A USA embassy statement said that Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells visited Islamabad November 6-7 to review key items on bilateral agenda, including the upcoming Geneva Conference on Afghanistan and joint efforts to advance the Afghan peace process. Ministry of External Affairs' official spokesperson, Raveesh Kumar said, "Our participation at the meeting will be at the non-official level".
She emphasized the conference is exclusively aimed at facilitating a "conducive atmosphere for bilateral or multilateral dialogue formats" to promote a negotiated solution to the Afghan problem as soon as possible.
About why India's stand had undergone a shift vis-à-vis the Taliban, The Hindu quoted government officials as saying that the decision was the outcome of "close discussions with the Afghanistan government", and it was felt necessary for India to have a "presence" there.
US State Department deputy spokesman Robert Palladino on Wednesday night confirmed the US embassy in Moscow would send a representative to Friday's meeting in the Russian capital on Afghanistan.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that "we reaffirm our position on the lack of alternative to a political settlement in Afghanistan and the need for active coordinated efforts by Afghanistan's neighboring countries and regional partners".
The Moscow meet will be attended by representatives of the Taliban.
India's move of sending former diplomats to a meet where the Taliban delegates are expected to be present perhaps reflects a delicate act of balance and a sign of our commitment towards peace.
She noted that participants will be sitting across a big table in the same hall.
A Taliban delegation met with USA peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar in October to discuss ending the Afghan conflict.
"The meeting is taking place today (Friday)".
It said the meeting was "about holding comprehensive discussions on finding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary and ending the American occupation".
The Taliban sent five representatives to Moscow but insisted they would not hold any negotiations with the delegation from Kabul.
Rasheed asked New Delhi to introspect and answer if it can talk to the Taliban why not to united Jihad Council and other militant groups who are sacrificing their lives only to see Kashmir issue getting resolved.
"America does want to and needs to leave Afghanistan but we need to leave the Afghan government in charge and not to let the return of Taliban", former naval intelligence officer John Jordan told RT, adding that Afghanistan has turned into "a problem that everyone wants to solve but no one wants to own".
In a statement issued this week by the Taliban, the group said: "Taliban political envoys will attend the meeting but the participation does not mean they will hold talks with anyone".
Shaheen also denied accusations by the USA military that Russian Federation has supplied weapons to the Taliban, echoing a similar denial by Moscow. The latest talks occurred last month where newly appointed special envoy for Afghanistan reconciliation, Zalamay Khalilzad, led the USA team.
It would be better for New Delhi to invite the militant leadership of J&K and Pakistan for the talks if it is really interested in bringing stability in the entire region.
"His release was facilitated by Pakistan at the US request in order to move forward on the shared objective of pursuing a political settlement in Afghanistan". The man, popularly known as Mullah Baradar, was second-in-command of the Taliban at the time of his arrest. "He was released to provide impetus to the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan", said Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal.