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India reminds world of Taliban reintegration redlines, gets US backing

Kabul, July 20 (Calcutta Tube) Warning of the dangers of a selective approach towards terrorism, India Tuesday joined world leaders in backing the reintegration plan of the Afghan government, but only on condition the Taliban renounces violence, cuts off links with terrorism and accepts the Afghan constitution.

As the international community backed handing over Afghanistan’s security responsibility to its government by 2014, India and the US, however, made it clear that that the proposed amnesty, an idea backed by Pakistan, should only be offered to those Taliban elements who had no links with Al Qaeda and other terror groups.

Describing India and Afghanistan as ‘historic friends,’ Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, while speaking at the Kabul conference on the future of Afghanistan, stressed that any new process to stabilise the violence-torn country must be ‘fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned’ and carry all sections of the nation’s population’ and should be transparent and inclusive.

Without mentioning Pakistan, Krishna warned of the dangers of double standards in dealing with terrorism.

‘The international community should also ensure that there is no selectivity in dealing with terrorism. Terrorism cannot be compartmentalised,’ he said.

‘As President Karzai said today, it is the vicious common enemy we face. Today, one cannot distinguish between Al Qaeda and the plethora of terrorist organisations which have imbibed the goals and techniques of Al Qaeda,’ he added.

‘It is, therefore, essential to ensure that support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations from outside Afghanistan are ended forthwith,’ he said in an obvious reference to the alleged support to the Afghan Taliban from across the border in Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton backed India’s stand. In a disguised reference to Pakistan, Clinton said it is essential to ensure that ‘support, sustenance and sanctuaries for terrorist organisations from outside Afghanistan are ended forthwith’.

‘India also supports Afghanistan’s efforts towards peace and reintegration. But, for such an effort to succeed, it must be fully Afghan-led and Afghan-owned and carry all sections of Afghanistan’s population together,’ Krishna said.

The process, Krishna reminded the international community, should abide by the redlines agreed to at the London Conference: giving up violence, cutting off all links with terrorism – whether jehadi or state-sponsored – and accepting the democratic and pluralistic values of the Afghan Constitution, including women’s rights.

Against reports of a Pakistan-backed move to accommodate an anti-India militant group called the Haqqani network in the emerging power structure in Afghanistan, Krishna stressed that any peace process must be transparent and inclusive.

‘The international community must learn lessons from past experiences at negotiating with fundamentalist and extremist organizations and ensure that any peace process is conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner,’ he said.

Foreign ministers and representatives of around 70 countries and international organizations are participating in the conference, the largest gathering of international leaders in Afghanistan since the 1970s.

India’s position was endorsed by the international conference.

‘The Afghan government’s Peace and Reintegration Programme is open to all Afghan members of the armed opposition and their communities who renounce violence, have no link to international terrorist organisations, respect the constitution and are willing to join in building a peaceful Afghanistan,’ said a draft communique at the international conference on Afghanistan here.

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