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China, India pledge support for Afghan peace process

Beijing, New Delhi express support during meetings on sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Kyrgyzstan

In a key top level endorsement from regional powers, China and India have expressed support for the Afghan-led peace process on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, an official statement said on Friday.

Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani met his Chinese counterpart Xi Jin Ping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, according to the statement by the Afghan presidency.

China’s Xi also assured support for Afghanistan in various sectors within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, a grand infrastructure initiative by Beijing to connect Europe, Asia and Africa, the statement noted.

“The Chinese side firmly supports a comprehensive and inclusive Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process and will continue to actively encourage and promote talks through various channels to help the Afghan people achieve internal dialogue,” Xi was quoted as saying by Xinhua, the official news agency of China.

China backs the relations improved between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well, Xi was cited in the outlet, adding willingness to promote China-Afghanistan-Pakistan trilateral cooperation.

India’s Modi, for his part, underlined the friendly and strategic ties between the two countries in his meeting with Ghani, as well, read the Presidential Palace statement.

Last year saw the Taliban entering landmark face-to-face talks for peace with the U.S., but the Kabul government has yet to be made part of these talks.

In May, the U.S. expressed disappointment over postponement of the landmark peace conference between the Taliban and an Afghan peace delegation in Qatar.

Over 200 Afghan politicians and civil society representatives were set to meet the Taliban in the Qatari capital for what was set to be a momentous development endorsed by Kabul and Washington.

However, Taliban opposed and mocked the large size of the Afghan peace delegation saying the conference in Doha is not a “wedding party”.

The proposed talks are since faced with a deadlock amid efforts to revive the nascent peace process as the raging war continues to claim more lives in the war-ravaged country.

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