Former Afghan vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on 25 September 2020 | Twitter/ Dr S Jaishankar
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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday held talks with former Afghan vice president Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum covering various aspects of the historic initiative to bring back peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The visit of Dostum, an influential Afghan leader and former warlord, to India comes over a week after the Taliban and the Afghan government began direct talks for the first time to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country.

Following the meeting, Jaishankar tweeted that India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process.

“Glad to meet Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum. Exchanged views on developments in Afghanistan and the larger region. His vast experience and deep insights were evident. India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled peace process,” he said.

Dostum also met Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla during which issues like constitutional order and rights of all sections of Afghan society figured, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

“FS @harshvshringl met Field Marshal @ARashidDostu & listened to his insights on the #Afghan peace process and evolving situation. Constitutional order & rights of all sections of Afghan society were also discussed. India has conveyed it’s long term commitment to #Afghanistan,” Srivastava tweeted.

Also read: Afghanistan is India’s one reliable neighbour, but Hekmatyar’s surprise entry can change this

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

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

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

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 18-year 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.

Also read: India, China aiming for ‘stability on the ground’ as efforts for Ladakh disengagement continue, says MEA


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