Baghdad, June 20: 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 are 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 told reporters.
Khurshid's comments came a day after the Afghan Taliban announced opening of its political office in Qatari capital Doha and expressed willingness to hold peace talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government and other stakeholders. "The talks are (being held) between the high peace council and the chosen representatives of Taliban. Of course, the US had its role in encouraging this, perhaps even in precipitating this," said Khurshid, who is in Baghdad on a two-day official visit.
"But ultimately, it's between sovereign government of Afghanistan and citizens of Afghanistan who happen to pursue the ideology of the Taliban," he said. "We have also said ultimately it is for Afghanistan to take their own decisions and to ensure that the peace initiative should be Afghanistan-own and Afghanistan-driven. I will expect that the latest initiative would not depart from position," he said last evening.
The Afghan Taliban and its ally Haqqani network have been blamed for deadly suicide attacks on Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008 and 2009, that killed 58 and 16 people respectively. The militant group, which has waged over a decade long insurgency against the US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, said it was willing to use all legal means to end what it called the occupation of Afghanistan. The group, which has killed hundreds of US and Afghan soldiers and has been blamed for series of deadly attacks inside Afghanistan, however, did not say whether they would stop fighting or not. The Taliban's decision followed handover of security in Afghanistan to Afghan forces by the US-led NATO coalition. The Afghan government, yesterday, suspended talks with the US and threatened to boycott prospective contacts with the insurgents in Qatar, angry over the name given to a new Taliban office in Qatar that is meant to facilitate peace negotiations.