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

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One of the CEO's spokesmen, Omid Maisam, said the only way to ensure peace in Afghanistan is to put pressure on the Taliban and on countries which are supporting the group.

In his address, Lavrov said all countries of the region and the entire worldwide community would like to see Afghanistan as a peaceful, independent and prospering country, free of terrorism and drug trafficking.

In his opening remarks at the conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia and the countries of the region will continue to do everything possible to launch dialogue between Afghan government and the Taliban, which is banned in Russia. "India's consistent policy has been that such efforts should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned, and Afghan-controlled and with the participation of the Government of Afghanistan", the MEA said. Despite multiple media reports, the meeting was not officially confirmed by the United States government, however.

Other invitees to the 'Moscow format meet on Afghanistan, ' which will bring together deputy foreign ministers and special representatives, have all confirmed their participation.

He said before caring about Afghanistan New Delhi must take care of sufferings of people of J&K, who have been facing the wrath since last 30 years.

"We confirmed to them [Taliban representatives] that we are ready to go on negotiations without conditions", he said. This time around, Afghanistan's government has announced a four-member team from its High Peace Council for the event. This was the first time since the IC-814 hijack in 1999 that Indian government representatives publicly engaged with the Taliban.

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This is the first time that a Taliban delegation is taking part in such high-level worldwide meeting, says Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman. The US and India also pulled out of the talks prompting Russian Federation to postpone the "Moscow format" talks indefinitely.

"We will not tolerate a single U.S. soldier in Afghanistan", said the head of the Taliban delegation at the global meeting on Afghanistan in Moscow, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, adding that the insurgent group's "main goal" is to "put an end" to the 17-year-long "invasion" led by the United States and its allies. "Therefore, we won't hold negotiations with it. Kabul didn't even send a representative to this conference".

"This conference is not about holding negotiations with any party whatsoever; rather it is about finding a peaceful solution to the issue of Afghanistan".

Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai, the head of the Taliban's political wing which has headquarters in Qatar, said the group would not negotiate directly with Kabul and demanded that all foreign troops leave Afghanistan. He also added that the meeting will discuss an end to the American invasion and discuss regional peace.

The Afghan foreign ministry emphasised that the council did not represent the Afghan government at the meeting, however, but was acting as a "national" non-government institution.

In response, the Russian embassy in New Delhi said: "The Russian embassy welcomes Indian as well as other respected countries' participation in the Moscow format talks".

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