India for elected political structure in Afghanistan before drawdown of United States troops

16 Mars, 2019, 20:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Afghan National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib blasted US Special Represen­tative Zalmay Khalilzad accusing him of weakening the Afghan government so that he could become Afghanistan’s viceroy

The US has intensified its efforts in the past few months, including holding talks with the Taliban, to end the more than 17-year conflict in Afghanistan.

Mohib condemned the US talks as the "wrong approach" and for "delegitimizing the Afghan government and weakening it and at the same time elevating the Taliban".

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale met US Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad recently and apprised India's views about drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan, they said. US media reports claimed that US National Security Adviser John Bolton also refused to meet his Afghan counterpart because of his remarks to the media. "He was wanting to run for president twice", Mohib said.

Khalilzad informed Gokhale about the issues under discussions with the Taliban and that Washington was insisting on an assurance that territory of Afghanistan will not be used for any terror activities.

"The perception in Afghanistan and people in government think that perhaps, perhaps all this talk is to create a caretaker government of which he will then become the viceroy". On Tuesday, he came straight back to Washington.

Robert Palladino, the State Department's deputy spokesman, said David Hale, the USA undersecretary of state for political affairs, "summoned" Mohib and told him he rejected the attack on "the US approach to reconciliation".

"Attacks on Ambassador Khalilzad are attacks on the department and only serve to hinder the bilateral relationship and the peace process", he added.

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Hale "expressed our commitment to the Afghan government's stability and full participation in the peace process", Palladino said.

Critics, now including this senior member of the Afghan government, have said leaving Ghani and his government out of the room has weakened them and shown the Taliban that they don't have to deal with them.

It is rare that a senior visiting official of another government is summoned by the US State Department in this manner.

"We remain in close consultation with President Ghani, Chief Executive Abdullah, and other senior members of the Afghan Government on all matters involving peace in Afghanistan", he said, adding that "And at every available opportunity, often multiple times during a single trip overseas, Special Representative Khalilzad has traveled to Kabul for updates and consultations".

The latest round of US-Taliban talks, which lasted for 16 days, ended on Monday in Doha, Qatar. Palladino declined to say whether the USA believed Mohib was speaking on behalf of the Afghan government, saying only, "We're confident in our Afghan government partner".

The remark by PM Khan comes in the backdrop of Islamabad's close ties with the Taliban and Pakistan's attempts to control the Afghan peace process.

He wouldn't say whether the US would condition its withdrawal on those talks happening, but several outside experts have warned any Taliban promises can not be trusted.

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