U.S. Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad has briefed members of the U.S. Congress, in a confidential hearing, on the stalled American-Taliban talks. Alice Wells, acting assistant secretary of state has also told the Foreign Affairs Committee that the Trump administration remains committed to the long-term stability of Afghanistan despite announced cuts of $ 160 million in aid. Separately, Ms Wells also tweeted: Applaud PM Imran Khan’s unambiguous & important statement that militants from Pakistan who would carry out violence in Kashmir are enemies of both Kashmiris & Pakistan.We agree.
So, Can U.S.-Taliban talks resume despite President Trump repeatedly saying they’re dead. Why is the Taliban leadership travelling to Russia and Iran after the President tweeted talks were cancelled? Is there a door open to ending the Taliban’s attacks and U.S.-Afghan military operations that the UN says has killed more civilians in 2019 than ‘anti-government forces’ ? India’s ex-Ambassador to Afghanistan Gautam Mukhopadhaya argues that the scheduled Presidential polls on September 28 have changed terms in favour of the state, He also feels elections, however defective they may be, are the way forward. On India’s Foreign Minister S Jaishankar saying New Delhi doesn’t need to be at formal Taliban peace meetings to shape the outcome, Ambassador Mukhopadhaya feels though India should be prepared for unpleasant surprises, it is vindicated in waiting to see what the outcome of the now paused peace deal is. He also calls out double standards on the U.S. supporting India’s stand on no talks with Pakistan while there are terror attacks while it had dealt with the Taliban even as there was a spike in strikes.
Ambassador Gautam Mukhopadhaya served as Charge d’affaires in Kabul in 2001-02, as India’s ambassador to Afghanistan from 2010–13. He was also India’s ambassador to Myanmar from 2013–16; and Ambassador to Syria from 2006–09.