India and Taliban have negotiated again, and this time in Moscow. Earlier New Delhi and Taliban negotiated for the release of mainly Indian passengers who were travelling from Kathmandu to Delhi in Air India – IC-814 Plane. This time both the parties were involved in a meeting to negotiate the Afghan Peace Process.
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India though made it clear its participation was ‘non-official’ as it sent former diplomats to the meeting. After the meeting, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, “Afghanistan’s problems can only be settled politically and with the involvement of all parties to the conflict. We hope that responsible politicians will not be guided by personal or group considerations but by the interests of the people of Afghanistan.”
The last such meeting by Russia had to be called off because the Afghan government had refused to attend the meeting.
In the meeting, Indian and US representatives stayed silent, but later Moscow asked the Indian government to play a more active role next time. The significance of the Moscow meeting was mainly an acknowledgement of the need for a political solution in Afghanistan to bring 17 years of fighting to an end.
In fact, the Afghan government, in a post-meeting statement, attempted to distance itself from the Moscow meeting, saying, the High Peace Council was participating “in its own capacity as a national but non-government institution”. At the meeting, the Taliban representatives stuck to their demands that foreign troops should leave Afghanistan first.