Taliban to top Manmohan-Karzai talks

A day before Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrives here on a two-day visit, his Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul was in the capital on Sunday on a daylong trip for talks that are expected to see India airing its concerns over a proposal to reintegrate the Taliban in Afghanistan.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, when he meets Mr. Rassoul over dinner, is expected to raise India’s growing concerns over the proposed reintegration.

Mr. Rassoul is likely to brief the Indian side on the “peace jirga”, a meeting of tribal elders that is expected to be held next month after Mr. Karzai returns from Washington.

Ever since the January 28, 2010 London conference that cleared the way for reintegration of the Taliban into the Afghan mainstream, India has aired its anxieties many a time about any power-sharing arrangement with the hardline militia that could lead to an increased influence of Pakistan in the affairs of Afghanistan.

When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets Mr. Karzai on Monday, he is likely to caution the Afghan President about the perils of accommodating the Taliban into the government that New Delhi feels militates not only against its interests, but goes against the larger objective of restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai will leave for the Bhutanese capital Thimphu on Tuesday to participate in the 16th summit meeting of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

Mr. Singh will also convey India’s concerns over the volatile security situation in the country and review steps being taken to bolster security of over 3,500 Indians engaged in various reconstruction activities in the violence-torn country.

“We are constantly vigilant and seized of all these matters,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters here recently when asked to react on reports that suggest more attacks are being planned on Indians in Afghanistan.

Mr. Krishna told Parliament recently that India has no plans to scale down its operations in Afghanistan in the wake of the February 26, 2010 attack in Kabul in which seven Indians were killed.

He also stressed that it has comprehensively reviewed and enhanced security measures for the safety of its personnel and other Indians working there.

Seventeen Indians have been killed in Afghanistan since 2008.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2020 3:02:46 PM |

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