New York: Warning that the Taliban is part of the “very negative presence” in Afghanistan, India has asked the international community not to find quick solutions to the extremist problem and be prepared for a long haul.
“There are certain forces that spread terror. The Taliban is part of the very negative presence,” foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, who is in the US on a 6-day visit, said here.
Emphasising that India understood the Afghan society due to its centuries-old civilisational ties, Rao said the international community should prepare for the “long haul and not try to find quick solutions to the problem.”
Rao, who had extensive discussions with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other senior officials of the Obama Administration on Afghanistan, also spoke against a distinction being made between a “good Taliban and bad Taliban”.
Her comments came against the backdrop of the US and the Hamid Karzai government in Afghanistan planning to engage with moderate elements of the Taliban to induct them into country’s polity.
“India and the international community have to stay involved in Afghanistan in order to deal with this problem that has been created by these extremist groups in this country.
“It is very important to deal with these problems in a way that Afghanistan becomes a stable and prosperous democracy. It this that is the core of what we are saying and what we convey to our friends like the US,” Rao said.
Washington acknowledges India’s influence in Afghanistan and appreciates the large-scale developmental work being carried out in that country.
“The US fully recognises that India has legitimate interests in Afghanistan. It appreciates the development work we do there... It appreciates that we are force of stability and moderation in our region. We are not scaling down in Afghanistan,” she said.
India has made it clear that it will not be scaling down its operations in Afghanistan notwithstanding a spate of recent attacks targeting its citizens, including the one on two guest houses in central Kabul in which seven Indians were killed.
During the talks with her counterpart Bill Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Rao stressed that Afghanistan presented the foremost security-related challenge in the region.
She also reiterated India’s long held position that it was important for the international community to stay the present course in Afghanistan for as long as it is necessary.
“The US interlocutors conveyed their appreciation of the important developmental work being done by India in Afghanistan,” a statement from the Indian Embassy said.