Published: Sat, November 10, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA

India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA

Unidentified representatives of the Afghan Taliban movement speak prior to the start of the second Moscow round of Afghanistan peace settlement talks on November 9, 2018.

Washington had turned down the invitation to the first meeting Moscow hosted a year ago, while the Taliban also had stayed away from it.

Sources said the Indian government took the decision to send former diplomats in consultation with the Afghan government.

Reportedly, Friday's meet will see the participation of a five-member Taliban delegation led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanakzai, the head of the Taliban's political council in Qatar.

Shaheen also denied accusations by the USA military that Russian Federation has supplied weapons to the Taliban, echoing a similar denial by Moscow.

The Afghan government and the Taliban both denied that the conference marked direct negotiations for peace.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that in coordination with the Afghan government, the USA embassy in Moscow "will send a representative to the working level to observe the discussions".

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With over 60 of Afghanistan's worldwide allies scheduled to attend the Geneva conference, the United States hopes that the meeting "will send a strong signal of the global community's resolve and commitment to ending Afghanistan's decades-long conflict", Ms Nauert said. "Therefore, we won't hold negotiations with it. Kabul didn't even send a representative to this conference".

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According to Sputnik news agency, Russian Federation has sent invitations for what is called the Moscow Format talks to Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the USA and the Afghan Taliban.

He said the participation of both Afghan leaders and the Taliban was an "important contribution" aimed at creating "favourable conditions for the start of direct talks".

The meeting was supposed to take place on September 4, however, it was postponed at the last moment after the Afghan Government pulled out citing that the Taliban had "disrespected internationally-sanctioned principles and rejected the message of peace and direct negotiations".

The meetings ended without the sides agreeing on a path to direct dialogue, the delegations from the Taliban and HPC said.

India has not participated in the multilateral meeting which involves the Taliban in the past, reported the daily. "He was released to provide impetus to the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan", said Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal.

It would be better for New Delhi to invite the militant leadership of J&K and Pakistan for the talks if it is really interested in bringing stability in the entire region.

Newly appointed USA peace envoy Khalilzad has been trying to convince the Taliban to agree to negotiate an end to the war and there are fears the Russian meeting could derail those efforts. "But we didn't say that there will be any talks with the Taliban", he said.

The Afghan foreign ministry emphasised that the council did not represent the Afghan government at the meeting, however, but was acting as a "national" non-government institution.

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