The U.S. envoy for Afghan peace Zalmay Khalilzad has said dialogue between India and Taliban is important, emphasizing that India should discuss its concerns on terrorism directly with the Taliban.

Speaking during an interview with The Hindu, Khalilzad said he discussed how India could play a “more active role” in the Afghan reconciliation process during his talks in Delhi on Thursday.

“India is an important force in Afghanistan and it would be appropriate for that [India-Taliban] engagement to take place,” Khallilzad said.

Khalilzad further added that India had a “significant role” in Afghanistan’s development, but paradoxically, doesn’t play a role in the international peace efforts.

“India and Afghanistan have historic ties, and I believe that dialogue between India and the Taliban is important, and it would be important that issues of concern like this [terrorism] are raised directly,” he added.

Responding to concerns regarding terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan, Khalilzad said “Look, our strong position is that there shouldn’t be [terror] sanctuaries on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and I believe that for peace to come to Afghanistan, there is a need for good relations amongst the neighbours and support for peace.”

I believe that the Pakistani leadership has supported the peace process, and thinks that the time has come for economic strategy, for trade and development and for Afghanistan to become a platform for regional cooperation and connectivity,” he said, adding that “We encourage and support those objectives.”

He also added “India and Afghanistan have historic ties, and I believe that dialogue between India and the Taliban is important, and it would be important that issues of concern like this [terrorism] are raised directly.”

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