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Afghan reconciliation move must be transparent: India to UN

United Nations, Nov 21 (PTI) Affirming Afghanistan’s reconciliation efforts towards Taliban, India has told the UN that such programme must respect the international red lines, country’s Constitution, be transparent and led by the Afghan government.

“A successful national Reconciliation program must be transparent, led by the Afghan Government and owned by the Afghan people, respecting the Afghan constitution and the international red lines.

“This would require sincere cooperation of all parties concerned,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji said at the UN General Assembly on ‘The Situation in Afghanistan’ debate here yesterday.

Reiterating India’s commitment to work with the Afghan government and its people in its path towards growth and stability, he said reconciliation of erstwhile Taliban regime members is an integral part are being undertaken by the Government of Afghanistan.

Mukerji also voiced concern over the scourge of terrorism that continues to threaten Afghanistan’s peace and stability despite efforts and sacrifices of both international troops and Afghan National Security Forces personnel.

“Such terrorist and extremists groups continue to survive despite the immense military pressure brought on them that underscores the fact that they have continued to benefit from support beyond Afghanistan. They also access resources from transnational terrorist and criminal networks,” Mukerji said.

He stressed if such support stops and the linkages with networks broken, the scourge of terrorism will be defeated.

Mukerji further said India has been in discussion with Iran and Afghanistan on ways to collaborate on a project to develop Iran’s Chahbahar Port that would improve Afghanistan’s access to the sea and provide a significant boost to economic reconstruction activities in its western parts.

“We hope that similarly other connectivity enhancing projects for Afghanistan will be undertaken by the international community and will henceforth be seen as priority area in our collective efforts to assist its economic reconstruction program,” he said adding that President Ashraf Ghani has taken a lead in this regard and his efforts need reciprocation in full measure.

“This is a critical decade of transformation for Afghanistan. India is proud to call itself Afghanistan’s first strategic partner. We share the Afghan people’s vision of a strong, independent, united and prosperous Afghanistan for which so many Afghans have sacrificed so much,” Mukerji said.

After fighting Taliban insurgency for 13 years, NATO and the United States are withdrawing combat forces from the war-torn country at the end of the year. However, up to 12,000 US and NATO forces will remain to provide training and backup to local forces.

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