Senior U.S. diplomat Alice G. Wells said the U.S. believes that Afghanistan will need to build a “healthy relationship” with India since the latter is an important partner in Afghanistan’s development. “India is going to be a critical player and is a critical player [in Afghanistan],” Wells, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, said while talking to reporters about U.S. priorities in the region.
The comments were made in the midst of U.S. Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad’s meetings with top Taliban and Afghan officials as he mediates intra-Afghan peace talks. He had also visited India in early May, despite the countrywide lockdown, to meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. Khalilzad had then laid importance to India’s role in maintaining sustainable peace, security and stability in Afghanistan.
Increasing violence in Afghanistan paired with the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered progress on the next phase of the peace negotiations in Afghanistan.