Afghan talks: Won’t go to India next week, says Pak NSA

Pakistan National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf said Tuesday that he would not be attending a meeting on Afghanistan being hosted by India on November 10-11.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad after meeting the Uzbekistan NSA, Yusuf said: “I will not go, a spoiler can’t be a peacemaker.” He was responding to a question on whether Pakistan would be attending the meeting.

With security concerns pertaining to Afghanistan dominating New Delhi’s mind, NSA Ajit Doval’s team is taking the initiative to hold an in-person meeting with key countries of the region and the world.

Sources said the country’s top security establishment, the National Security Council Secretariat, is taking the lead in organising the conference and invitations have been sent to Afghanistan’s neighbours such as Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and key players including Russia, China among others.

In Islamabad, Yusuf said: “I think the region’s obstacles are in front of you, there is no need for debate on this. On one hand is India… unfortunately (because of) the government’s behaviour and ideology there, I don’t see how this (peace) process will move forward — not just for Pakistan but the region.”

“The world has unfortunately kept its eyes closed and isn’t talking to India as it should,” he said.

He said if peace is established in Afghanistan, then it could become a major hub as a corridor of connectivity.

For Delhi, the meeting next week is important since the government has made it clear that it has red lines on the new Taliban dispensation in Afghanistan — that it should not allow safe havens for terror on its soil, the administration should be inclusive, and the rights of minorities, women and children must be protected.

But so far, the signs from the Taliban have not been encouraging. This has been the assessment shared by New Delhi with interlocutors ever since the Taliban formed its cabinet.

The Pakistan NSA’s response describing India as a “spoiler” shows that Rawalpindi is not yet playing ball and is not keen to participate in any process initiated by India.

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