‘Legitimacy aspect’ of who should rule Afghanistan not to be ignored: Jaishankar

Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups.

Moscow:┬áVoicing concern over the spiraling violence in Afghanistan, India said on Friday that the “legitimacy aspect” of who should rule the war-torn country is of importance and should not be ignored as it called for an immediate reduction in violence there.

“Of course we are concerned at the direction of events in Afghanistan,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said while responding to a question during a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

His remarks came in the midst of Taliban militants seizing dozens of districts in recent weeks and are now thought to control about a third of the country, ahead of the withdrawal of US and Western troops from Afghanistan by September 11.

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Under a deal with the Taliban, the US and its NATO allies agreed to withdraw all troops in return for a commitment by the militants that they would prevent extremist groups from operating in areas they control.

“The point right now we stress is that we must see a reduction in violence. Violence cannot be the solution for the situation in Afghanistan,” Jaishankar said.

“At the end of the day, who governs Afghanistan has a legitimacy aspect of it. I think that is something which cannot and should not be ignored, said Jaishankar, who is in Russia on a three-day visit.

For now more than 30 years, there have been international conferences, there have been groups, there have been formats to discuss how to stabilize and bring about peace in Afghanistan, he said, adding that the reason is because it has proven implications for regional security and regional stability.

“If we have to seek peace within Afghanistan and around, it’s important for India and Russia to work together to ensure that much of the progress in economic, social terms are maintained. We are committed to an independent, sovereign and democratic Afghanistan,” he said.

India, a major stakeholder in the peace and stability of Afghanistan, has been supporting a national peace and reconciliation process which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020 after multiple rounds of negotiations to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.

India has been keenly following the evolving political situation after the US signed the peace deal with the Taliban. The deal provided for the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan, effectively drawing curtains on Washington’s 18-year war with the Taliban in the country.

India has said it was committed to steadfastly supporting Afghanistan during its transition. Its development partnership of USD 3 billion, including more than 550 Community Development Projects covering all 34 provinces, is aimed at making Afghanistan a self-sustaining nation.

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