Head of Afghanistan's peace council Abdullah Abdullah arrived here on Tuesday on a five-day visit during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on the crucial peace initiative in the war-ravaged country. The visit of the influential Afghan leader to India comes in the midst of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha. Afghan officials said the visit is part of the efforts to build a regional consensus and support for the Afghan peace process.
The Taliban and the Afghan government are holding direct talks for the first time to end 19 years of war that has killed tens of thousands of people and ravaged various parts of the country. Before leaving for India, Abdullah said India's role in establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan is vital. He also mentioned about India's continuous support to the government and people of Afghanistan.
Last month, another influential Afghan leader Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum had visited India. India has been a major stakeholder in peace and stability of Afghanistan. It has already invested USD two billion in aid and reconstruction activities in the country.
India has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled. On September 12, an Indian delegation attended the inaugural ceremony of the intra-Afghan negotiations in Doha while Jaishankar joined it through video conference.
India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains to Washington's 18-year war in the country. The US has lost over 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan since late 2001.
India has also been maintaining that care should be taken to ensure that any such process does not lead to any "ungoverned spaces" where terrorists and their proxies can relocate. India has been calling upon all sections of the political spectrum in Afghanistan to work together to meet the aspirations of all people in that country including those from the minority community for a prosperous and safe future.