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India, Taliban to hold talks at Moscow Format meeting today

The talks, which will see the participation of officials from 10 countries including China and Pakistan, are one of the Taliban's most significant international meetings since seizing power in Afghanistan.

October 20, 2021 / 02:43 PM IST
Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia

Indian and Taliban officials will meet face-to-face on October 20 at the Moscow Format meeting hosted by Russia. While India had its first formal contact with the Taliban in Doha on August 31, the Moscow Format is likely to be the first formal contact between New Delhi and the Taliban government after an interim Cabinet was announced by them.

The talks, which will see the participation of officials from 10 countries including China and Pakistan, are one of the Taliban's most significant international meetings since seizing power in Afghanistan.

The Taliban delegation is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, while India will be led by JP Singh, the joint secretary who heads the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk in the external affairs ministry.

Read | Taliban’s quest for legitimacy and India’s Quad option

Russia's veteran foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is also set to address the gathering.

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The talks assume significance as one of the aims of the Moscow meeting is to consolidate the "efforts of the international community to prevent a humanitarian crisis".

Russian foreign ministry also said the formation of an "inclusive government" would be on the agenda, and that parties to the talks were expected to release a joint statement afterward.

Moscow has reached out to the Taliban and hosted its representatives in Moscow several times in recent years.

The United States had earlier pulled out of talks citing logistical issues but said it considered the Russian-led forum "constructive."

"We look forward to engaging in that forum going forward, but we're not in a position to take part this week," State Department spokesman Ned Price had said.

Russia has been holding the 'Moscow Format' of talks since 2017 to address Afghan issues. Several rounds of talks have been held in Moscow since 2017.

(With inputs from agencies)
Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 20, 2021 02:43 pm

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