India has critical role in Afghanistan: Abdullah Abdullah

India has provided USD 1.3 billion aid for reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Updated: Feb 14, 2011, 19:38 PM IST

Singapore: India has a critical role in
the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan and has continued
supporting Kabul efforts by providing financial aids, Dr
Abdullah Abdullah, the country`s former foreign minister said
here 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 about Islamabad having often raised objection on
New Delhi`s aid to Kabul.

India has provided USD 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.

PTI