India is a ‘strategic partner’ of Afghanistan and its role in establishing lasting peace in the war-torn country is ‘vital’, said Afghanistan Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation (HCNR), Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday.
Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday departed for India for his official visit on an invitation by the Government of India to discuss the peace efforts and the need for regional consensus and support for the Afghan peace process. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation. During this visit, he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and deliver a keynote speech at the Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi.

Abdullah’s visit comes at a time when the Afghanistan government and Taliban are trying to negotiate a deal in order to restore peace in the country. Abdullah Abdullah recently had visited Pakistan and discussed the Afghan peace process with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister, and other Pakistani officials.

The peace talks between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban began on September 12 in Qatar’s capital Doha to end decades of war in which tens of thousands have been killed. Violence, however, has not abated in the country even as Afghan negotiators have been engaged in direct talks for the first time. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had participated in the opening ceremony of Afghan peace negotiations in Doha through video conferencing and reiterated that the peace process should be Afghan-led and ensure the interests of minorities and women.

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He said that Afghan soil should never be used for carrying out anti-India activities and supported the need for an immediate ceasefire in order to establish long-lasting peace in Afghanistan. On September 25, Jaishankar had met former Afghan Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum and said India remains fully committed to an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled peace process. 

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