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Former President Hamid Karzai could plug India into talks with the Taliban

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai could play a key role in plugging India into the Taliban’s governing council that is currently running Afghanistan.

The Shimla educated Karzai, a frequent visitor to New Delhi,  is a familiar figure among India’s political elite.

A Pashtun belonging to the Popalzai clan, Karzai is now part of the 12-member council that is currently governing Afghanistan, following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on August 15.

On Tuesday, Karzai and former Vice President Abdullah Abdullah, of Tajik ethnicity—also a familiar face in India—are part of the new council. Others include Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, with whom India has and outreach and former foreign minister Hanif Atmar.

Also read:  Mullah Baradar arrives in Kabul to set ball rolling for forming new govt in Afghanistan

The 12-member council in the making included Abdul Ghani Baradar, Mullah Yaqub, and Khalil-ur-Rehman Haqqani of the infamous Haqqani network.

Karzai immediately assumed the role of elder statesman as soon as the Taliban overran Kabul on August 15. In a widely circulated video message ,Karzai appeared with his daughters by his side, calling for a joint effort to save Afghanistan.

"I would like to inform Kabul residents that my family and I, my daughters, are all here," he observed.

"I hope the country's problems are solved through talks and negotiations," he said, striking the pragmatic tone he was known for during his years in power.

"I also ask all the security forces and the Taliban forces, wherever they are, to protect the lives and properties of the people and focus on the security of people."

Ever since, Karzai has been busy, serving as a bridge between foreign nations and the Taliban.

On Wednesday, Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah met with Iran’s ambassador in Kabul focusing on ways to restore stability in Afghanistan.

Tehran Times is reporting that during talks with Iran’s envoy Bahador Aminian, Karzai discussed formation of an inclusive government, which would end the power vacuum in the country. Simultaneously, it would enjoy national and international legitimacy as well.

Karzai’s accommodation in the mainstream apparently followed his meeting with Anas Haqqani, senior functionary of the Haqqani network — an important faction of the Taliban. Abdullah Abdullah, was also present in the meeting.

Karzai’s spokesperson said the meeting’s aim was to work out a meeting with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar—the Taliban’s face during the Doha negotiations with US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Baradar returned to Afghanistan last week for the first time in two decades.