India has critical role in Afghanistan: Abdullah Abdullah

India has critical role in Afghanistan: Abdullah Abdullah

Singapore: India has a critical role in the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan and has continued supporting Kabul by providing financial aids, Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the country’s former foreign minister said in Singapore on Monday.

“India, being the world’s largest democracy, cannot be left out of Afghanistan’s efforts in rebuilding the country," said Abdullah, the chairman of the Afghanistan National Alliance for Hope and Change and the country’s opposition leader.

India, like Iran and Pakistan, remained important players in the Afghanistan peace process, he stressed, when asked by PTI about Islamabad having often raised objection on New Delhi’s aid to Kabul.

India has provided $1.3 billion aid for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, he pointed out.

“We need good relations with Pakistan, Iran and India," he told reporters after giving a public lecture on “Afghan Conflict: External-Internal Dimensions".

India also remained Afghanistan’s top three trading partners along with Pakistan and Iran, the opposition leader said.

He also underlined the revival of “Trade Treaty" with Pakistan, saying it would likewise benefit the entire region.

The treaty, first initiated in 1965 but suspended by Pakistan due to political reasons, is in the process of being re-implemented any time soon, he said.

But there has been no let up in trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the region despite the suspended treaty, he said.

Abdullah stressed the importance of reconstructing Afghanistan under democratic terms, calling for the need to exploit the full potential of developing natural resources in the country.

But the challenge for the country was from managing the Talibans and their links with terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The Talibans, as part of the political process, must cut their links with al-Qaeda, stop violent approach to managing their-way of Afghanistan and settle down to democratic process of running the war-ruined country.

“It is doable," he said, referring to the democratic process of running Afghanistan. “The people of Afghanistan are willing," he added, calling for democratic way of life for people of Afghanistan, especially underlining the urgent need to provide education for the youths.

He also conceded that efforts made to reform the country had not been satisfactory and there were no reasons to blame others for the failure of the administration as “we have not done enough ourselves".

He also touched on the withdrawal of American-led foreign forces in the country and the question of permanent bases.

The international community had a responsibility of securing security in Afghanistan while the question of permanent bases in the country would remain a sensitive issue in the region, said Abdullah.