Sat, 04 Jul 2020

New Delhi [India], Sep 9 (ANI): US President Donald Trump's decision to call off the peace talks with the Taliban is a 'good step', said former senior diplomat Suresh K Goel, adding that the deal would have otherwise authorised the terror group to exercise more power in the strife-torn country.

"Trump's cancellation of the deal is a good step otherwise it could have provided more authority to the Taliban," Goel, a former Director-General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), told ANI.

The veteran IFS officer of 1978 batch had also served as a Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and was India's Ambassador to Laos before joining the ICCR.

The diplomat opined that importance should be given to the elected government in Kabul and other socio-economic development that would bring peace in the country nearly two-decades of turmoil.

The US has been holding talks with the Taliban in the last few months at Doha despite the group's reluctance to hold direct talks with the Afghan government, which it views as a US puppet.

The peace deal envisages the withdrawal of foreign troops in exchange for the Taliban's guarantee that it would cut ties to terrorist organisations and ensure that the country would not become a safe haven for terrorists.

In addition, another former bureaucrat, Pavan Verma also reinstated that making a repeated effort to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban at the cost of the elected government in Afghanistan would be detrimental to America's interests.

Speaking to ANI, Verma said, "Trump is desperate to move out of Afghanistan. It is, therefore, trying to negotiate a possible peace deal with the Taliban. But America should be careful neither to over trust the Taliban, nor to have any illusions with regard to the group which is a fundamentalist terrorist organisation.""America should understand that ultimately making peace with the Taliban at the cost of the elected government in Afghanistan would be detrimental to America's interests," he added.

In addition, Verma, who is also the spokesperson of Janata Dal, also stressed that Pakistan at present has been given a lot of importance by Washington which has a view that the cash-strapped nation might enable it to negotiate with the Taliban.

"But the United States has to understand how much to trust Pakistan," stressed the diplomat, adding that America, at the same time, "should also not undermine the Kabul government which has been elected by the people of Afghanistan."Last Saturday, Trump said he had called off peace negotiations with the Taliban after the group claimed responsibility for the Kabul car bombing which killed 12 people, including an American soldier.

In a series of tweets later, the US president said he had also cancelled a separate meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who is currently in Washington to seek Trump's help regarding the deal that has reached its final stage.

In addition, the Afghan government has also reiterated its stance on holding the presidential elections on September 28 to make sure the establishment of a legitimate government through the ballot box and to move forward the ongoing peace process with full wisdom and precision. (ANI)

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