Six-nation meet to discuss Afghan issue

Six-nation meet to discuss Afghan issue

 India will take part in a six-nation meeting next week to breathe new life into the peace process in Afghanistan.

New Delhi confirmed its participation in the meeting, to be hosted by Russia, even as the new initiative by Moscow prompted a top commander of the United States army to accuse Russia and Iran of supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Apart from India, Russia has invited China, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan for the meeting, scheduled for February 15. The US, however, has been left out, so was the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

“We are happy to accept the invitation of Russia for consultations to be held in Moscow on Afghanistan on February 15. We look forward to the valuable opportunity to discuss with other regional countries all aspects of the situation in Afghanistan,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

India accepted the invitation even as Russia’s latest move to play a role in the peace process in Afghanistan caused unease in the US.

Gen John W Nicholson, the commander of the US Forces in Afghanistan, on Thursday told the Armed Services Committee of American Senate that Russia and Iran were supporting the Taliban. Nicholson also commands the Nato’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. He testified before the US Senate panel that Russia had worked to “publicly legitimise” the Taliban. He also added that Iran was directly involved in providing support to the Taliban in western Afghanistan.

Nicholson’s comments came just two days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani in Moscow. The Moscow conclave would bring India and Pakistan on the same table to discuss Afghanistan.

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