In a huge development, the Indian government has opened channels of communication with Taliban leaders including chief of their political office Mullah Baradar, it has been reported.
The outreach is largely being led by Indian security officials and has been limited to Taliban factions and leaders that are perceived as being “nationalist” or outside the sphere of influence of Pakistan and Iran, Indian newspaper Hindustan Times reported . The outreach has been underway for some months, though it continues to be exploratory in nature, the paper said.
In the case of Mullah Baradar, messages were exchanged by the two sides though there was no confirmation of a meeting. There have also been conversations with other Taliban factions despite a lack of trust on both sides, the paper said.
“We have tried the earlier option of not engaging the Taliban and putting all our efforts into the Northern Alliance,” the paper quoted a sourc as saying, referring to the front that was created against the former Taliban regime in the late 1990s.
“But there has been a huge shift since then and there are some who think it might be better to have a line of communication with some Taliban leaders,” the paper quoted another source as saying.