New Delhi: – Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, is on a visit to India and has met Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar. The issue of military withdrawal from Afghanistan is on the anvil. Taliban has warned of massive bloodshed if the US military is not withdrawn before May. Therefore, all the countries in the region, along with the United States, have become cautious. Russia, Turkey and even the United Nations have taken initiatives to open a dialogue regarding Afghanistan. The developments in Afghanistan are significant from the Indian security point of view. At the same time, the Indian position in Afghanistan also has become critical. In this scenario, the visit of the Afghan Foreign Minister to India becomes significant.
During his three-day visit to India, Afghan Foreign Minister Atmar will hold bilateral talks with the Indian Foreign Minister. The peace process in Afghanistan will be the lead issue during these discussions. Currently, fierce encounters have started between the Taliban and the Afghan military. Taliban has initiated terror attacks targeting the Afghan military. At the same time, the Afghan security agencies have initiated action against the Taliban, and it is claimed that hundreds of Taliban terrorists have been killed in the actions. Despite this, the Taliban has consciously avoided targeting US soldiers in Afghanistan. Taliban seems to be avoiding attacks on the US soldiers since the peace deal signed between the United States and Taliban in February last year, at Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Taliban has threatened that if the US military does not withdraw from Afghanistan before the 1st of May, there is no hope for them as per the Doha peace agreement. At the same time, indications are being received that the United States is unwilling to withdraw its military from Afghanistan because of the increasing Taliban attacks. Therefore, a strong possibility of a spate of fierce conflicts starting in Afghanistan in the times to come is being predicted. Therefore, moves to establish peace in Afghanistan have started. The United States has convened a conference for peace in Afghanistan and has invited Russia, Iran, Pakistan, China, India and Pakistan. Russia also has organised peace talks regarding Afghanistan and has invited India to participate. Turkey, too is trying to organise a conference for Afghan peace to increase its influence.
In this scenario, the stand taken by India, which has investments worth USD 3 billion in Afghanistan, is extremely important. Pakistan is upset with India’s importance in resolving the Afghan issue, and Pakistan is demanding that India should not be a part of the Afghan peace process. But no one seems to be paying any attention to the demand. The Indian stand is that the reigns of Afghanistan should be in the hands of an elected government, and all the factions should collectively take the peace process forward. India feels that the peace established through this will be perpetual. At the same time, India has repeatedly clarified that India will never desert Afghanistan’s elected government.
In this scenario, the Afghan Foreign Minister has come on a visit to India, and his talks with India have a very high strategic importance. There are indications that the Taliban, once known to be an extreme opponent of India, also has changed its stand regarding India. Taliban has given India a message that it wants to talk to India, and it is not an enemy of India. A few strategic analysts appealed that, taking advantage of this, India should play a vital role in the Afghan peace process.