rights, including contesting elections only through peaceful means and not through terrorism is what we are aiming for,” he added.
During his six-day tour that began on 6 October, Abdullah met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval Wednesday and had a “constructive discussion”.
“He (Doval) assured me of India’s full support for the peace efforts, and that any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans, will have the support of India,” Abdullah said in a tweet later.
Had a constructive discussion with HE Ajit Doval, the NSA of India. We discussed the #AfghanPeaceProcess, & the talks in Doha. He assured me of India’s full support for the peace efforts, & that any peace settlement acceptable to Afghans, will have the support of India. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/gP1rr9hFXL
— Dr. Abdullah Abdullah (@DrabdullahCE) October 7, 2020
Abdullah is expected to meet External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar Friday.