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India, Russia talk on joint efforts in Afghanistan

New Delhi, Sept 8 (UNI): A day after the Taliban announced formation of a caretaker government in Afghanistan, India and Russia on Wednesday held detailed deliberations on the situation in that country and touched upon the “prospects” for joint efforts aimed at “creating conditions for launching a peaceful settlement process on the basis of an intra-Afghan dialogue”.

During the talks here between India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and visiting Russian Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, the two sides agreed to coordinate their approaches in multilateral formats on the Afghan settlement, according to a statement issued by the Russian Embassy here.

The importance of defining parameters of the future state structure of Afghanistan by the Afghans themselves, as well as the need to prevent the escalation of violence, social, ethnic and confessional contradictions in the country, were also emphasised during the discussions, it said.

The exchange of views on the military, political and socio-economic situation in Afghanistan took place as a follow-up to the telephonic conversation between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 24.

The deliberations between the top officials of the two countries on Afghanistan assume significance as there are concerns that the takeover by the Taliban could lead to spurt in terrorism that can affect both India and Russia, besides other parts of Central Asia.

Significantly, the government named by the Taliban on Tuesday is headed by Mullah Hassan Akhund who figures as a global terrorist in the UN Sanctions List, like a number of his colleagues.

Doval and Patrushev also discussed deepening bilateral cooperation in the field of security with an emphasis on further interaction on the anti-terrorist track, combating illegal migration and drug trafficking, the Embassy statement said.

Attention was paid to intensifying joint work of both the country’s special services and military bodies, it said.

Patrushev is also to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and meet External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.

In a related development, the CIA director William Burns was reportedly in Delhi and met the NSA on Tuesday to discuss the Afghanistan developments. However, there was no official word on it.

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