Express News Service
NEW DELHI: In an exclusive interview, Afghanistan’s ambassador to India, Farid Mamundzay speaks on how the current peace dialogue is not meaningful and how Pakistan could have played a constructive role in tackling the Taliban.
The US is withdrawing troops completely from Afghanistan by end of August, much earlier than expected. Do you think it has affected Afghanistan’s preparedness and hence resulted in deterioration of the security situation?
Yes. Withdrawal of US and NATO forces had a negative impact on the security situation of the country. There has been a feeling among wider segments of our population that the global community has abandoned us. That has hit the morale of our security forces. As result, we saw an emboldened Taliban.
How big a factor is Pakistan in the resurgence of Taliban?
Pakistan could have played a more constructive role by helping the Afghan government and people eliminate Taliban’s sanctuaries on their soil. Pakistan helps them mobilise resources and they operate from Pakistan to inflict harm on Afghanistan. Our request to Islamabad has been to stop Taliban from committing atrocities and deal with it in a manner required. We haven’t seen any concrete action which would show that the mindset in Pakistan has changed.
What is your assessment of negotiations with Taliban, especially with more than one channel like the Istanbul Process, Qatar Negotiations in place? Has these been successful?
There is currently no meaningful dialogue with Taliban. What we see in Qatar or talks in Istanbul or meetings in Moscow are just optics. There is no genuine appetite on the part of the Taliban to resolve the conflict through peace settlement. The peace process from September till today has not delivered. We are nowhere where we should have been.
India has been a consistent partner for Afghanistan, with development projects close to $3 billion. What steps are you taking to protect Indian interests?
India has assisted us with infrastructure projects, education support and trade and commerce assistance. We would want India’s involvement in peace related efforts for a number of reasons. India has not been a part of peace talks, particularly the extended troika, which is something we are not pleased about. Infrastructure projects by India are not only for the government but also for the people of that region and they are mindful about the benefits. There are instances where they have protected the projects.