Indian officials attend Afghan peace meeting in Russian Federation

Indian officials attend Afghan peace meeting in Russian Federation

Indian officials attend Afghan peace meeting in Russian Federation

The Friday talks in Moscow follow a meeting between Taliban representatives and the USA envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad in Doha last month.

According to a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Moscow summit has not been organized in continuation of the summits which were organized in Moscow Format among the independent states.

Shaheen said the Taliban delegation had not spoken directly with the government-backed envoys from the Afghan High Peace Council.

But Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who led the Taliban group, reiterated that the Taliban does not see the current government in Kabul as legitimate.

It also said that the Taliban controls more territory now than at any point since the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation war began in 2001.

The Taliban has confirmed that it will send representatives to Moscow.

MoFA also said Kabul and Moscow had agreed that the Summit should lead to direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban.

After facing enormous criticism from various political quarters for participating in the "Moscow format meeting" on Afghanistan, which will also be attended by a Taliban delegation, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Raveesh Kumar, on Friday clarified that "India always wanted Afghan-led peace process".

The meetings ended without the sides agreeing on a path to direct dialogue, the delegations from the Taliban and HPC said.

"We came here for a political solution". However, this time around, the country seems to be handling both the U.S. and Russian Federation in an effective manner.

The Afghan government's rejection to participate in the meet on September 4 has been speculated to be a result of U.S. pressure.

This will be the first time that India and the Taliban will be face-to-face for such important, geopolitical talks following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines' flight IC-814 in 1999 that was rerouted to Kandahar in Afghanistan, which was then ruled by the Taliban. "Therefore, we won't hold negotiations with it. Kabul didn't even send a representative to this conference".

The Taliban have so far rejected Ghani's offer, insisting on direct talks with the U.S.

For the Russians, the meeting is the second attempt this year to step into a reconciliatory role between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

He also denied reports of deliveries of Russian weapons to the Taliban, saying that they are not true.

This time, the Afghan government sent only members of the government-appointed High Peace Council to attend the event.

Afghan Ambassador to Russia Qayum Kochai joined the group in Moscow.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told AFP news agency the group's five representatives will not hold "any sort of negotiations" with the delegation of Kabul administration.

Mujahid defended the Taliban's participation in Moscow meeting, saying it will not be chaired or co-chaired by the Kabul government unlike previous such global gatherings.

As well as the five-member Taliban delegation, Russian Federation brought to the meeting several senior Afghan political figures, including some who have clashed with Ghani in the past.

Delegates from Iran, China, Pakistan, India, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are also participating in the conference.

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