Afghan reconciliation process shouldn’t confer legitimacy to insurgent groups: India

Throwing its weight behind Afghanistan on Taliban issue, opening office in Doha, India said reconciliation process should not undermine legitimate Afghan government or confer legitimacy to insurgents.

New Delhi: Throwing its weight behind Afghanistan on the issue of Taliban opening a political office in Doha, India on Friday said reconciliation process should not undermine legitimate Afghan government or confer legitimacy to insurgent groups.
"The reconciliation process should not seek to create equivalence between an internationally recognised Afghan government and insurgent groups, confer legitimacy to insurgent groups or convey the impression of two competing state authorities for Afghanistan," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.

He said this "could undermine the legitimate Afghan state, Afghan government and the political, social and economic progress witnessed in Afghanistan over the past decade, to which the international community itself has contributed in great measure".

His remarks came at a time when Afghan President Hamid Karzai cancelled a proposed security dialogue with US, upset over the name of the Taliban office among others.

When the Qatar office opened on Tuesday, it used the title of the rebels` 1996-2001 government, the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" and flew the white Taliban flag.

Akbaruddin said India has followed developments relating to the opening of an office of the Taliban in Qatar and statements made by the representatives of that office and others.

"These statements reflect some confusion about the name of the Qatar office, its structure, its political and legal status, and its objectives," he said, adding the reaction of the Afghan government to these developments were also noted.

"Our position is clear. Government of India has always called for a broad-based Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan- controlled reconciliation process, within the framework of the Afghan Constitution and the internationally accepted red lines," he said.

The spokesperson underlined that such a process would necessarily recognise the centrality of the Government of Afghanistan in the process, and involve all sections of the Afghan society, as also the insurgent groups, including the Taliban, who wish to join the mainstream.

He said India remains committed to supporting the Afghan government and the people of Afghanistan, in accordance with the India-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, and a reconciliation process that has the support of the government and the people of Afghanistan.

India has cautioned Afghanistan over peace talks with the Taliban, saying the new initiative should not violate the "red lines" drawn up by the international community.

"We have from time to time reminded all stakeholders about the red lines that was drawn by the world community and certainly by the participants should not be touched, should not be erased and should not be violated," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had told reporters on Thursday in Baghdad.