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No exit strategy in Afghanistan: India at UN
March 18, 2014, 9:04 am

Afghan children play soccer in front of the ruined Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2012 [Getty Images]

Afghan children play soccer in front of the ruined Darul Aman Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 8, 2012 [Getty Images]

Taking a dig at Western nations on their Kabul policy, India has said it does not have the luxury of an “exit strategy” in Afghanistan even as uncertainty continues about a possible post-2014 NATO troop presence.

In a UN Security Council debate on the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), India reiterated its commitment to assist the war-torn nation as it called for an Afghan controlled-reconciliation process.

India rejects any effort to treat the government in Kabul on par with Taliban, India’s envoy to the UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji said.

“India does not have the luxury of an ‘Exit Strategy’ in Afghanistan, which shares a civilizational linkage with India,” he said.

Indian diplomats have stepped up efforts in recent times to reassure Kabul about support to rebuild the country.

“On the reconciliation process, we believe that this process must remain Afghan led, Afghan owned and Afghan controlled while respecting the agreed red lines. We do not endorse any effort to treat the government of Afghanistan on par with the Taliban,” he said.

Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid had visited Kandahar last month to inaugurate an Agricultural University in the country battling massive poverty even after a decade of international aid efforts.

India’s $2 billion aid package includes several big projects, including building the parliament complex in Kabul.

With the Afghan Presidential elections scheduled for April 5, Mukerji said India does not share the negativity and pessimism portrayed about the future of Afghanistan.

India, however, stressed that terrorism, which “emanates from beyond Afghanistan’s borders”, is a big threat to Afghan interests, as well as ”friends of Afghanistan” like India.

“It is unfortunate that those terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens and the financial and tactical support structures for terrorism are still active. It is necessary to demystify the notion that the problem in Afghanistan is one of rivalry between various ethnic or tribal groups,” he said.

“The real problem that Afghanistan continues to face is terrorism, which seeks to erode the efforts of Afghanistan and its friends to reconstruct the socio-economic fabric of the country,” Mukerji said.


 TBP and Agencies