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Indian officials met Taliban in Doha, says Qatar special envoy

Qatar's Special Envoy Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani confirms that there was a quiet visit by Indian officials to Doha to speak to the Taliban.

Indian officials met Taliban in Doha, says Qatar special envoy
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Doha, First Published Jun 22, 2021, 11:46 AM IST
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Qatar's Special Envoy Mutlaq bin Majed Al Qahtani on Monday confirmed that Indian officials made a 'quiet visit' to Doha to hold talks with the Afghan Taliban's political leadership based there.

"Afghanistan should not become a place for proxy among any other countries. It is in the interest of Pakistan to have a more stable Afghanistan. It is in India's interest to have stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a neighbouring country. India, as we know, has invested a lot economically and wants Afghanistan to be more peaceful and stable. I believe there has been a quiet visit by Indian officials to speak to the Taliban. Why because not everybody believes that Taliban will dominate and take over but because Taliban is a key component of the future of Afghanistan," Qahtani said while responding to a query from The Hindu at a web conference on Monday.

However, the Qatari envoy cautioned that such dialogues with stakeholders in Afghanistan should be to encourage the parties to solve their differences by peaceful means.

"I see a reason behind holding the dialogue or reaching out to all parties in Afghanistan. But it is essential to keep in mind that we are in a critical stage at this time. If any meeting is going to take place, it should be to encourage the parties to solve their differences by peaceful means. We are not going accept any group or any force who want to take the country by force," he said.

The Hindustan Times had on June 8, reported that in a major departure from his earlier hardline stance New Delhi had initiated channels of communication with Afghan Taliban leaders like Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

The newspaper claimed that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made three transit halts in Doha, Qatar, during his recent visits to Kuwait and Kenya. He is reported to have met Al Qahtani and Qatari National Security Adviser Mohamed Bin Ahmed Al Mesned on June 9.

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