Rabbani to visit India with 15-member delegation - Indian Express
Burhanuddin Rabbani, head of Afghanistan government’s peace council negotiating with Taliban, is expected to visit India for comprehensive talks with the Indian government on Thursday, sources told The Indian Express on Tuesday. Rabbani, who has been heading the council since October last year, is expected to lead a 15-member delegation to India.
Sources said the former Afghanistan President is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday afternoon. New Delhi’s initiative to host him and engage him was made when Singh had met him in Kabul in May this year.
Rabbani is expected to hold delegation-level talks with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, who will be accompanied by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and senior officials. He is also likely to meet Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
Sources said India will be keen to get a “first-hand account” from Rabbani, who has become the main negotiator with Taliban groups.
They said New Delhi will be interested in the “details” of the talks between prominent Taliban leaders and the peace council members.
Officials pointed out that New Delhi’s red-carpet for Rabbani, weeks after US President Barack Obama announced troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, is a sign of India’s interest and stakes in the affairs in Afghanistan.
Rabbani was the leader of Jamiat-e Islami Afghanistan and also served as the political head of the United National and Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (UNIFSA), an alliance of various political groups who fought against Taliban rule in Afghanistan. He served as President from 1992 to 1996 until he was forced to leave Kabul because of the Taliban takeover of the city.
His government was recognised by many countries, as well as the United Nations.