Afghanistan's future be decided by its people: India, US

India and the US have agreed that Afghanistan’s political future is for its people to decide through an inclusive and legitimate process, US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said on Tuesday after his talks with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and senior officials here.

Khalilzad, who was here for two days after visiting Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries in the region, said the US and India agreed on benefits that peace in the war-torn nation will bring, and address the threat of terrorist use of Afghanistan.

“By precluding the use of Afghan territory to attack any other nation, a peace agreement could strengthen ties by allowing the regional growth of trade and economies,” he said after holding talks on Afghan peace process with Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale.

He appreciated India’s expression of support for the US efforts, saying it strengthens an emerging international consensus.

“As the world’s oldest & largest democracies, we agreed that the gains made in the last 18 yrs should be preserved. We also agreed that Afghanistan’s political future is for Afghans to decide through an inclusive and legitimate process,” Khalilzad said in a series of tweets.

“We agreed on important benefits peace will bring: addressing the threat of terrorist use of Afghanistan; increased regional connectivity & trade,” the Special Representative added.

He also recognized the many important contributions India has made to Afghanistan’s development, according to a statement issued by the US Embassy here. Ambassador Khalilzad and his counterparts “discussed the many important benefits that peace would bring, including: preventing International terrorist use of Afghanistan as a platform for attacks; improved prospects for regional peace and security; and increased regional connectivity and trade”, the statement said.