If Delhi can talk to Taliban why not Kashmir militants

In a departure from India’s stand on engaging the Taliban New Delhi has announced it would participate at a “non-official” level sending two former senior diplomats to attend talks on the Afghanistan peace process to be held in Russia on Thursday

Russian Federation says the Moscow talks marked the first time that a Taliban delegation had taken part in such high-level worldwide meeting.

The United States and the Afghan government turned down invitations to formally participate in the meeting on grounds that they support only direct talks between the government and the Taliban.

"We have made it clear already that our participation is at a non-official level +".

Representatives from Iran, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan arrived for the talks, officials said. "The latest talks occurred last month where newly appointed special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalamay Khalilzad, led the US team".

"We confirmed to them [Taliban representatives] that we are ready to go on negotiations without conditions", he said. This time, the Afghan government hasn't sent its envoys, but several members of the government-appointed Peace Council are attending the event. This will be the first appearance by the Taliban at such an worldwide conference, Zakharova emphasized.

Taliban representatives have reaffirmed their group's position that they will not hold direct talks with Afghanistan's Western-backed government, as they attended Russian-hosted global talks aimed at bringing an end to the country's long-running conflict. Those meetings, though, have been described as "talks before talks" and have yet to lead to more direct negotiations with the United States.

Russian Federation had sent invitations to the talks to Afghanistan, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the United States and the Afghan Taliban.

In a November 6 statement, the jihadi group said, "It is a conference about holding comprehensive discussions on finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary and ending American occupation". The attack on an army outpost in Takhar province happened as the US envoy, Khalilzad arrived in Afghanistan to kick off his peace tour.

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After the talks, in a joint statement, the two sides declared their support to the Afghan government's efforts towards the realisation of an Afghan-led, and Afghan-owned national peace reconciliation process.

Participants at the meeting focused on launching direct inter-Afghan dialogue aiming at stabilization of the country and "agreed to continue consultations within the framework of this mechanism", the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a final communique following the meeting.

A five-member delegation from the Qatar-based "political office" of the Taliban will take part in Friday's meeting.

The Taliban sent five representatives to Moscow but insisted they would not hold any negotiations with the delegation from Kabul.

According to Russian news agency TASS, this is for the second time, Russia is attempting to bring regional powers together while discovering ways for establishing peace in war-torn Afghanistan.

Representatives of the key regional countries and a representative of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow have also participated in the summit.

The meeting drew considerable criticism from Kabul as it did not involve the Afghan government.

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