WION Exclusive: Afghan foreign minister says India has a critical role to play in peace process

New DelhiUpdated: Mar 24, 2021, 11:11 AM IST
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Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar Photograph:(AFP)

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In an exclusive interview to WION, Afghanistan Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar speaks about ties with India, Chabahar Port, Afghan peace process, President Ghani's proposal for election, Pakistan and terrorism.

The Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar, who is on a three-day New Delhi visit, has described India's role as "critical" when it comes to the Afghan peace process.

Speaking exclusively to WION Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal, Atmar said, "India's role is critical to regional and international consensus."

Lauding India's initiative on Chabahar port, Atmar said it "is going to be a key enabler of regional connectivity". India has provided four cranes for the Chabahar port to Iran this year and sees the port as key to its connectivity to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond.

He also spoke on US proposal for Afghan peace talks under UN umbrella, cross border terror issue, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's proposal for elections.


Here is the full interview:

WION: How do you see New Delhi's role in Afghan peace process?

Afghan FM Mohammad Haneef Atmar: New Delhi has a critical role in bringing regional and our international partners together. India's role is critical to regional and international consensus.

WION: How do you see issue of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan? Will Pakistan change its policy?

Afghan FM Mohammad Haneef Atmar: We have been working with Pakistan and with all our regional partners. We have demonstrated quite seriously and provided the evidence that terrorism in the region is the common enemy. Terrorism will effect everybody . It's common enemy to all. It's strong a basis for us all to work together. I hope that recent efforts made by Pakistan in support of Afghan peace process will lead to result and that would end terrorism.

WION: There were reports of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani perhaps giving proposal for election if Taliban agrees. Can you share details?

Afghan FM Mohammad Haneef Atmar: President has already made his intention publicly stated. He said that if Taliban agreed to political settlement, which is consistent with Afghan aspirations and, if Taliban agree to holding election, the president will be willing to hold early presidential election for inclusivity. Free and fair election is a means of allowing the Afghan people to determine their future.

WION: How do you see proposal by America when it comes to UN-led initiative for peace process, in which India has also been named? Is it a welcoming thing in Kabul?

Afghan FM Mohammad Haneef Atmar: We support all regional and international initiatives in support of the Afghan peace process. Especially if these initiatives remain faithful to a key principle that has been universally agreed that Afghan peace process and outcome of process is  acceptable to Afghan people.

WION: How do you see Chabahar Project connecting India to Afghanistan and wider Central Asian region?

Afghan FM Mohammad Haneef Atmar: Chabahar is going to be key enabler of regional connectivity. We believe India has invested with good intention. We are hoping investment in railways, particularly connecting Chabahar to  Afghanistan, Afghanistan to Central Asia, and it will be the next step to make that regional connectivity real.