Stabilization of Afghanistan distant dream: India



United Nations: Security and stabilization of Afghanistan will remain a distant dream in Afghanistan unless the syndicate of terrorism is rooted out both inside and outside the country, India told the UN Security Council.

"Security and stabilization of Afghanistan will remain a distant goal unless we are able to isolate and root out the syndicate of terrorism, which includes elements of Al Qaeda, Taliban, LeT and other terrorist and extremist groups operating from within and outside Afghanistan's borders," said Indian Ambassador to the UN, Hardeep Singh Puri.

Addressing a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Afghanistan, Puri said India supports Afghan Government's efforts to reintegrate those individuals who abjure violence, give up armed struggle, do not have links with terrorist groups, and are willing to abide by the values of democracy, pluralism and human rights as enshrined in the Afghan Constitution.

"As the ISAF prepares to gradually withdraw from Afghanistan, there is a need for adequate capacity building of Afghan security forces, along with adequate enablers, prior to the transition of security responsibility to them," he said.

"The necessity of dealing with the terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens beyond Afghanistan borders is equally important in this context. Adequate capacity of the Afghan security forces and other Afghan institutions is a 'sine qua non' for protecting Afghanistan?s sovereignty, plurality and democracy," he said.

Puri said the international community must bear in mind the lessons learnt from past experiences at negotiating with fundamentalist and extremist organizations and ensure that the process must remain Afghan-led, inclusive and transparent.

"As we discuss today, though we appreciate the gains made in southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand against Taliban strongholds, it is worrisome that deterioration in the security environment, especially in the North has been a continuous trend this year.

The UNSG report notes that there has been a 66 per cent increase in security incidents in Afghanistan as compared to the same period in 2009," he said.

The Indian Ambassador said Afghanistan's stability and economic development depend a lot on its neighbours and the region as a whole.

Afghanistan's greatest economic potential perhaps resides in its immense potential as a trade, transport and energy hub, and as a bridge linking Central, West and South Asia, given Afghanistan's traditional cultural and economic moorings in South Asia, he said.

"Growing economic inter-dependence will also help in weaning disaffected youth away from insurgency and militancy and in promoting regional cooperation. We support the wishes of the Government of Afghanistan to take the lead in this direction," Puri said.

"In India's efforts towards stabilization of Afghanistan, the focus has been on developmental and humanitarian work to assist the Afghan people as they build a peaceful, stable, democratic and pluralistic nation," he said.

"We have sought to assist Afghanistan within our means. Our USD 1.3 billion assistance programme is aimed at building infrastructure, capacity building in critical areas of governance, health, education, agriculture etc and in generating Afghan capacity and employment," he said.

PTI