India Looks to Iran, Russia to Preserve Its Interests in Afghanistan as US Draws Down Presence

In November 2018, India sent a delegation comprising two former diplomats to Russia to attend the “Moscow-format” talks themed around the security situation in Afghanistan. Representatives of 12 countries attended the talks, which also marked the first time that Indian government representatives sat at a table with the Taliban*.

Indian Foreign Minister Subramaniam Jaishankar on Wednesday embarked on a two-day visit to Russia, with the security situation in Afghanistan set to be one of the priorities during his bilateral consultations in Moscow, as per officials.

An Indian Foreign Ministry statement said on Tuesday evening that Jaishankar would be holding talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, and Chairman of the State Duma Committee on International Affairs Leonid Slutsky during his Moscow trip.

​Meanwhile, Jaishankar made a stopover in Tehran on Wednesday, en route to Moscow.

Incidentally, Jaishankar’s Iran visit came on the same day as Tehran hosted a high-level Taliban delegation for talks with representatives of the Afghan government.

​​According to the Taliban’s official spokesperson, the delegation was headed by senior negotiator Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. The Taliban leaders also met Afghan government representatives, led by former Vice President Younus Qanooni.

The development comes at a time when the Islamist insurgent group is continuing its assault on Afghan government positions, even as Kabul…

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