External affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Afghan counterpart Haneef Atmar on Tuesday discussed the latest developments in Afghanistan against the backdrop of a violent campaign by the Taliban to take control of territory.
Jaishankar and Atmar met in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe on the margins of a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The two ministers will also participate in a meeting of the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan on Wednesday.
The meeting provided an opportunity for the two sides to compare notes on developments in Afghanistan, especially the security situation, amid the rapid drawdown of US and foreign forces, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks on rural areas of numerous provinces, especially in northern Afghanistan, and taken control of key border crossings and regions bordering Iran, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The violence has coincided with the US saying it has completed 90% of the withdrawal of its troops and that the process will be completed by August 31.
After his meeting with Atmar, Jaishankar tweeted: “Began my Dushanbe visit by meeting with Afghan FM @MHaneefAtmar. Appreciate his update on recent developments. Looking forward to the meeting of the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan tomorrow.”
There were no other details on the meeting from the Indian side. While India is a member of the SCO, Afghanistan has observer status with the grouping.
Atmar said in a tweet that he would address the meeting of the SCO Contact Group on Afghanistan. “Also look forward to bilateral engagements with FMs of #SCO countries to discuss our cooperation on peace, security & economic development,” he added.
The Afghan foreign minister also held a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who tweeted: “Pakistan and Afghanistan’s destinies are intertwined. We believe working together will help us realise stronger regional connectivity and greater people-centric linkages. I look forward to receiving @MHaneefAtmar in Islamabad to continue our collective efforts.”
News Source: HindustanTimes