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CIA chief William Burns meets NSA Ajit Doval amid formation of Taliban govt

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: CIA chief William Burns was in Delhi and met with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Tuesday. The meeting took place on the day the Taliban announced the names of the people running Afghanistan, with a man on the UN sanctions list designated as prime minister.

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The details of what Mr Doval and the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) chief discussed are not known, but in the backdrop of the Taliban government formation in Afghanistan, security issues were on top priority.

India was among the countries that evacuated their mission staff from Kabul when the Taliban took the Afghan capital three weeks ago. Russia and Pakistan had stayed put.

The CIA chief’s meeting with Mr Doval would likely have included India’s concerns over the developments in Afghanistan. India has said it expects the Taliban not to allow terror groups to operate from its soil to target India, especially foment trouble in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr Doval is also meeting his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in Delhi today. Issues relating to China, Pakistan and Afghanistan will be the focus at the meeting, sources have said.

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India’s Ambassador to Russia DB Venkatesh Varma, however, said talks with the Taliban in Doha have not yielded the right results. “…India was not a direct participant in the Doha talks. India was also not part of the Troika Plus mechanism, but as I said, these mechanisms have not yielded the right results. I think one lesion is that it is better that India and Russia work together with respect to Afghanistan. That is the most important lesson for us,” Mr Venkatesh said, referring to the Qatar-hosted talks with the Taliban that paved the way for the US pullout from Afghanistan after a 20-year war.

Pakistan interfering in Afghanistan’s affairs remains a concern for India. Pakistan continues to foment a “culture of violence” at home and across its borders, India said on Tuesday, criticising Islamabad for using the platform of the United Nations for hate speech against India.

“A culture of peace is not just an abstract value or principle to be discussed and celebrated in conferences, but needs to be actively built into global relationships between and among member states,” First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Vidisha Maitra said in the UN General Assembly.

“We have witnessed yet another attempt today by the delegation of Pakistan to exploit a UN platform for hate speech against India, even as it continues to foment a culture of violence at home and across its borders. We dismiss and condemn all such efforts,” she said.

Mullah Mohammad Hassan, the little-known head of the Taliban’s leadership council, was named as acting Prime Minister in Afghanistan. Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the main public face of the group who signed a peace deal with the Trump administration last year, will serve as his deputy.

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