Washington looks for Indian support ahead of Taliban-US deal

WION New Delhi, India Feb 22, 2020, 08.53 PM(IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

File photo: US-Taliban talks in Qatar. Photograph:( Reuters )

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A senior US administration official said, 'But we certainly would look to India to support this peace process - an important country in the region, important to the overall stability of the region.'

Washington is looking for Indian support as it sets to sign the peace accord with the Taliban on February 29. 

A senior US administration official said, "But we certainly would look to India to support this peace process - an important country in the region, important to the overall stability of the region."

The official explained, "we would just encourage India, as we are all regional countries, to do whatever it can to support this peace process so that it can be successful and we can potentially end 19 years of military, diplomatic, economic engagement."

Adding, "You know, that we can end the military engagement. We will be continuing our diplomatic and economic engagement, which has been there over the last 19 years."

Also read: US, Taliban expected to sign peace deal on February 29 - Mike Pompeo

As part of the agreement, a reduction of violence plan kicked off on Friday midnight Kabul time and will last for seven days.

When asked if Afghanistan will come up during US President's, especially on Indian troops, the official said, "I think if the issue comes up, that is what would be the request from the President."

India has made it clear that it will never send troops to the landlocked South Asian country. 

Also read: Taliban deputy leader says 'committed' to peace in op-ed

Asked about the US Taliban agreement, Amar Sinha, India's former envoy to Afghanistan said, "India and other regional partners have an important role now in exerting themselves with all political personalities in Afghanistan to retain unity and a common sense of purpose."

He said, "Seems the agreement with the US may be signed on 29 Feb if the reduction of violence holds this week. So a week that would test Taliban intentions and ability to offer peace to its Afghan brethren."

Adding, "More problematic is the shape and composition of the intra Afghan talks since the politics in Kabul has got further complicated."

New Delhi is a major development partner of Kabul and is helping in infrastructure development in Afghanistan and has built the Parliament building in Kabul and India-Afghanistan friendship dam in the western province of Herat.