The US Special Representative Khalilzad met with Indian top officials to underscore their support in the efforts to bringing peace to Afghanistan.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US Special Representative for Afghanistan reconciliation met with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Thursday in Delhi and briefed them on progress in the peace process that has faltered in the past few weeks.
Khalilzad, in the meeting, expressed that the US recognizes India’s “constructive contribution” to Afghanistan.
The Indian side expressed deep concern about the increase in violence in Afghanistan, making a particular mention of the need to protect “Afghan Hindus and Sikhs” and India’s support for a ceasefire to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic.
The meeting was also attended by US National Security Council Director Lisa Curtis and U.S. Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster.
Following the meeting, a statement was released by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs saying, “The US side recognized India’s constructive contribution in economic development, reconstruction and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. They laid importance to India’s crucial and continuing role in sustainable peace, security, and stability in Afghanistan.”
“EAM and NSA reiterated India’s continued support for strengthening peace, security, unity, democratic and inclusive polity and protection of rights of all sections of the Afghan society, including Afghan Hindus and Sikhs,” the statement added.
Khalilzad is on a 3-city trip to Doha, Delhi, and Islamabad, confirmed by a US State Department press release Wednesday, noting “At each stop, he will urge support for an immediate reduction in violence, accelerated timeline for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations, and cooperation among all sides in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic in Afghanistan.
”The aim of the trip is said to be building support for the full implementation of the US-Taliban agreement confronted by differences between the Afghan government and the Taliban – over the release of prisoners.
Reportedly, Khalilzad’s next stop is Islamabad to stress the need for a ceasefire and support in starting the intra-Afghan talks.
BRIEF HISTORY: SINCE 2002, PRESS RESTRICTIONS WERE GRADUALLY RELAXED AND PRIVATE MEDIA DIVERSIFIED. FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND THE PRESS IS PROMOTED IN 2004.
SINCE THEN MORE THAN 30 AFGHANISTAN BASED TELEVISION CHANNELS BOTH TERRESTRIAL AND SATELLITE AND AROUND 100 RADIO FM STATIONS STARTED OPERATION IN THE COUNTRY.
FOREIGN RADIO STATIONS, SUCH AS VOICE OF AMERICA AND BBC WORLD SERVICE, ALSO BROADCAST INTO THE COUNTRY.