US will not rush into a pact with Taliban: Kerry

  • Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
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  • Updated: Jun 24, 2013 01:12 IST

It’s the US secretary of state, John Kerry, on Sunday walked half way in addressing Indian concerns on the proposed direct talks with Taliban, but didn’t spell out whether affiliates like Haqqani network, most inimical to Indian interest in Afghanistan, will be part of the process.

Kerry, who reiterated that New Delhi remains a key US partner in its policy of re-balancing in Asia, hoped for better India-Pakistan relations based on greater trade ties and skipping of the contentious Kashmir issue.

The secretary of state arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for the 4th India-Strategic dialogue on Monday from Doha, the city where the Taliban opened an office for direct talks with the US, the terms of which had upset Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai.

India had thrown its weight behind Karzai for “an Afghan-led and Afghan-driven” peace process guided by the internationally accepted guidelines.

Delivering a lecture in New Delhi, Kerry said no agreement with Taliban would be rushed through and that a final settlement may be long in coming.

“Let me be clear.  Any political settlement must result in our judgment with the Taliban breaking ties with the al-Qaeda renouncing violence and accepting the Afghan constitution, including its protection of all Afghans. Afghanistan cannot again become a safe haven for international terrorism”, he said.

Karzai cancelled plans for an Afghan delegation to travel to Qatar and suspended talks with the United States over a crucial security pact, to protest the proposed talk process aimed at ending the 12-year war in Afghanistan.

India is also concerned about Taliban affiliates like Haqqani network , which it holds close to Pakistan establishment and consistently targeting Indian interests becoming  part of the this process.

 

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