India will not hold talks with Taliban: MEA

Taliban join Moscow talks to kick start Afghanistan negotiations

Talks on Afghanistan, never said with Taliban, MEA spokesperson clarifies

Washington had turned down the invitation to the first meeting Moscow hosted a year ago, while the Taliban also had stayed away from it.

The MEA spokesperson said India will support any effort to continue the peace process consistent with the policy on Afghanistan - which is Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and with participation of the Afghanistan government. The U.S. military has accused Iran, Russia, and Pakistan of backing the Taliban. India is participating at "non-official" level, NDTV reported.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that "we reaffirm our position on the lack of an alternative to a political settlement in Afghanistan and the need for active coordinated efforts by Afghanistan's neighbouring countries and regional partners".

US President Donald Trump launched a revised Afghan plan more than a year ago that saw the US scrap any timetables for a US pullout and re-commit thousands more troops to Afghanistan, majority dedicated to training and advising local forces.

The High Peace Council (HPC) meanwhile on Saturday gave an update on its move to establish a negotiations team as requested by Khalilzad during his trip to Kabul last month.

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Last year, the US and the Taliban reportedly refused to attend the first meeting Moscow hosted.

But Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, who led the Taliban group, reiterated that the Taliban does not see the current government in Kabul as legitimate.

Washington has said its main priority is to ensure that Afghanistan is not used as a haven for militant attacks on the United States or its allies but has also said it does not expect its troops to remain in Afghanistan forever.

Calling New Delhi's claim that it's talking with Taliban along with other stakeholders in Masco to discuss Afghan issue as "laughable", MLA Langate Er Rasheed on Friday said that New Delhi stands exposed for its "hypocrisy, double standards and confusions". "And we made it very clear that our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level", Mr. Kumar said.

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".

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Instead, members of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, a body which oversees peace efforts but does not represent the government, attended the event, where they repeated President Ashraf Ghani's offer of peace talks without pre-conditions.

They will not hold "any sort of negotiations" with the delegation of Kabul administration, he said. "I have no doubts that the other participants of the Moscow format share this approach and that we all go by basic national interests of the Afghan people".

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.

"The fact that the Afghan government did not send an official representative sends a message that they are not fully committed to these talks", Yuri Barmin, a fellow with the Russian International Affairs Council, told Al Jazeera on Friday.

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