Germany seeks India’s stamp on US-led Afghanistan talks
Germany wants India to endorse the Zalmay Khalilzad peace process in Afghanistan. “We would like to see India play a bigger role in Afghanistan,” said Markus Potzel, Germany’s special envoy to Afghanistan. Potzel will be meeting with senior officials in the MEA on Friday. Germany has played a key role in facilitating the intra-Afghan dialogue that happened in Doha on July 7-8.
Announcing his visit, MEA’s spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar said, “Tomorrow, we will exchange views with the Special Representative from Germany who is responsible for intra-Afghan dialogue. We believe that all initiatives and processes must include all sections of the Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government. Any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate and should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorist and their proxies can relocate.”
Talking to journalists, Potzel said he was not here to give “advice” to Indians, saying he had come here to “brief” the Indian government on the ongoing developments. “We would hope India would be part of the coming rounds of conversations on Afghanistan.” This, he said, was something Khalilzad had planned, which would include other regional powers like the Central Asian republics, Gulf states, Turkey and others. Currently, the peace process is being run by the US, supported by Russia, Pakistan, and China, with the latest round of talks in China over the last weekend. Khalilzad last engaged with the Indian government during the election campaign, when he met NSA Ajit Doval and
The German government and one of its NGOs specializing in mediation shortlisted a group of 60 members of Afghan civil society, including a couple of members of Ghani’s government but participating in their personal capacity, to travel to Doha from Kabul in a German-chartered plane. For two days, the Afghans met and argued and talked to each other, the Taliban led by Sher Mohammed Stanikzai, while the civil society representatives included several women, two of whom were religious scholars who debated on the finer points of Islam with Taliban leaders. As the US-Taliban peace process unfolds, a key concern is the position of women in a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan.
However, Germany shares India’s concerns on both an interim/transitional the government in Afghanistan or even postponing or canceling the presidential elections, currently scheduled for September 28. Iran was initially asked to be part of last weekend’s talks in Beijing, but Tehran refused to engage the US, which has put them under nuclear sanctions.
Questioned about India’s approach to the developments in Afghanistan, the MEA spokesperson said, “ US side briefs us on their talks from time to time. We are also in regular consultations with other active players like all political forces in Afghanistan, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China on this issue.”
Reiterating its stand on peace in Afghanistan, MEA said, “We have supported a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled. This has been communicated to all our partners and we are quite confident that our points of view will be part of any peace and reconciliation process in Afganistan.”