NSA Ajit Doval holds bilateral talks with Tajik and Uzbek counterparts

New Delhi: NSA Ajit Doval on Tuesday held separate bilateral talks with his counterparts from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with a focus on developments in Afghanistan including the possible threat of terrorism from Afghan soil and the looming humanitarian crisis in the war-torn country, official sources said.

In the talks between Doval and Victor Makhmudov, the secretary of the security council of Uzbekistan, the two sides felt that the legitimacy of any Afghan government within Afghanistan was important before the issue of its international recognition, the sources said.

They said the two top security officials also agreed that neighbouring states must play a constructive role in Afghanistan and highlighted the need for the long-term economic development of that country.

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Makhmudov and Nasrullo Rahmatjon Mahmudzoda, the secretary of Tajikistan’s security council, are in Delhi to attend a regional security dialogue on Afghanistan which will be chaired by Doval on Wednesday.

India is hosting the dialogue to firm up a common approach for practical cooperation in confronting increasing threats of terrorism, radicalisation and drug trafficking following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul.

In their bilateral talks, Doval and Mahmudzoda had a detailed exchange of views on Afghanistan, with significant convergence of assessments, the sources said.

They said concerns were expressed on the sharp increase in terrorist threats from Afghanistan in the recent past and that the Tajik side highlighted the gravity of the situation in Afghanistan.

The looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan also figured in the talks.

“On the bilateral side, discussions took place on deepening cooperation in areas like defence, border management and border infrastructure development,” a source said.

On National Security Advisor Doval’s talks with his Uzbek counterpart, the sources said Afghanistan was the major focus of discussions with both sides agreeing that the future of the country must be decided by the Afghan people.

“Both sides emphasised the need for Afghanistan’s neighbours to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan,” said a source.

Apart from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan is also being attended by top security czars of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan.

Sources said China was invited to the dialogue but it has already communicated that it would be unable to attend it because of scheduling issues while Pakistan too decided to skip it.

They said all the participating countries have a “very high degree of convergence” on the security implications of the Taliban seizing power in Afghanistan and the focus of the dialogue will be to have cooperation on practical terms to deal with the challenge.

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