World for Taliban role in Afghan peace, India puts conditions
Kabul: 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.
"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 communiqué at the
international conference on Afghanistan here.
Renewing his call to Taliban to lay down arms and join
the peace process, Afghan President Hamid Karzai outlined his
commitment to take charge of the nation's security by 2014.
Speaking at the key conference on Afghanistan's future
held here amidst a total lockdown of the capital city, Karzai
said his government remained determined to take up the
responsibility for all military and law enforcement operations
As fears grow over the course of the nine-year-old war
against terrorism in the wake of the Obama Administration's
plan to begin withdrawing US forces from this country by 2011,
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised that Americans
and allies will continue to stand by Afghanistan.
Clinton said that the planned withdrawal of the troops
was not a sign of flagging commitment.
"The July 2011 transition process is too important to
push off indefinitely. But this date is a start of a new
phase, not the end of our involvement," she told the
conference attended by a galaxy of leaders, including UN chief
Ban Ki-moon, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
India points at Pak involvement
In a veiled reference to Pakistan, Krishna said it is
essential to ensure that "support, sustenance and sanctuaries
for terrorist organisations from outside Afghanistan are ended
India has accused Pakistan of supporting terror elements
in Afghanistan which have been targeting New Delhi's
"Terrorism cannot be compartmentalised. Today, one cannot
distinguish between al-Qaeda and plethora of terrorist
organisations which have imbibed the goals and techniques of
al-Qaeda," Krishna said.
He said that any new process to stabilise the
war-torn nation must be fully "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned
and carry all sections of the nation's population" in an
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.
"The international community must learn lessons from past
experiences at negotiating with fundamentalist and extremist
organisations and ensure that any peace process is conducted
in an inclusive and transparent manner," Krishna said in a
Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi said the transition
process in Afghanistan should be gradual based on ground
realities and not on calendar and deadlines.
The day-long conference comes at a crucial juncture as US
and NATO forces are poised to launch major offensives in
Kandahar and eastern Afghanistan against Taliban.
Vowing to fight corruption plaguing his administration,
Karzai, now in his second term as President of the war-torn
country, said "our fight against corruption will continue and
those who violate the law will be punished."
He also stressed that the anti-graft body would be
strengthened to check corruption in the government
Karzai sought to convince the international community
that his government could assume full security responsibility
of the country by 2014.
Karzai called on the Taliban and other armed opposition
groups to give up militancy and join the ambitious peace
process initiated by his government, amid a nationwide
security lockdown against possible terror attack in Kabul to
disrupt the conference.
"We hope those who have taken arms against our country
will see the wisdom of pursuing their legitimate aspirations
through peaceful means," he said. "I hope the international
community will back our efforts for peace in Afghanistan."
He said that steady transition of the country's full
responsibility to Afghan leadership and ownership is the key
"Our systems are strong and improving, and we are
committed to working with donors to give them the confidence
needed to channel resources through the Afghan budget."
Karzai also described poppy cultivation and drug
production as a factor for instability, urging the
international community to provide alternative crops for
In her address, Clinton said the US is encouraged by work
the Karzai government has done to improve governance and
combat corruption, but added that much work remains.
She also stressed that the rights of women in Afghanistan
must not be sacrificed in pursuit of reconciliation with the
The Afghan government has developed an ambitious plan
aimed at reintegrating Taliban fighters who agree to lay down
their weapons, renounce al-Qaeda and accept Afghanistan's
Earlier in the day, rockets were fired at the Kabul
airport forcing the diversion of a plane carrying the UN
Secretary General to Bagram airbase from where he flew in a