Afghanistan doesn't rule out India training its troops

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by ejazr, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Afghan doesn't rule out India training its troops - Rediff.com India News

    Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States Eklil Ahmad Hakimi has not ruled out the possibility of India [ Images ] training Afghanistan's security forces and national army sometime in the future if the necessity arises.

    But he also said that as of now, the training and equipping of his country's forces by NATO and the US has been 'satisfactory.'

    In an interaction with the newly minted Washington Indian News Group, comprising correspondents of Indian newspapers and online media based in DC, Hakimi, asked if Afghanistan would like India to play a larger role in terms of the strategic situation in this country and train its security forces, since it's an idea that has been floating around, replied, "Up to now, we have received tremendous support from India on the reconstruction of Afghanistan, mainly concentrated on development projects."

    But as far as the training of security forces and the Afghan national army, the envoy said, "The support of NATO and also from the United States up to now Â…training and equipping them is something that is at a satisfactory level."

    However, Hakimi, a career diplomat, who has served stints as Afghanistan's ambassador to China and Japan [ Images ] and as deputy minister for political affairs in 2010, said, "But if it is needed, we can ask our friendly countries for their support."

    He reiterated that as of now the coalition forces that were fighting alongside the Afghan troops in the war against the Al Qaeda [ Images ] and Taliban [ Images ], were providing adequate logistical support and training to the Afghan security forces.

    Earlier, Hakimi was profuse in his gratitude for India's contributions to the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts for the past 10 years.


    "That is something we are grateful for. Up to $2 billion we have received and also in the pipeline for different parts -- health, education energy and one of the main projects is the building of the Afghan parliament."

    Meanwhile, he said that the reconciliation process with the Taliban was progressing on an even clip and "the channel of communication with different opposition groups" were proceeding, "and our hope is to communicate as much as we can to these opposition forces that they denounce violence, they cut ties with Al Qaeda and they obey the Afghan Constitution."

    Hakimi said, "Up to now, we are now in the trust-building phase," but noted that as far as re-integration of the Taliban was concerned, "we have done quite well -- up to now, more than 1,500 opposition forces have laid down their arms."

    The ambassador said that India was being kept fully apprised of this reconciliation process and that New Delhi [ Images ] was in fact supportive of it.

    He also said that New Delhi was being regularly briefed on the announced withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan since India has expressed concerns that with the Taliban once again proving to be a potent force, Pakistan would use it as its proxy as it had done earlier when the US cut and ran to acquire strategic depth against India.

    "We received assurances from the Indian government that they are supporting reconciliation and we are grateful for that," he said. "All these different phases of reconciliation we have discussed and we have received assurances from our Indian partners."

    Hakimi said, "Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh recently visited Afghanistan and we have discussed different topics with him and most recently according to the invitation of the Prime Minister, the High Peace Council headed by our former president went to New Delhi and they had a lot of discussions in different areas."

    "So, I am sure there was a lot of exchange of views and there is a better understanding about what is going on in Afghanistan in regard to the transition," he said.

    When asked how Pakistan's paranoia about any Indian involvement in the reconciliation process and more broadly India's conspicuous presence in Afghanistan's development and reconstruction can be alleviated, Hakimi acknowledged that "we also think that Pakistan could play a crucial role for the success of the reconciliation."

    "For that it requires a balance and both these are important countries and they support and they want to be in a position to support," he said, and declared, "It is important for both countries to make sure that the Afghanistan government will succeed in their efforts of the reconciliation process."

    But Hakimi asserted that "we are in a very early stage. We are at a stage of trust-building and different mechanisms and channels that we are focused in and we are in direct contact with Pakistan and also with India and different levels of exchanges."

    However, he said it was too early to predict that kind of reconciliation would ultimately occur, "but that's the main purpose for these exchanges and mechanism to find common groundÂ…not only with Pakistan and India, but also other international partners as well."

    On the recent attack by the Taliban that killed more than 30 American troops and Afghan soldiers, including at least 20 elite US Navy SEALS who belonged to the unit that was responsible for the killing of Osama bin Laden [ Images ] inside Pakistan, Hakimi dismissed the contention that this would prove to be a massive propaganda and recruiting tool for the Taliban.

    "As you know, most of the time, the Taliban, they have been exaggerating about what they have been doing," he said. "But about this particular case, it's under investigation. We really don't know the real picture and as far as we know, this chopper was crashed. But there are a lot of other speculations but until we complete the investigation we cannot say more."

    Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC
     
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  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    What reconciliation are we talking about here? Don't tell me Taliban reconciliation. Otherwise we just wasted our money in a country that can never come to this era from 7th century deserts of Arabia.
     
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