Representative image Photograph:( AFP )
Reportedly, Defence Secretary Austin discussed Afghanistan with the Indian leadership
US Secretary of State Lloyd Austin was in Kabul over the weekend. He became the first member of the Biden cabinet to visit war-torn Afghanistan. This was a surprise trip. But the questions posed to Austin by journalists came as no surprise. They wanted to know if America will withdraw from Afghanistan.
As per America's agreement with the Taliban, American forces should withdraw from Afghanistan on 1st of May. That's the deal that the Trump administration had agreed to. Until now, Team Biden has kept its cards close to its chest. In Afghanistan, Austin said it was up to his boss Joe Biden to decide when the American troops will leave.
The US President has said that May 1 withdrawal would be tough. The Biden administration has tried to kick start the withdrawal process again. Earlier this month, the United States had called for a meeting of all stakeholders in Turkey. At the same time it is pushing for a wider, UN-led dialogue.
The US wants India involved.
Reportedly, Defence Secretary Austin discussed Afghanistan with the Indian leadership.
On Monday, Afghanistan's Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar arrived in New Delhi.
It is a three-day working visit during which the Afghan foreign minister is expected to discuss the peace process with the Indian leadership. While the Biden administration might extend the deadline for withdrawal, It does look eager to withdraw. And going by all the signs, it looks like Washington wants New Delhi to be a part of the solution.