14:10 GMT23 September 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): US President Donald Trump's move to back out of talks with the Taliban is a mistake, according to former Indian diplomats and security experts on Monday.

    Under President Trump, American foreign policy has been unpredictable and Afghanistan may have placed too much hope in the President's ability to end the conflict in their country, Indian analysts believe.

    Former Indian diplomat Gopalaswami Parthasarathy says it didn’t surprise him at all to see the cancellation of talks with the Taliban.

    “America’s foreign policy under President Trump has been unpredictable. What needs to be kept in mind is US presidential elections will be held in November next year. Trump was very keen to gain political mileage by withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan.”

    According to Security Expert Qamar Agha, it’s clear that neither the US nor the Taliban were speaking the same language: “Both were negotiating with separate agendas.”

    “We must keep in mind that within the Taliban there are divisions – one faction supports dialogue with the Americans and the Afghan government while others are flourishing in this atmosphere of instability. We must understand that they are warlords actually,” he added.

    Both Parthasarathy and Agha viewed Pakistan’s appeal to Washington and the Taliban to resume negotiations soon with some scepticism.

    While Parthasarathy, the former Indian envoy to Pakistan, described it as the “usual propaganda”, Agha was more pointed in his assessment.

    “Pakistan’s military interests are also clashing with American military interests. The duality surfaces in the context of Islamabad offering an indirect helping hand in the hope that US will use its influence to tone down FATF (Financial Action Task Force) sanctions, if not facilitate their lifting,” Agha said.

    “It is essential to be aware that millions of dollars are involved in these on again-off again negotiations. The Americans are not going to leave Afghanistan. They are only keen to come out of combat positions and will continue to maintain their bases in that region," he added.

    “American attention is presently on Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. Iran is at the forefront. The US still doesn’t understand Afghanistan too well,” he added.

    India would not be impacted by the cancellation of the US-Taliban talks because New Delhi has been consistent in highlighting its distrust of the Taliban and its willingness to do business with the elected government in Kabul, Parthasarathy and Agha both said.

    Agha went a step further, saying he expected the Northern Alliance, a united military front that was active in Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, to re-emerge and make an impact in the Central Asian country.

    The views of Indian experts came a day after Washington opted to suspend negotiations for a peace deal with the Taliban movement.

    Prior to the cancellation of talks by President Trump, both sides had taken part in nine rounds of negotiations with the US prepared to withdraw troops in exchange for the Taliban's guarantee that it would cut ties to terrorist organisations and ensure that the country would not become a safe haven for terrorists.

    The Taliban leaders, in turn, have repeatedly said they are not discussing intra-Afghan talks or a ceasefire with the US.         

    The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect Sputnik's position.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    policy experts, possible impact, talks, Taliban, Afghanistan, United States, India
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