Three more cities fall, Afghanistan government seeks emergency UN session

Resistance has been growing with several insurgent warlords, sidelined by the Ghani government, jumping into the fray.

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Kabul’s chief for reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Thursday appealed for an emergency UN Security Council session at a regional conference on Afghanistan in Doha. This could put the spotlight on New Delhi which holds the presidency of the UNSC. India was present at the meeting of the extended “Troika Plus” on Afghanistan on Thursday.

All those at the meeting agreed not to recognise any regime taking over by force and insisted on expediting peace talks. Local Afghan media reported that the Ashraf Ghani government had offered a share in power in exchange for cessation of violence. But there was no confirmation from Kabul.

The Taliban have taken over Herat, Qala Naw (Badhgis) and Ghazni. As was the case in Kunduz and Faizabad, the local governor and police chief are reported to have made a deal with the Taliban. However, they have been arrested, as per a government spokesperson.

Resistance has been growing with several insurgent warlords, sidelined by the Ghani government, jumping into the fray. Among them are Abdul Rashid Dostum, Mohamed Atta Noor and son of the late Ahmed Shah Masood. India was invited for the extended talks at Doha during a personal visit on August 7 by Qatar’s Special Envoy Mutlaq bin Majed Al-Qahtani.

MEA’s Joint Secretary (Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran) JP Singh represented India. Besides Turkey and Indonesia, the others present included Special Envoys of “Troika Plus” — the US, Russia, Pakistan and China — and representatives of the Taliban, the Afghan Government and host Qatar. The MEA said the government continued to closely monitor the situation with an eye on Afghan Hindu and Sikh minorities. The embassy in Kabul continues to remain in touch with Afghan Hindu and Sikh community members.

On contacts with the Taliban, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said “The government is in touch with various stakeholders.” On Pakistan’s role, the MEA said India had been actively discussing with others the need to stop “malign influences” from jeopardising the ongoing talks. “The world knows what kind of role Pakistan has played and what they have done,” he observed.

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