India has for the first time tried to engage with the Afghan Taliban factions and leaders, including Mullah Baradar, against the backdrop of the rapid drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan, a report said.
According to the report by the Hindustan Times, the outreach is largely being led by Indian security officials and has been limited to Taliban factions and leaders that are perceived as being “nationalist” or outside the sphere of influence of Pakistan and Iran, one of the people cited above said on condition of anonymity.
According to the report, the outreach has been underway for some months, though it continues to be exploratory in nature.
“…what’s certain is civil war and a Taliban takeover of Kabul in months, if not weeks, without a political settlement. Therefore, it appears India is moving to protect its interests by opening a dialogue with the Taliban,” the report quoted Sameer Patil, fellow for international security studies at Gateway House, as saying.
“Moreover, by shedding its traditional reluctance to talk to the Taliban, India is maintaining its relevance in the Afghan peace process. This is the only way by which India can reduce the adverse impact of a deterioration in Afghanistan’s security situation,” the report quoted Patil, as saying.