India, Taliban to hold talks at Moscow Format meeting today

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Officials from India and the Taliban will meet face to face at the Moscow Format meeting hosted in Russia on October 20. The Moscow Format meeting hosted by Russia will be the first formal contact between New Delhi, India and the Taliban government.

These talks will bring together officials from 10 countries, including China and Pakistan. They are the most important international meeting the Taliban have held since their takeover of power in Afghanistan.

The Taliban delegation is headed by Deputy Prime Minister Abdul Salam Hanafi, while India will be led by JP Singh, the joint secretary who heads the Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran desk in the external affairs ministry.

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Sergei Lavrov (Russia's former foreign minister) will also address the gathering.

These talks are significant because one of the goals of the Moscow meeting was to consolidate "efforts by the international community to avoid a humanitarian crisis".

The Russian foreign ministry stated that the formation of an inclusive government would be on the agenda. Parties to the talks are expected to issue a joint statement following the meeting.

Moscow has hosted representatives of the Taliban in Moscow many times in recent years.

Although the United States pulled out of earlier talks due to logistical problems, it said that it still considered the Russian-led forum constructive.

Ned Price, a spokesperson for the State Department, stated that "we look forward to engaging with that forum going forward"

Since 2017, Russia has held the "Moscow Format" of talks to address Afghan problems. Since 2017, Moscow has hosted several rounds of talks.

(With inputs of agencies