‘Support all opportunities that end violence in Afghanistan’: India on US-Taliban peace deal
India on Saturday said it supports all opportunities that can bring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan and lead to a lasting political settlement through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process.
New Delhi’s response came following the Taliban and the United States signing a landmark peace deal in Doha and the joint declaration between the Afghan and US governments in Kabul which aim at withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan and end 18 years of war in that country.
“India’s consistent policy is to support all opportunities that can bring peace, security and stability in Afghanistan; end violence; cut ties with international terrorism; and lead to a lasting political settlement through an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled process,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to media queries on the deal.
The spokesperson added that the as a contiguous neighbour, India will “continue to extend all support to the government and people of Afghanistan in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future”.
“We note that the entire political spectrum in Afghanistan, including the government, the democratic polity and civil society, has welcomed the opportunity and hope for peace and stability generated by these agreements.
As a contiguous neighbour, India will continue to extend all support to the government and people of Afghanistan in realising their aspirations for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future where the interest of all sections of Afghan society are protected.”
The peace deal was signed by US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar in the presence of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Qatar’s capital Doha.
Under the agreement, the US would draw its forces down to 8,600 from 13,000 in the next 3-4 months, with the remaining forces withdrawing in 14 months. The complete pull out, however, would depend on the Taliban meeting their commitments to prevent terrorism.
The US invaded Afghanistan in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. About 2,400 US soldiers have been killed in the conflict that has cost America billions of dollars in fighting and rebuilding Afghanistan.
(With inputs from agencies)