Elected political structure should remain in Afghanistan post pullout: India to US

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 16, 2019, 03.54 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

Zalmay with Gohkale in Washington ( pic: twitter handle of Zalmay) Photograph:( Twitter )

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The Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale met United State's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad during which both discussed the peace process in strife-torn, landlocked South Asian country.

India recently told the US that an elected political structure should remain in place post-US withdrawal from Afghanistan.   

The Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who was in Washington last week, met United State's special envoy to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad during which both discussed the peace process in strife-torn, landlocked South Asian country.  

In a tweet, Zalmay Khalilzad said, "We are moving in the right direction. Briefed USG leaders and many others about the  AfghanPeaceProcess including meetings with UNAMA SRSG Yamamato, Indian FS Gokhale & Norwegian Dep FM Halvorsen."

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Withdrawal of US troops, Afghan territory not to be used by the terrorists, intra-Afghan dialogue and ceasefire are some of the key issues under discussion between US and Taliban.

Zalmay told Gokhale that when it comes to first two, there has been some progress and assured India once American troops leave, Afghan territory will not be used by any terror group or organisation including groups threatening India.

But Zalmay told that progress is yet to be made on Intra-Afghan dialogue and ceasefire. India has asked the US special envoy that given all the efforts made by the US and everyone in the last 18 years it is important that when US troops withdraw a political structure is left in position. 

India is in favour of an elected political structure in Afghanistan post US withdrawal instead of an interim administration since it is not constitutionally mandated nor it has the public endorsement. 

India has been engaging inside Afghanistan and with the neighbouring countries --Iran, Central Asia, Russia and Saudi Arabia on the peace process in the south Asian country. India's official policy on the Afghan peace process is that it should be "Afghan-owned, Afghan-led and Afghan-controlled".

India last year participated at "unofficial level" at Moscow format talks by sending its former ambassador to Afghanistan Amar Sinha and former Indian high commissioner to PakistanTCA Raghavan.