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NSA Doval welcomes Russian counterpart, Nikolai Patrushev at regional security conference on Afghanistan

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval with his counterpart from Russia, Nikolai Patrushev in New Delhi on Wednesday

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval has welcomed his counterpart from Russia, Nikolai Patrushev, kickstarting a major security conference on Afghanistan, in which all the Central Asian countries as well as Iran are active participants.

This is the second occasion in two months when Doval is hosting Patrushev to draw convergence on the situation in Afghanistan, which has been taken over by the Taliban, triggering a wave of unrest among the country’s minorities including ethnic Tajiks, Uzbeks and Shia Hazaras. The Islamic State-Khorasan (ISIS-K) has carried out a spate of horrific terror attacks in the country following the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul on August 15.

Ahead of Wednesday’s conference, NSA Doval had met his Tajik and Uzbek counterparts in New Delhi and had a detailed exchange of views on Afghanistan, with significant convergence of assessments.

Significantly they agreed that the Taliban government must first seek recognition from Loya Jirga (tribal council) and the religious council in Afghanistan before asking for international recognition. 

In defining a two-stage process, New Delhi, Tashkent and Dushanbe were on the same page that “the future of Afghanistan must be decided by the people of Afghanistan themselves,” a source said.

They also expressed concerns regarding the sharp rise in terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan after the Taliban took over the war-torn country in mid-August.

While the three top security advisers shared the view that the legitimacy of any Afghan government within Afghanistan was “important before the issue of its international recognition,” their other major concern was the looming humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

“The Taliban must have the trust of the people of Afghanistan including Shia Hazaras, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and most importantly the women of the country,” was the main concern during these meetings. They recognised the Taliban as the main contender but they must get recognition from Afghans. 

Also Read: India, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan agree that Taliban must first form an inclusive government before seeking international legitimacy

The Patrushev-Doval meeting is taking the cue from a key conversation on August 24, between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The two leaders. known for their warm personal chemistry, had decided to establish a new mechanism that would focus and coordinate the positions of the two countries on Afghanistan. The new institutional arrangement is expected to unroll during Patrushev’s visit.

Diplomatic sources told India Narrative that insulating Central Asia and other neighbouring countries from the possible radiation of terrorism from Afghanistan during the post-Taliban phase is expected to engage the two interlocutors.

The Russian side is keen that India strongly supports and bolsters the military resilience of the secular Central Asian Republics especially Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan to counter a possible onslaught of radicalism from Afghanistan.

Also Read: India and Russia could be thinking big after Doval-Patrushev talks on Afghanistan