India invited to Afghanistan meet in Doha this week

New Delhi: India has been invited for a meeting of regional countries on Afghanistan in Doha later this week, which will see the participation of countries like Turkey and Indonesia as well. The invite was extended during the visit of Qatari Special Envoy for Counter-Terrorism and Mediation in Conflict Resolution Mutlaq Al Qahtani. The Regional Conference on Afghanistan is expected to take place on 12th August. The meet comes even as Doha is hosting the Troika Plus meet on Wednesday involving US, Russia, and China plus Pakistan.

Qahtani was India a 2-day visit starting last Friday during which he meets India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla. Qatar’s Special Envoy also had a meeting with JP Singh, Joint Secretary, PAI and Secretary (CPV and OIA) Sanjay Bhattacharya in Delhi.

In a tweet after the meet, EAM said, “Rapid deterioration of the security situation is a serious matter” and “peaceful and stable Afghanistan requires that the rights and interests of all sections of society are promoted and protected.”

The special envoy during the various meetings was concerned about external players as much as internal. The visit and the meeting in Doha happens amid a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban makes territorial gains. Taliban has now come close to the northern city of Mazar E Sharif that is the capital of Balkh province. With this development, India has decided to evacuate its diplomats from its consulate. 

India has been leading diplomatic engagements as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates. Earlier this month, India hosted a meeting on Afghanistan at the United Nations Security Council under its presidency. The meet came days after Afghan Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar requested Jaishankar for such a meet. 

At the meet, India’s envoy to United Nations TS Tirumurti called on the Taliban to engage in “negotiations in good faith”, “eschew the path of violence” & “severe ties with the Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations”. Tirumurti said that the Taliban should “fully commit itself towards reaching a political solution” and “Violence and military threat cannot be used to strengthen the negotiating position of any side” for which a “tangible demonstration of this commitment is required.”

During the around one and half-hour-long session, Afganistan exposed Pakistan’s support to the ongoing Taliban offensive in the country how the group continues to enjoy “safe haven”. Afghan envoy to the United Nations Ghulam M. Isaczai, speaking at United Nations Security Council said, “Taliban continue to enjoy a safe haven in and supply and logistics line extended to their war machine from Pakistan.”

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