Jaishankar holds talks with Qatari counterpart in Doha on Afghanistan developments

Doha has been the venue for the intra-Afghan peace talks and Qatar has emerged as a crucial player in facilitating the Afghan peace process.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Photo | PTI)
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: External  Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made a stopover at Doha en route New Delhi, where he met Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and discussed the situation in Afghanistan.

“Met Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani @ MBA_AlThani_ DPM & FM Qatar during my stopover in Doha. Had useful exchange of views on Afghanistan,” Jaishankar said in a tweet. He made the stopover while returning from his four-day US visit, where he had gone to chair sessions at the United Nations Security Council.

This is the external affairs minister’s third visit to Doha, the epicentre of the intra-Afghan peace process, in the last few months. Engagements between India and Qatar have been on the rise ever since the Afghan peace process began.

Earlier this month, Qatar’s special envoy for conflict resolution, Mutlaq bin Majed Al- Qahtani had visited New Delhi, where he invited India for regional dialogue on the situation in Afghanistan.

India was represented by Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran division) in the Ministry of External Affairs, JP Singh. Apart from being the epicentre of the negotiations, Doha had been the hotseat for representatives of the Taliban before the group took over the war-torn country. Ever since taking control of Kabul, the top leadership has made its way to Afghanistan.

Its co-founder and political head Mullah Baradar reached Kabul from Kandahar on Saturday and is reportedly discussing government formation.

Earlier this week, the Taliban had announced it would not be forming a democratic government but will constitute a governing council, like it did during its first tenure in 1996. The council is likely to be headed by Haibatullah Akhundzada and Baradar is likely to be the President.

In conversation with German counterpart

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday received a call from his German counterpart Heiko Mass to discuss evacuation challenges in Afghanistan. “Discussed policy implications of the changes there,” Jaishankar tweeted.

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