US Special Envoy Khalilzad likely to visit India today to meet Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval
Khalilzad is also expected to express appreciation for New Delhi’s role in the Afghan reconstruction process
As the intra-Afghan talks are underway in Doha, US Special Envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad is likely to land in India on Tuesday to brief External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and NSA Ajit Doval on the latest development in the peace process.Though government sources expressed their ignorance about the visit of the US Special Envoy to India, but there is buzz in the diplomatic corridor that Zalmay Khalilzad is visiting to meet both Jaishankar and Doval. He is expected to update them about the developments in the on-going talks in Qatar.
On Monday, Khalilzad met with top civil and military leadership in Pakistan’s Islamabad. During his meeting in Pakistan, he reportedly asked the Imran Khan government about the need to pressurize the Taliban to reduce violence in Afghanistan. Khalilzad wants to see that the Pakistani military takes concrete steps so that the Taliban stays the course in the peace talks.
In his India visit, the Special Envoy, according to diplomats in Doha, will share details of the latest development in the Afghan peace process. Khalilzad is also expected to express appreciation for New Delhi’s role in the Afghan reconstruction process. He had last visited India in May, in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic, and had held a meeting with Jaishankar and NSA Advisor Ajit Doval.
This time around there would be discussion about the latest US move on the peace talks with Taliban over prisoner swap as well as the intra-Afghan dialogue that commenced last week. The talks have come six months later than planned due to disagreements over a prisoner swap that had been agreed to in February, and the continuing Taliban offensive and attacks on high value targets in Kabul.
Jaishankar, at Sunday’s inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan talks had said that New Delhi expects that Afghan soil will never be used for any anti-India activities and supports an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire since the rising levels of violence cannot be allowed to continue.