Pakistan NSA among those invited for India's Afghanistan conference

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NEW DELHI: Russia and Pakistan are among the countries India has invited for a meeting of the NSAs on the Afghanistan situation that India has proposed to host next month. TOI had first reported Saturday that India had proposed its own international conference on Afghanistan and that Pakistan was also among the countries whose participation was being considered.
China, Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also said to have been invited for the regional conference that will look to address the humanitarian crisis in the war-ravaged country, along with the security situation and the need for the Taliban to uphold human rights. Sources said the NSAs of invited countries have already received invites from Indian authorities.
The Taliban though have not yet been invited for the proposed conference in the second week of November. While Russia has invited Taliban for the Moscow Format talks on October 20, in which India too will participate, the Indian government is wary of hosting them here, given that the government in Kabul is yet to address the international community's demands for inclusivity and for upholding human rights, including that of women, children and minorities. Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted as saying Friday that the interim government formed by the Taliban "regrettably doesn't reflect the entire spectrum of Afghan society".
It will also be interesting to see what role Pakistan plays in the conference, or if the Pakistan NSA, Moeed Yusuf, even chooses to participate physically in the conference. Despite maintaining that Pakistan is yet to rein in India-oriented terror groups like LeT and JeM, India has dropped enough hints to suggest that it's not averse to working with Islamabad if the latter is really intent on checking cross-border terrorism. India's decision to send three senior officials to Pakistan for an SCO anti-terror exercise is a good case in point. The visit by Yusuf, if it happens, will be keenly followed also because it will be the first high-level visit by either side since then-Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz's trip to Amritsar in 2016 for a Heart of Asia conference.

Yusuf, in fact, was also among the NSAs invited for a conference on Afghanistan that Indian had proposed in May this year. The meeting couldn't take place though because of the deadly second wave of Covid-19 in Delhi.
While emphasising on the need for the Taliban to ensure Afghan territory isn't used for targeting others or for sheltering terrorists, India will also seek unhindered access to humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan in the conference.

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