Afghan, Indian NSAs speak in the backdrop of Biden's announcement of troop withdrawal
Against the backdrop of US President Joe Biden's announcement of the withdrawal of American troops, Afghan National Security Advisor Hamdullah Mohib and India's NSA Ajit Doval spoke on Friday morning. This is the first-ever high-level engagement between the two sides and comes just two days after the announcement came from Washington.
Mohib, speaking at an event virtually, confirmed the call and said, "I spoke to Ajit Doval this morning about our views and shared what we think should go and happen".
India supports "Afghan-led , Afghan-owned, and Afghan controlled" peace process. In the last two decades, since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in New York, New Delhi had emerged as the country's major development partner.
The Afghan NSA, speaking at the event, slammed Pakistan for its support to the Taliban. Without taking the country by name, he pointed out, "any further push means that there is direct involvement in, by a neighbour which can be very dangerous. Nationalistic forces in Afghanistan are very angry, upset over this."
Warning that If this "limit is passed, then I think, there would be a huge problem for the said neighbour in their country by all Afghans who are there and from within Afghanistan. There could be huge blowback which can be destructive for the neighbour".
In the past, Taliban top leadership like Mullah Baradar have been coming to Pakistan, and not only holding a meeting with foreign minister Qureshi and Pakistani Prime minister Imran Khan but also their fighters in the country. This has irked the Afghan government, which has strongly raised the matter with Islamabad.
On Taliban, he said, "Taliban has no reason to continue violence in Afghanistan, the reason, why they continued, are totally out the picture and its time they make real peace with Afghan govt, become part of the mainstream political society".
"They need to know, they can't take power by force, they can start a civil war but not come to power through that."
He expressed confidence in the capabilities of Afghan National Defense and Security Force (ANDSAF).
He said, "I see it as a time where Afghan take care of the full security situation in our country...Afghanistan doesn't need US combat troops on the ground, what we need is support to ANDSAF, which we have been told will continue."
Since 2014, ANDSAF has been in charge, and since the US Taliban pact of last year, 94 per cent of combat offensive operations have been done by them independently.
Dismissing the parallels in Afghanistan when it comes to the 1990s, Mohib said, "Afghanistan is not what it was, but one thing is for certain, those parallels do not reflect the realities of Afghanistan".