Qatari special envoy for conflict resolution meets EAM S Jaishankar

PTI, Aug 7, 2021, 2:21 PM IST

New Delhi: The rapid deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan is a “serious matter,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Saturday after meeting Qatari special envoy for conflict resolution Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani.

Al-Qahtani, the Special Envoy of the Foreign Minister of Qatar for Counter-terrorism and Mediation of Conflict Resolution, is on a visit to India ostensibly to discuss the latest developments in Afghanistan.

In a series of tweets, Jaishankar said a peaceful and stable Afghanistan requires that the rights and interests of all sections of the society are promoted and protected.

“Pleased to receive Qatar Special Envoy Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani. Shared the Indian perspective on recent developments in Afghanistan. Also the concerns of the region that I heard during recent interactions,” he said.

“Rapid deterioration of the security situation is a serious matter. A peaceful and stable Afghanistan requires that the rights and interests of all sections of society are promoted and protected,” the external affairs minister added.

Al-Qahtani had played a key role in the Afghan peace process and his visit to India comes amid mounting global concerns over escalating violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Al-Qahtani met JP Singh, the Joint Secretary in the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division in the Ministry of External Affairs. Singh has been India’s point-person for Afghanistan.

As a key stakeholder in Afghanistan’s stability, India has been holding talks with countries of the region and all leading players on the fast-evolving situation in the war-torn country.

Qatar’s capital Doha has been the venue for the intra-Afghan peace talks and the Gulf country has emerged as a crucial player in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Al-Qahtani’s visit to India also comes days ahead of talks among Russia, China, the US and Pakistan on the situation in Afghanistan. The ‘extended Troika’ convened by Russia is scheduled to be held in Doha on August 11.

In June, Al-Qahtani suggested that Indian officials were engaged in talks with the Taliban.

“I understand that there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials…to speak with the Taliban. Why? Because not everybody is believing that the Taliban will dominate and take over, because Taliban is a key component of, or should be or is going to be a key component of the future of Afghanistan,” he said.

Al-Qahtani made the remarks while replying to a question during a discussion on the theme “Looking towards peace in Afghanistan after the US-NATO withdrawal.”

The Taliban has been making rapid advances across Afghanistan by resorting to widespread violence since the United States began withdrawing its troops from the country on May 1.

The US has already pulled back the majority of its forces and is looking to complete the drawdown by August 31.

India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process that is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

It has also been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in the country, including those from the minority communities, for a prosperous and safe future.

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