Fri, 14 May 2021

New Delhi [India], April 16 (ANI): India has noted the United States' decision to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, and has expressed concerns over the increase in the violence and targeted killings in the war-torn country.

In a statement, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday said New Delhi is of the view that an Afghan peace process should be Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled and any political settlement must be inclusive and should preserve the socio-economic and political gains of the past 19 years. India has also called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire.

US President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced that he would begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan on May 1 to end America's longest war.

"We have noted the decision of the United States to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and to end its military operations there. We are closely following the ongoing intra-Afghan peace process. Afghan people have seen more than four decades of war and unrest and deserve long-lasting peace and development," the MEA statement read.

"India supports a united, democratic and sovereign Afghanistan. We are deeply concerned about the increase in violence and targeted killings in Afghanistan. India has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire," it added.

India, Bagchi said, participated in the Doha Conference, the Geneva Conference and recently, the Heart of Asia Conference in Dushanbe. "India remains engaged with the Afghan stakeholders and also our regional and international partners regarding next steps," the statement noted.

Afghanistan has been marred by insurgency for two decades.

The United States accepted the Taliban demands for the withdrawal of all US troops from the country at the Doha meeting in February 2020. An agreement was signed during the meet between the Taliban and the United States with an aim to end the 18-year-old conflict in Afghanistan.

The agreement calls for a full US withdrawal from Afghanistan if the terror group upholds counterterrorism commitments such as denying safe haven to al Qaeda. (ANI)

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