A senior Qatari official said that Indian officials made a “quiet visit” to Doha in order to speak to the Taliban’s political leadership based there.
In what happens to be the first official confirmation of recent reports that New Delhi has engaged the Taliban directly, a senior Qatari official said that Indian officials made a “quiet visit” to Doha in order to speak to the Taliban’s political leadership based there, The Hindu reported.
Qatar’s Special Envoy of the State of Qatar for Counterterrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani, speaking at a web conference on Monday, said: “I understand that there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials to speak to the Taliban.”
The statement by the official comes few days after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar stopped over in Doha to meet with the Qatari leadership twice in the last two weeks.
Mr Qahtani, in response to the question posed by the Hindu, said the reasoning behind the meeting was that the Taliban will have a “key” role in Afghanistan’s future.
“Not that everybody thinks the Taliban is going to dominate and take over, but because it is a key component of the future of Afghanistan. So, I see this as the reason behind having a dialogue or talks and reaching out to all parties in Afghanistan,” Mr Qahtani added.
Mr Qahtani, when asked whether any talks between India and Pakistan are linked to the Afghan reconciliation process, said, “Afghanistan as a country should not become a place for a proxy [fight] for other countries.”
“It is in the Interest of Pakistan and India to have a stable Afghanistan. Pakistan is a neighbouring country. India is a country that we know has assisted a lot economically in Afghanistan and they want it to be peaceful and stable,” he added.