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Amid Pakistani moves, Krishna to attend Kabul meet

New Delhi, July 10 (Calcutta Tube) External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will represent India at the July 20 conference of international donors in Kabul that will review reconciliation moves between the Hamid Karzai regime and the Taliban, a cause of anxiety for New Delhi.

Krishna goes to Kabul shortly after his July 14-16 trip to Islamabad for the foreign ministers-level talks aimed at reviving dialogue between India and Pakistan.

The focus of the first Kabul-hosted international conference on Afghanistan will be on finding Afghan solutions to the dragging conflict against the Taliban, officials have said.

More than 70 countries are expected to send their representatives for the conference where the Karzai government will seek help to bolster governance and national stability.

The conference will also take up the contentious proposal of reconciliation and reintegration of the Taliban, a move backed by the earlier London conference and endorsed by the peace jirga.

India has reiterated its concerns many a time about the reintegration proposal as it fears it may end up propping up anti-India Taliban elements back in the saddle in a power-sharing arrangement in Kabul.

Pakistan’s intensified efforts to influence power-sharing negotiations in Afghanistan has added to New Delhi’s worries, specially in view of the July 2011 deadline for withdrawal of US forces from that country.

India has followed closely reports of a recent meeting between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Al Qaeda-linked militant commander Sirajuddin Haqqani.

The meeting was allegedly arranged by Pakistan’s Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

According to a report by Al-Jazeera, Karzai met Haqqani along with Kayani and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha in Kabul for ‘face-to-face talks’. Both Kabul and Islamabad have denied these reports.

Kayani and Pasha, according to sources, tried to influence Karzai to accommodate the Pakistan-backed Haqqani network which has targeted Indian assets in Afghanistan.

India conveyed its unease about the Taliban power-sharing deal when Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Eklil Ahmad Hamiki came to New Delhi this week.

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