The return of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is one of the obvious issues that will feature in the first bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Joe Biden in Washington DC on Friday as India raises concerns about the instability in the region impacting it directly.
However, what India is also going to put across to America is that Pakistan is the invisible hand behind the Taliban government – a non-inclusive government that has proscribed terrorists in charge of the country.
India will point out to America that it was no coincidence that within days of ISI chief Faiz Hameed landing in Kabul, the Taliban finally announced their government which they were unable to form for three weeks before that.
A man with a $10 million bounty on his head, Sirajuddin Haqqani, is the interior minister of Afghanistan. He belongs to the proscribed terror outfit Haqqani Network that has been supported by Pakistan. Haqqani Network is also accused of the carnage at the Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008.
Meanwhile, a source said that the question of recognition of the Taliban regime doesn’t arise as they have not adhered to the demand of the international community of having an inclusive government.
UNSC resolution 2593 on Afghanistan passed under the Presidency of India stated that it “reaffirms the importance of upholding human rights including those of women, children and minorities, encourages all parties to seek an inclusive, negotiated political settlement, with the full, equal and meaningful participation of women, that responds to the desire of Afghans to sustain and build on Afghanistan’s gains over the last twenty years in adherence to the rule of law, and underlines that all parties must respect their obligations”.
Furthermore, the international community had also clearly stated that capturing power by force will not lead to recognition and Taliban should not resort to violence in a bid to capture Kabul. That too was clearly disregarded by the Taliban as it went on a rampage across Afghanistan.
The slotted time for the Modi-Biden meeting is 45 minutes. It will start at 11 am Washington time. This is the first bilateral meeting between the two leaders. However, Biden has met PM Modi in 2014 in his capacity as Vice-President under Barak Obama. In 2016, Biden presided over the House proceedings when PM Modi spoke at the US Congress.
Meanwhile, foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that during the PM’s meeting with Vice-President Kamala Harris, when the issue of terrorism came up, she “suo motu” referred to Pakistan and asked Pakistan to take action.
But even as the PM was meeting the Vice President in Washington DC, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. After the meeting, in the press statement, he spoke about the “importance of our (US and Pakistan) countries working together and going forward on Afghanistan.”
However, sources maintain that this doesn’t imply that US will overlook Pakistan’s role in emboldening Taliban. The US has worked with not just Pakistan but other countries as well in Afghanistan is what the explanation was as to whether it undermines India’s position on the role of Pakistan in propping up Taliban in Afghanistan.